In an effort to improve the system that tracks where diseased and at-risk animals are, where they have been, and when, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a proposed rule that would establish new regulations for disease traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate.

According to the proposed rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. It also would encourage the use of low-cost technology and specifies approved forms of official identification for each species, such as metal ear tags for cattle.

USDA stated in a press release that shipping and receiving states or tribes, however, are permitted to agree upon alternative forms of identification such as brands or tattoos, recognizing the importance and prevalence of other identifications in certain regions.

“AMI supports the development of a mandatory national animal identification and trace back system that would allow producers, processors, and regulators to trace food animals through the food production system,” said AMI Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel Mark Dopp. “Any such program should be accurate, affordable and confidential. We will carefully analyze and comment on the proposed rule and we will continue to work with USDA and interested parties to support the development and implementation of a mandatory animal identification system.”

The proposed rule is expected to be published on August 11, 2011 in the Federal Register at, followed by a 90-day comment period.

The prepublication copy of the proposed rule is posted at


Source: American Meat Institute