Canadian Pork Council Icon Canadian Pork Council | Traceability and Identification Program:

Approved Ear Tags

Ear tags can be purchased by calling 1-866-300-1825 or select provincial pork organizations (AB, SK, MB, QC). Rectangle and trapezoid ear tags are available in white, pink and yellow. Electronic (FDX-RFID) versions and the small piglet tag are available in yellow only.

HDX-RFID tags are not appoved for the program yet, but we're working on it.

More information on the tags, including photos, is provided further down the page.

Tag Application

It is important to make sure you're using the correct tag applicator for these tags.  These are Allflex tags, and use the following Allflex tag applicators:

(1) Red pliers will work with all forms of tags, including the electronic, FDX-RFID tags

Red pliers

Instructions for Ear Tag Application (.pdf)


(2) Orange handled Retrac-o-Matic will work with our large, visual tag only (i.e., will not work with small piglet tags or electronic FDX-RFID tags).

Orange Retractomatic

Instructions for Ear Tag Application (.pdf)


(3) Blue handled Retrac-o-Matic can be used on the small piglet tags. *Note: the blue handled Retrac-o-Matic is not recommended by the manufacturer for larger tags because the travel distance of the piston is about 1/8" too long.

Blue Retractomatic

Instructions for Ear Tag Application (.pdf)


More About the Tags

PigTrace uses two forms of official identification for identifying pigs:

1. Individual identification: a 15-digit number unique to the each pig.

2. Herd mark (formally called the slap tattoo number): a 5-character number that is unique to a premises (assigned by your provincial pork organization).  This may be applied to pigs as (a) a shoulder slap tattoo, (b) an approved ear tag or (c) ear tattoo (only in the case of exported weanling and feeder pigs).

​Additional numbers of your choice can be printed below the official indentification number for barn management purposes (e.g., 12345B in the images below).  It is recommended that you review PigTrace Tag Options and PigTrace Tag Pricing prior to ordering, as we do not offer refunds or returns.

Pigtrace Tag Options


Tattooing for Traceability

REMEMBER:  Proper Tattooing is key to effective traceability and helps to ensure you get paid properly for your hogs!

Step 1:  Material Preparation

  • Use permanent ink accredited by CFIA (preferably black)
  • Keep your hammer in good condition with clean numbers
  • Never clean equipment with alcohol or gas
  • Always replace broken or bent numbers

Step 2:  The Tattoo

  • Use the number(s) that are officially assigned to the premises where hogs are shipped from (contact your provincial pork organization to obtain official numbers)
  • Ensure that the numbers are in the correct order
  • Aim for the shoulder
  • Dip the hammer in the ink often

Step 3:  Monitoring

  • Train and follow up with employees

PigTrace Canada:  Instructions for Proper Shoulder Slap Tattooing (.pdf)


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