Animal disease traceability: If you haul across state lines, know the rules


MASSILLON, Ohio — Livestock owners who intend to ship across state lines will need to pay close attention to new rules pertaining to animal disease traceability.

The Animal Disease Traceability Rule is a federal policy that went into effect March 11, requiring livestock moved interstate to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection (ICVI), or other acceptable documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates.

The new rule includes cattle and bison, equine, poultry, sheep and goats, swine and captive cervids (deer, elk, etc.)

During a public information session Oct. 30, state and federal veterinarians gave an update on the rule and how it will apply to cattle.

Moving interstate

First of all, “it only affects animals that are moving between states,” said Roberta White, animal identification coordinator. And, states have flexibility as to the kinds of documentation they will accept.

What’s required

In general, livestock that travel outside the state will need to be officially identified, and have an ICVI or other shipping document, accepted by the state where the animal is going.

Official identification is required for all sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or older, all female dairy cattle of any age and all dairy males born after March 11, 2013, and for cattle and bison of any age that are used for rodeo, recreational events, shows and exhibits.

Cattle that do not require official identification include beef under 18 months, cattle moving directly to slaughter and to a premise where the animal can be officially tagged.

Moving documentation

In addition to meeting ID requirements, handlers must contain the proper moving documents. This generally means an ICVI, unless the following conditions are met:

  • The cattle are moved directly to slaughter or directly to an approved livestock facility and then to slaughter, accompanied by an owner shipper statement.
  • The cattle are moved directly to an approved livestock facility with an owner shipper statement.
  • The cattle are moved for veterinary medical work or moved through another state, back to the home state, or if moved through part of an approved commuter herd agreement.

Protecting Ohio farms

Tony Forshey, Ohio’s state veterinarian, said the new rule will reduce time and cost related to tracebacks for animal diseases. It will also help protect Ohio’s reputation in regard to being disease free, especially with damaging diseases like tuberculosis.

“It’s all about being able to trace where that animal started and where it ended,” he said.

Good records

It’s important that livestock producers keep detailed records, because those are what the state will use for tracebacks.

“We trace back when there’s a disease, and we trace back as far as there’s records, and that’s where the buck stops,” Forshey said. “So if that’s you and you didn’t record something down, you’re the last man on the traceback.”

He said transporters of livestock will need to contact the state where they’re shipping to, but in Ohio, he hopes to be reasonably accommodating in what he will accept, including such things as owner shipper statements, and animal brands, if they can be traced to a specific premise.

“My goal is to meet the federal requirements and not impede commerce,” he said. “We don’t want to put people out of business with this.”

Although the rule is now effective, White said officials are focusing on education and outreach, instead of compliance.

The meeting was, held in cooperation with the Stark County Cattlemen’s Association and Stark County Farm Bureau, was the fifth of eight meetings planned across the state.

Learn more

For more about the federal Animal Disease Traceability Rule and what is acceptable as official identification, visit

You can also contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6220.

Upcoming Ohio producer meetings will be held Nov. 19 at the Fulton County OSU Extension office, located at the Robert Fulton Agricultural Center, 8770 state Route 108, Wauseon; and Nov. 20 at UPI Gallipolis, 357 Jackson Pike, Gallipolis.

The meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. and provide an overview of how the rules pertain to Ohio, followed by a question and answer period.


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  1. Good Morning. If I buy one or two cows, or a half dozen hens at a farm auction in Ohio, will I be affected by this law when I bring them home to my small farm in PA? Thank you.

    • YES. Only day-old chicks were excepted, because the large hatcheries took action when the rule was open for comment, and participated in the committee that advised USDA. The small farm and show poultry communities haven’t realized that the new program is only minimally less than NAIS.

  2. Yet one more government invasion into our private lives-under the very FALSE guise of “its for your own good.”. Just remember-Adolf Hitler kept using that same excuse as he took away the freedoms of the German people one by one, then dumped his government takeover of the citizens’ lives. These new regulations/rules equate into: more costs to livestock owners who earn less and less annually from their livelyhoods and are falling from the “middle class” into the “working poor” category…more hardships and costs to people who take animal breeding seriously and attend shows to promote their breeding, and , worse of all-one step further by the communistic forces in the destruction of our constitutional republic form of government to control citizens without them realizing just what is happening. WAKE-UP people-this is NOT good news-it is the beginning of a tragedy-government destruction of private property rights leading to government seizure and control of agriculture!!!

    • Not that I totally disagree with you but it is the general public that is requesting this type of restriction. They want to know where that pork chop or steak came from and if there were any drugs used in the raising of it. PETA is one of the worst instigators of regulations such as you are seeing now. Gone is the day of the backyard farmer (Sad but true). But the more information people want about the products that eat the more restrictive the government has to be so they can provide the information.

  3. And a reminder for anyone reading. This Thursday 11/14 is the last day to comment on the new FDA regulations that will affect anyone “processing” food, which includes jams and jellies, mixing together animal feeds, etc. The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance has information on commenting, and the link to comment on the regulations is at these two locations: On-Farm Produce Rule:
    Preventive Controls / HARPC Rule:

  4. I’m trying to bring my two oxen calves home for Christmas. They are currently with me in Vermont and have no contact with other cattle, they will be coming to Rhode Island where they will have no contact with cattle still and wont even be on a real farm just in my back yard (I have a pretty large yard). They are 6 months old castrated and healthy.
    They will be in Rhode Island for a month then will go back to Vermont. In my book they are pets not agricultural products.
    Am I affected by this law?

  5. Madi, While I don’t know if the law affects you , I would certainly have a health certificate that is current when you leave Vermont. I might even go so far as to obtain one from Rhode Island before returning home. You should also be aware if Rhode Island requires any special vaccines for cattle, and be current with them as well. Also, I would be discrete in how I transported them. Although it might be hard to be discrete with two oxen. Good luck.

  6. Hello Madi, Thanks for reading our publication. If your oxen are under 18 months of age and are castrated, I imagine they might be exempt, but I would contact the state ag departments for the states where you’re traveling. Barb has some good advice about vaccines, etc. I also don’t think it matters that they’re going to your back yard. I believe the law applies to moving animals across the state border, but check with your local ag officials to be sure.


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