Will the Swine Identification Law Affect You?

— Written By and last updated by Kim Davis

If you are a pork producer, most likely you have heard about the swine identification law took affect October 1, 2011. If not, now is the time to pay attention, because as of October 1, 2012, the law will be enforced fully and could have a major economic impact on producers. During the first year of the law, the State Veterinarian’s office, which is a part of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA), took the time to educate producers with requirements. Now that the year has gone by and enforcement of the law will begin, I wanted to take the time to review key components with you in the form of some frequently asked questions.

What is the purpose of the Swine Identification Law? The Law is intended to reduce the amount of feral swine across the state. The population of feral swine has continually grown for many years, and this law is an effort to reduce the feral swine population through minimizing the incidence of moving these hogs throughout the state. Identification of domestic swine is the only way to absolutely differentiate between domestic and feral swine that might be transported, and punish those that are causing the spread of feral hogs.

Who will enforce the law? Any law enforcement or public safety officer inNorth Carolinawill have the authority to enforce. Assistance will be given by NCDA personnel to officers as needed to inspect hogs for official identification.

What is the penalty for unlawful transport without identification? The law reads “Any person who fails to obtain identification as required shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $5000 for each violation”. Each animal without identification is seen as a separate violation. There is an additional penalty for “misuse of identification”, which means do not borrow and use tags from your neighbor, or let someone else use yours! There is a $1000 civil penalty if this happens.

Can I trap or kill feral hogs that are on my property? Yes, and there is no seasonal restriction on this or limit to the amount that may be removed. Specific details from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission can help with steps to take such as having a hunting license, etc. Remember to not transport these hogs, and also be aware that removing a live feral hog from a trap is also illegal and carries a $5000 fine as well. More information on rules on hunting and trapping feral swine can be found at http://www.ncwildlife.org/hunting/index.htm.

What identification is acceptable and approved for the new law? Official ear tags, provided by NCDA, tattoos and ear notches are acceptable. Each of these must be assigned specifically to each producer, and tied to their farm premise registration number. If you don’t have or are unsure if you have a premise registration number, call the NCDA office at 919-715-2951. Large swine producers can use group/lot identification for movement as described in the Swine Health Protection Act, in the Code of Federal Regulations. This has been the case for many years.

How can I stay informed about the swine transport law? The NCDA State Veterinarian’s office will be creating a distribution list to keep producers informed. To be included, send an email to their information/inquiry email address: joe.web@ncagr.gov and request to be added to the “swine ID distribution list”. Personal information you provide will be protected by the state confidentiality law. Input and feedback can be sent to this email address as well and is encouraged to help answer future questions with regard to the swine transportation law.

I hope this has helped answer some of the questions regarding this new law. I certainly do not have all the answers, but am glad to help find them. As always, feel free to call the Extension office and we will try to help, at 919-731-1520.

Eileen A. Coite
Extension Agent
Livestock & Forages
North CarolinaCooperative Extension
P.O. Box 68
Goldsboro, NC 27533
phone: (919) 731-1520
fax:   (919) 731-1511