The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Jan. 3 that it has completed a final regulation to improve traceability of U.S. livestock moving across state lines. VDACS notes USDA finalized the regulation prior to Christmas and anticipates the new federal regulation will become effective in March 2013.
The new regulation requires identification and documentation of livestock and poultry moving from state to state.
"When the new regulation is fully implemented, Virginia and all of the states will be better able to protect their livestock and citizens from diseases that may affect animals alone or animals and people," says Virginia State Veterinarian Richard Wilkes. "It provides a framework that will allow the individual states to develop identification methods and procedures that will best meet their needs. I expect that USDA will eventually require the states to meet performance standards to demonstrate their ability to follow animal movements into and from their states."
Wilkes noted that documentation accepted by the USDA includes animal identification and health papers or certificates of veterinary inspection for interstate movement that are already part of most states' livestock importation requirements.
The press release by VDACS noting the regulation stressed that with that adoption the U.S. "has a flexible, effective animal disease traceability system for livestock moving interstate that does not place undue burdens on farmers, ranchers and U.S. livestock businesses."
After considering public comments the final rule had several differences from the proposed rule issued in August 2011. To see those differences and to read more about the new rule in general, click here.
Beef cattle under 18 months of age, unless they are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos, or recreational events, are exempt from some terms of this rule (see details at the aphis site). USDA noted specific traceability requirements for this group will be addressed in a separate rule.