Canadian Pork Council | Canadian Pork Excellence Programs (CPE):

Tattooing for Traceability

Herd mark (formally called the slap tattoo number) is 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).

Application as a slap tattoo or ear tattoo can be performed with commercially available equipment. PigTRACE does not sell tattooing equipment. *Proper tattooing techniques are key to effective traceability and helps to ensure you get paid properly for your pigs.

Application of Slap Tattoos

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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