Animal ID program moves ahead with farm registration

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WASHINGTON – The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service selected a Wisconsin-based premises registration system as the foundation to a national animal identification system.

The system will record locations where animals reside or will reside.

The Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium developed the farm registration system.

Where are the animals? “Before animals can be tracked during a disease outbreak, we need to know where the animals are located,” said Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator W. Ron DeHaven.

“Registering animal premises is a key component of a national animal identification system and will help trace animal movements during any future outbreaks.”

The USDA accelerated efforts to develop an animal ID program after the Dec. 23, 2003, discovery of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, in Washington state.

Limited roll-out. Currently, USDA is enhancing the system for use in multiple states and will provide it to a limited number of states in early August. It will be phased in to catch problems before the system is available nationally.

Other options. States also can use other premises registration systems, as long as these systems meet national data standards.

By early August, USDA will have evaluated other premises registration systems to ensure compliance with the national data standards.

Last week, the House Livestock and Horticulture Subcommittee held a hearing to review the national animal identification system.

Once an overall identification system is designed, “the market will determine which technologies will be the most appropriate to meet the needs of the system,” John Clifford, a deputy administrator with the USDA, told the subcommittee.

USDA’s goal is a comprehensive animal identification system that will trace all animals and premises potentially exposed to a foreign animal disease within 48 hours.

A total of $11.64 million will be awarded to begin implementation of an identification system for all livestock and poultry animals on farms and ranches.

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