The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is seeking comments on a proposed rule issued August 11, to establish general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate if an animal disease event takes place.
According to the news release, under the proposed rule, livestock moving interstate would have to be officially identified unless specifically exempted. The proposed rule encourages the use of low-cost technology, and specifies approved forms of official identification for each species, such as metal ear tags for cattle. An efficient and accurate animal disease traceability system helps reduce the number of animals affected by the disease itself or movement restrictions. A traceability system also reduces the time needed to control the spread of the disease and ultimately decreases the cost to producers.
The proposed rule follows the USDA National Animal Identification proposal introduced in 2004, NAIS was a voluntary system based on registration of all premises where livestock or poultry were housed or kept. In 2009, when USDA launched a series of efforts to assess the level of acceptance for NAIS, the findings were that many viewed NAIS as a government-imposed, “one-size-fits all” approach to animal traceability. Producers raised serious concerns about the protection of proprietary information through premise registration and with the need for significantly more flexibility. Due to the level of opposition in the countryside, NAIS was never fully implemented and was discontinued in 2009.
Comments must be received on or before Wednesday, November 9.
Federal eRulemaking Portal – Submit or view comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
The USDA website has additional information regarding the proposed animal traceability rule.