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Dexter Cattle Australia Inc. (DCAI) Membership

Herdbook Regulations - Have your Say on Tattooing

Council has been looking at all ways to make maintaining a registered herd as easy as possible whilst retaining the fundamental breed standards and our excellent herdbook reputation for DNA testing and other quality assurance.

The issue of the need to tattoo animals before registration has been a recurring topic over many years.

The requirement for tattooing was put in place before NLIS identification and before the modern DNA testing regime was established.

The topic has been raised again recently and Council is currently discussing if a change to the herdbook regulations is a consideration. The discussion is whether or not to:


Retain nominal tattoo number allocations for registrations so the herdbook details reflect what tatttoo would be applied if the animal was to be tattooed and remove the mandatory requirement for the tattooing of all animals for registration.


This would ensure the correct tattoo would be shown on the registration should an animal be tattooed and

removed the requirement to tattoo non show animals.


The issues that have been raised in support of the change are: 

  • Removes a layer of difficulty for new members and those with just small hobby herds;

  • Reduces the stress and invasive procedures required for general maintenance and husbandry of a registered herd;

  • Reduces the risk of injury to the animal;

  • Reduces the risk of injury to the owner/manager;

  • Reduces the cost for those unable to apply tattoos themselves;

  • Reduces the risk of permanent incorrect identification markers;

  • Eliminates the need to purchase additional tools; 

  • Any dispute of an animal’s identity is ultimately resolved by DNA verification.


The issues for maintaining the current system of mandatory tattooing for registration are:

  • a tattoo provides visual verification of identification;

  • maintaining the status quo - tattooing has been a herdbook regulation since the first DCAI Herdbook Regulations were put in place.


Tattoos are only used for identification verification in show situations and are not used as proof of identification at sales or any other trading situations. Anecdotal information indicates that most members do not tattoo unless an animal is being shown.

Please take five minutes to complete the survey and be part of the decision making process.


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