Points of consensus

Sep 17, 2010
by WLJ

• There is a significant need for more efficient and effective Animal Disease Traceability in the United States.

• Feeder cattle identification should be required as soon as adequate benchmarks and baselines established indicate that identification of adult animals has been achieved.

• Inexpensive metal “Brite” tags are acceptable as a form of official identification as a baseline; but the option to use electronic identification shall continue to be allowed.

• Brands (hot iron or freeze) should be allowed as official identification; provided the two states (origin and destination) have agreement regarding movement and that the brand information provides the original point of origin.

• Animal Disease Traceability implementation should include separate considerations across species regarding official identification devices and methods.

• Interstate Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (ICVIs) should be standardized across all states to improve uniformity of data collected. In addition, enforcement of ICVI requirements and the ability to update ICVI information both need to be enhanced so that minimum data collected and final destination information is accurate.

• Backtags for cattle moving directly to slaughter should continue to be considered official identification until a better method to identify such cattle is developed. The framework was designed to build on existing systems that are workable; there was general agreement that the backtag system is a workable, efficient system that is widely utilized in commerce.

• Official eartags with the “840” country code should continue to be used only for animals born in the U.S.

• Concise and accurate outreach and education for animal producers, handlers, marketers and processors regarding the new requirements under the Animal Disease Traceability framework must be a top priority.

• Terminology regarding a state’s progress in implementing animal disease traceability should be defined to better convey the progress towards complete implementation, rather than its “status.”

• Identification of fed cattle moving directly to slaughter should be delayed until two years after all feeder cattle are required to be identified.

• Successful Animal Disease Traceability must include strong and ongoing collaboration among producers, commercial interests and regulatory agencies at both the state and federal level.