USDA Animal Disease Traceability System

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April 15, 2011

The USDA Animal Disease Traceability system is about to be released shortly. The new Animal ID Plan will then be reviewed, funded by congress, go through a question period, will be implemented and become mandatory to all livestock producers.

Since the fall of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in Feb of 2010, the USDA had started at ground zero to create a new and improved animal ID plan. The focus and objective of the new ID program will be for animal disease traceability. Over the last year the USDA’s APHIS has conducted many public meetings with livestock industry officials to get feedback and share openly, ideas, concerns, and feasibility of a new animal identification system.

The new animal disease traceability is about to be released anytime now, there are still a few pieces to the traceability system to be determined, the following is what has already been planned and has not changed and will be implemented as the basis of the new animal disease traceability plan.

What Will Be the Foundation of Animal Disease Traceability?

The animal disease traceability will be run by each state. Cattle and four other species will be identified, if they cross state lines.

What Type of Ear Tags will be Mandatory for the Animal Disease Traceability System?

This is not known yet, but speculation would be a low cost official 840 ear tags. Details have not been released yet concerning the actual tag requirements. RFID ear tags are the preferred choice of tag, to be used in conjunction with a state run traceability system.

The USDA’s proposed framework for traceability would be to have a variety of tags to choose from, ranging from free brucellosis vaccination tags, which are applied by veterinarians, to other proposed management tags, that can be applied by livestock producers.

Flexibility and ease of implementation is the message from the USDA’s APHIS, which is the reason that all states will be responsible to create and implement their own traceability programs, which will compliant with USDA guidelines for traceability.

Why did the National Animal Identification System Fail in the Past?

Many cattle and livestock producers were opposed to a national animal identification that would have been mandatory, citing costs and privacy issues, and wanted a voluntary system only. He USDA had considered a voluntary system only, but seen there would have been minimal participation, which inevitably defies the purpose of an animal traceability program.

USDA began working on an aniAnimal Disease Identificationmal identification system in the early 1990s. The traceability system was seen as a dire necessity after the 2003 disease outbreak, which the U.S. discovered three cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly known as mad cow disease. The BSE confirmed animals stopped the U.S. Beef exports, and crippled the livestock industry to a standstill.

The U.S. beef cattle industry is still feeling the repercussions from the BSE discovery of 2003. Beef exports have dropped considerably over the years, and this trend will continue because of increased import regulations from other countries.

What Do you Think, Will the New Animal Disease Traceability System Work?


The need for an animal disease traceability system is now, and the U.S. is already 10 years behind. This is still the current list of USDA Approved 840 Ear Tags.


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By George Luker © Copyright 2011 Livestock-ID

1 comments:

Anonymous,  October 4, 2012 at 8:31 AM  

Thank you for your articles on ADT, you're blog seems to be the only up to date resource on animal disease traceability. Looking forward to more updates from you.

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Livestock-ID: Animal Identification Resources, is a blog dedicated to helping producers and professionals with the various types of Animal Identification. From RFID wand readers, to cattle management software. Providing tips and how to articles from A to Z.

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