NLIS – What is the National Livestock Identification System ?

The NLIS (National Livestock Identification Scheme) is Australia’s compulsory tracing system for livestock – tracking the Property of Origin (we shorten that to POO!) for every sheep, goat and cattle during its lifetime with us in Australia.

The aim of the system is to protects Australia’s clean, green reputation and gives exporters a competitive edge in the global market. Big or small, as an Australian livetock producer – it is a compulsory requirement of selling livestock.

How does the NLIS system work ?

Every animal within the cattle industry must be tagged with an accredited tag or identification device. It is an offence to remove an existing identifier.  As an animal is bought, sold or moved along the supply chain the change in location is recorded centrally on the NLIS database.

The NLIS uses this information to track livestock movements from birth through to the consumer, giving it a life history of where an animal has been and what other livestock it may have come into contact with.

Any device or PIC status that indicates an animal may be a biosecurity or health risk are subjected to tests at slaughter to maintain the safety, quality and integrity of Australian red meat and livestock. It also enables the impact of a livestock disease epidemic to be minimised.



  • Australia exports two thirds of its beef and veal.
  • Australia is free from most agricultural pests and diseases giving us a ‘clean’ reputation and trade advantage
  • An animal disease epidemic or chemical residue incident could cripple the industry and collapse export markets.


Some States in Australia have slightly different requirements when ordering ear tags for the National Livestock Identification System.

Look for NLIS Ear tags by my state