Per directives from a Texas Animal Health Commission ruling, all adult cattle in Texas must have an approved form of permanent identification in place at any change of ownership starting January 1.
Dr. Stephen Hammack, Texas A&M professor and AgriLife Extension Beef Cattle Specialist Emeritus, says this includes sexually intact beef cattle 18 months older and above, and also Mexican-origin event cattle.
Not included are nursing calves, steers, spayed heifers, bulls, and heifers under 18 months (unless they are about to calve), and cattle that are being moved directly to slaughter, Hammack notes.
Forms of identification currently approved by the TAHC for this purpose are:
--USDA alphanumeric National Uniform Eartagging System, or NUES, silver metal tags
--USDA brucellosis calfhood vaccination tags, either USDA orange RFID or metal
--Dairy Herd Improvement Association DHIA tags with a 9-digit American number
--Official breed association registration tattoo (unique to the individual animal)
--Official breed association registration fire or freeze brand (unique to the animal)
--USDA approved 15-digit Animal Identification Number AIN tags including: 900 series RFID tags if traceable to owner, USA prefix RFID tags, 840-prefix RFID tags (if premises location is registered), and 840-prefix non-RFID tags (if premises location is registered)
--Cattle-style clip, flap, or button tag (if owner and individual animal identified).
Hammack emphasizes that tattoos and brands that are not part of breed association registration procedures are not approved forms of ID. A data base of official ID numbers assisted will be maintained by TAHC, but there will be no tracking required of individual changes of ownership.
For those preferring to use USDA metal tags, TAHC will provide free tags and pliers. These may be obtained from local TAHC field staff or USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service representatives. Some interested veterinary practitioners also will have tags available.
In addition, tags and pliers also will be available from most Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service county offices, Hammack says.
For more information, you can contact the Texas Animal Health Commission at 512-719-0710 or go online to www.tahc.state.tx.us.