Animal ID Rules Draw Nearer

Industry representatives meet with government and propose 12-step plan.

Published on: Sep 15, 2010

By Sally Schuff

Long-sought consensus on a national animal disease traceability system - the new concept for animal identification - appears to be gaining ground.

The U.S. Animal Health Association and the National Institute of Animal Agriculture held a public strategy meeting late August in Denver, Colorado.

The meeting, which drew a large, national audience, was convened to have a dialogue on the framework and standards under development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture program by a Traceability Regulation Working Group, which was convened earlier this year by USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service.

The working group has focused on interstate cattle movement, and under the new proposal Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced in February, it incorporates the existing expertise of state and tribal governments as well as livestock organizations.

Concepts of the framework are expected to underpin the proposed rule APHIS hopes to publish in April 2011. The final rule is slated to follow within 12-15 months.

The Denver forum was one of the first opportunities to review the working group's proposed framework. A key discussion centered on the amount of time needed to integrate full traceability of young feeder cattle into the "two-step" proposal suggested in the framework.

In that proposal, step one would delay the inclusion of feeder cattle and animals younger than 18 months and would provide several months for an educational period following publication of the final rule. Step two would apply traceability to all ages and classes of cattle, with some exemptions focused on types of interstate movements.

The informal cattle ID group has developed 12 principles for animal identification that it communicated earlier this year to Congress and USDA.

The group’s members include: the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, U.S. Cattlemen's Association, R-CALF USA, National Livestock Producers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, Dairy USA, National Milk Producers Federation, Dairy Farmers of America, Texas Stock Raisers Association and Texas Cattle Feeders Association.

The 12 identification principles the group developed can be found at www.lmaweb.com.

Source: Feedstuffs weekly newspaper