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U.S. Groups Outline Principles For National ID

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Highlights from a Jan. 14 statement by eight U.S. cattle industry groups on 12 principles in development of cattle disease traceability ID system. The proposal to the USDA and Congress was signed by the Livestock Marketing Organization, the American Angus Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Dairy Farmers of America, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, R-CALF USA, Texas Cattle Feeders Association and the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

Additional costs to the beef and dairy industry must be minimized.

Cattle ID information must be kept confidential and should be kept under the control of state animal health officials. The only data required to be collected should be that necessary only for cattle disease surveillance, control and eradication.

There should be renewed emphasis on preventing the introduction of foreign animal diseases.

The 48-hour foot and mouth disease traceback model is currently unachievable.

The ID system should operate at the speed of commerce.

An interstate movement ID program should use as a model the brucellosis/tuberculosis (TB) surveillance and control programs.

Any ID enhancements of historically established federal and state cattle disease ID programs – beginning with the individual identification of adult breeding cattle – should be modelled after the TB and brucellosis programs, as they existed prior to USDA’s National Animal ID System modifications, and voluntarily phased-in over a proper time frame.

Producers should be protected from liability for the acts of others after the cattle have left the producer’s control.

State animal health officials should continue to have their historical flexibility and discretion in assigning an identifier for the person responsible for the livestock, such as in an epidemiological investigation or mitigation of a disease outbreak.

Producers should have the flexibility to use currently established and/or evolving methods of official identification.

In transmitting the statement of principles to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and members of Congress, the organizations said while they “realized much work remains to be done within our individual organizations, as well as the wider cattle industry, we believe the attached statement of general principles… represents a significant step forward on a challenging issue for all of us.”

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