Beef Cattle Must Be Identified Before Crossing State Lines

Interstate beef cattle movement affected by new USDA rule

Published on: Mar 29, 2013

A new USDA animal disease traceability rule requires that livestock animals be officially identified before they are moved across state lines.

University of Missouri Extension veterinarian Craig Payne says everyone in the cattle industry should be aware of the rule, which went into effect nationwide on March 11.

Payne said that three classes of cattle are affected by the rule. Cattle falling into any of these classes will need to be officially identified and have a certificate of veterinary inspection before going out of state:

1. Sexually intact beef cattle 18 months of age or older.

2. Any cattle, regardless of age, that are going out of state to a rodeo, recreational event, show or exhibition.

"The big thing to keep in mind is that in terms of beef cattle, anything less than 18 months of age is not going to require identification," Payne said. "Also, there are quite a few exceptions and details in this rule, so if you have any doubts about what is required, contact your veterinarian or state animal health official."
"The big thing to keep in mind is that in terms of beef cattle, anything less than 18 months of age is not going to require identification," Payne said. "Also, there are quite a few exceptions and details in this rule, so if you have any doubts about what is required, contact your veterinarian or state animal health official."

3. All female dairy cattle, regardless of age, and all male dairy cattle, including dairy steers born after March 11, 2013.

Some exemptions

There are some exemptions to the identification requirement, such as cattle moving directly to a recognized slaughtering establishment or a tagging site such as livestock markets that have been authorized by the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service or state or tribal animal health officials.

"The big thing to keep in mind is that in terms of beef cattle, anything less than 18 months of age is not going to require identification," Payne said. "Also, there are quite a few exceptions and details in this rule, so if you have any doubts about what is required, contact your veterinarian or state animal health official."

Payne says the primary forms of identification that will be used include the silver or "brite" metal ear tags. "If heifers have been brucellosis-vaccinated, their orange brucellosis vaccination tag will qualify. There is also a tag called an AIN tag, which has a 15-digit number beginning with 840. These include a variety of types. One is the electronic identification tag, and there is also a visual tag."

Payne notes that the federal rule is not a substitute for individual state import regulations, which may be more stringent than the USDA regulations. Because of this, Payne recommends that you call the destination state prior to shipment to make sure you are in full compliance with the state's import regulations.

For more information about the animal disease traceability rule, follow this link.

Source: University of Missouri Extension