Comment Sought for Proposed Changes to Animal Disease Traceability

Brian German Agri-Business, Dairy & Livestock, Dairy and Livestock, Industry, Regulation

Animal Disease Traceability

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking to update animal disease traceability regulations. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be accepting public comment on the proposed amendments until March 22. The proposal includes revising and clarifying record requirements, including the condition that distribution records need to be interested into a Tribal, State, or Federal database, and available upon request. USDA says that improved traceability could help farmers and ranchers to get back to selling their products quicker if an outbreak occurs.

“It is critical that any program ultimately adopted by USDA allows for maximum flexibility and privacy. At the same time, USDA must also minimize the costs for producers and any business disruptions to the industry,” National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President-Elect Todd Wilkinson said in a media release. “NCBA is committed to working with USDA to ensure workable solutions are identified and ultimately implemented. Cattle producers can be confident that any finished product will protect our national livestock herd.”

The proposed rule is available for review and comment through the Federal Register. The U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) notes that roughly 89 percent of the national herd will not be impacted by any changes put forth in the proposal. Only certain classes of cattle that meet particular criteria and cross state lines will be affected. USCA says that the biggest change will be USDA tags having to be both visually and electronically readable.

Bolstering animal disease traceability is intended to enhance rapid response measures for a potential outbreak. Swift detection, containment, and eradication of disease will help to protect overall livestock health as well as producers’ livelihoods. Further efforts to improve traceability will also play a role in limiting how long farms are quarantined in the event of an outbreak, and also keep more animals from being affected.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West