Branding Livestock for Animal Disease Traceability


July 29, 2011

The USDA has just released an update and status report on the new Animal Disease Traceability system, which is still in the finalization process, and to be implemented by the individual states and tribes. The time frame for the new traceability program is on target to be made mandatory in 2012.

The most recent indication from the USDA is, that they will allow branding and tattoo as an official form of animal identification within the animal disease traceability system. Until now, it was not known if branding would be considered as a compliant form of identification for livestock such as cattle, bison, sheep, goats, and pigs along with other species.

Branding will however have a new requirement or process of identification, which the USDA has yet to make public. This will change how branding will be done in the future for cattle moving interstate.

The USDA’s approach to a traceability system, still remains as a basic requirement for animal disease traceability, and would apply only to animals moving interstate. The ADT will still be implemented by each state or tribe, and the ability to use cost effective alternatives for official AIN.

The USDA will define the method and approved identification marking and devices to be used within the animal disease traceability framework.

The Grey Area of Animal Disease Identification:

There is still a grey area in the proposed animal disease traceability system, Dr. John Clifford the Chief Veterinarian Officer for APHIS released this update recently from the USDA. In the ADT update, it is stated that branding will be considered as a form of animal identification, but as an alternative form which must be agreed upon by health officials.

Animal-Disease-Traceability-USDA-BrandingHere comes the grey area, if branding is accepted as an official form of identification, this is contradictory to the USDA current identification requirements for official AIN (Animal Identification Number) which is a defined format of identification on ear tags.

Another potential grey area of ADT would be the official 840 approved tags (RFID and visual) being the internationally recognized number for livestock from the United States.

The proposed Animal disease traceability program or system has so far just been for the movement of animal’s interstate, nothing has been mentioned about international tagging and identification requirements, which is the use of RFID button tags, also known as EID (Electronic Identification).

At the moment this is still the current list of official 840 tags as approved by the USDA as official compliance with AIN requirement.

Branding does not offer any quick and effective ability to read, look up an identification number or mark, which is not an ASCII character in a computer database, this issue has yet to be addressed and or defined.

An ASCII character is a numeric value in computer markup language that defines characters that are not alpha numeric, such as the # symbol and other symbols on a computer keyboard. Brands do not have an ASCII character.

So the question remains, will Branding be an official form of identification for animal disease traceability or just an additional alternative, to the official ADT method of identification?

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© Copyright 2011 Livestock-ID


Anonymous,  August 5, 2011 at 12:19 PM  

Mr. Luker, that is an amazing assessment and perspective look on branding with the ASCII binary code. You are absolutely correct.

You have a great blog as well, its very informative and resourceful for the cattle industry.

We need more people like yourself, to provide knowledge and insight on an industry, that must evolve and change with the times, if we are going to succeed on a global market.

Well done and thank you George.

Anonymous,  August 6, 2011 at 6:09 AM  

I like your link to ScoringAg.
Can this system be used with On Trace premise code?

George Luker August 6, 2011 at 7:34 AM  

Thank you for your comment,
I am a sales rep for ScoringAg. Let me have a look at On Trace. Please send me an email with your contact details, you can also look at the ScoringAg Blog for software details.

I will post more info here and on the ScoringAg blog with more details on their traceaback software.

Anonymous,  August 10, 2011 at 6:48 AM  

The USDA is moving forward quickly with the Animal Disease Traceability system, everyone is talking about it now, like it is something new.

Your blog has been talking about ADT for a year now. You are a truly informed person on animal disease traceability.

Looks like you are right, today's announcement mentions ear tags only.

My hats off to you George and you're blog.

Livestock Identification Tags August 24, 2011 at 6:26 AM  

I can't imagine branding as an official form of traceability, but I must thank you for the well-done post! Great blog by the way..

George Luker August 24, 2011 at 12:08 PM  

Thank you Livestock Identification Tags for your comment.

Brunhilde Merker, CEO August 29, 2011 at 4:17 PM  

ScoringAg has a datafield for any premise code used anywhere in the world. As a global database ScoringAg is not limited to a country or region. In ScoringAg you can upload your brand, tattoo or any known ID that is tied to a premise code.

PROWEST January 6, 2012 at 2:28 PM  

Can hot or freeze branding livestock be a part of Animal Disease Traceability?

George Luker February 1, 2012 at 8:20 AM  

Thank you for your comment PROWEST.
Hot and freeze branding are more of an additonal form of identification, and really is branding.

For Animal Disease Traceability, it is not a reliable or cost effective form of identification.

Anonymous,  June 4, 2012 at 4:45 PM  

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Stop by my blog post - Continued

Anonymous,  August 19, 2012 at 1:44 PM  

Hi, I read your blog daily. Your writing style is witty, keep
it up!
Also see my web page: San Antonio Alarm

George Luker August 20, 2012 at 8:21 AM  

Thank you Sir, for your comment. Much appreciated.

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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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