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Agricultural News

National Animal ID Rules Being Developed

Mon, 09 Aug 2010 17:14:28 CDT

The National Animal Identification System - begun in 2004 - aimed to pinpoint an animal's location within 48 hours of a disease being discovered. But the voluntary program got less than a 40-percent participation rate among farmers and ranchers and was discontinued by USDA. Now Federal officials are drafting regulations that would require farmers to identify animals that move across state lines. The aim is to make it easier for officials to trace brucellosis, tuberculosis and other diseases to a particular group of animals, location and time. The new rules are expected to be implemented in 2013.

Under the proposal - states will have authority to decide how to track livestock moving within their own borders - but they will be accountable to the federal government for the system they choose. David Morris of USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says accountability standards would be created to make sure the state systems are working. The aim is to make the regulations flexible - but also to develop and maintain standards.

Besides dealing only in interstate commerce - the new federal regulation would also require animals to have a certificate of health from a veterinarian - with some yet-undefined exceptions. Official animal identification tags could come from three places: the National Uniform Ear Tagging System utilized by programs such as brucellosis prevention; the 15-digit international standard numbering system; or a numbering system compatible with USDA's National Scrapie Eradication Program for sheep and goats.


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