The U.S. pork industry is moving forward with efforts to implement a mandatory swine identification system in advance of the timeframe in the national animal ID implementation plan announced last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The pork industry has had since 1988 an effective ID system, which was used to successfully eradicate pseudorabies. A swine identification implementation task force, consisting of members of the National Pork Producers Council and the National Pork Board, is working to enhance that system to meet the objectives of USDA's National Animal Identification System - mainly, the ability to trace back animals to their farm of origin within 48 hours in case of an animal disease.
Last Thursday, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns released the agency's NAIS implementation plan, which includes timelines and benchmarks. It calls for a metadata base that will allow federal, state and local animal health officials to tap species-specific private databases for information to conduct 48-hour trace-backs.
"We are encouraged that USDA supports a species-specific approach to animal ID," says NPPC President Joy Philippi, a pork producer from Bruning, Neb., "and we will continue to focus on implementing a national swine ID program for the purposes of protecting herd health and as a tool for managing a foreign animal disease outbreak."
Philippi points out that modern U.S pork production practices already enable the industry to conduct 48-hour trace backs. To enhance that ability and to implement the pork-specific plan, the swine ID implementation task force and industry stakeholders are urging all pork producers to register their premises, a task they hope will be completed by December 2007.
"Premises registration will help us trace back to a specific location so a quick, appropriate response to an animal health emergency can help protect our operations," says Philippi, who added that NPPC will be encouraging producers to register their premises at this year's World Pork Expo June 8-10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.