USDA Leaning Towards 'Metadata Layer' Animal ID Approach

New technology allows USDA to track animal movements by connecting to privately held databases.

Published on: Jan 11, 2006

A new multiple private database approach is USDA's solution to a National Animal Identification System.

During a presentation Sunday at the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual meeting, USDA Chief Veterinarian John Clifford says new technology will allow USDA to track animal movements by connecting to privately held databases. Clifford says USDA will also fund the technology that could tap into already existing databases such as state and association information.

The new system will provide USDA connectivity to the databases it called a "metadata layer." Clifford says development costs could be paid for with existing federal funds that have been authorized for the National Animal Identification System.

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns hopes the move to more databases and private sector involvement will "drive prices down and spur innovation."

Databases will continue to be privately held under the new proposal.