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Period Extended for Input on US Animal ID Plan

Press Release

USAIP EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - Protecting American animal agriculture by safeguarding animal health is vital to the wellbeing of all U. S. citizens. It promotes human health; provides wholesome, reliable, and secure food resources; mitigates national economic threats; and enhances a sustainable environment. Essential to achieving this goal is an efficient and effective animal identification program. Building upon previously established and successful animal health and animal identification programs involving many animal industries, an industry-state-federal partnership, aided by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), was formed in 2002 to more uniformly coordinate a national animal identification plan. This resulting plan, requested by the United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) and facilitated by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), was formulated in 2003 for presentation at the October, 2003 annual meeting of the USAHA. More than 100 animal industry and state-federal government professionals representing more than 70 allied associations/organizations collectively assessed and suggested workable improvements to the plan to meet future U. S. animal identification needs.

Fundamental to controlling any disease threat, foreign or domestic, to the nation’s animal resources is to have a system that can identify individual animals or groups, the premises where they are located, and the date of entry to that premises. Further, in order to achieve optimal success in controlling or eradicating an animal health threat, the ability to retrieve that information within 48 hours of confirmation of a disease outbreak and to implement intervention strategies is necessary. The USAIP is focused on utilizing state-of-the-art national and international standards with the best available and practical technologies. It is dynamic and flexible, and will incorporate new and proven technologies as they become available. States’ needs in implementing animal identification will receive priority within the uniformity provided by federal oversight.

The USAIP currently supports the following species and/or industries: bison, beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats, camelids (alpacas and llamas), horses, cervids (deer and elk), poultry (eight species including game birds), and aquaculture (eleven species). Implementation will be in three phases: Phase I involves premises identification; Phase II involves individual or group/lot identification for interstate and intrastate commerce; and Phase III involves retrofitting remaining processing plants and markets and other industry segments with appropriate technology that will enhance our ability to track animals throughout the livestock marketing chain to protect and improve the health of the national herd. Initial implementation will focus on the cattle, swine, and small ruminant industries. In transition, the USAIP recommends that: all states have a premises identification system in place by July, 2004; unique, individual or group/lot numbers be available for issuance by February, 2005; all cattle, swine, and small ruminants possess individual or group/lot identification for interstate movement by July, 2005; all animals of the remaining species/industries identified above be in similar compliance by July, 2006.

These standards will apply to all animals within the represented industries regardless of their intended use as seedstock, commercial, pets or other personal uses.

It is well acknowledged that costs associated with the USAIP will be substantial and that a public/private funding plan is justified. Significant state and federal costs will be incurred in overseeing, maintaining, updating, and improving necessary infrastructure. Continued efforts will be required to seek federal and state financial support for this integral component of safeguarding animal health in protecting American animal agriculture.