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USDA seeks public comment on animal traceability regulations

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The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced a proposed rule today to amend animal disease traceability regulations, making electronic ID tags both visually and electronically readable.

The agency is soliciting public comment on the proposal until March 22, 2023.

What will be the most significant change?

Official USDA tags will now be defined as those that are both visually and electronically readable. Here are some examples of official identification.

Who will this impact?

About 89 percent of the national herd of approximately 100 million cattle and bison WILL NOT be impacted by the changes in this proposal. The proposal would only apply to certain classes of cattle that are crossing state lines and meet any of the following conditions:

  • Sexually intact and 18 months of age or older
  • All female dairy cattle of any age and male dairy animals born after March 11, 2013
  • Cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo or recreational events
  • Cattle or bison of any age used for shows or exhibitions

What else you should know:

USDA will remain technology neutral at this time — meaning they will not standardize which frequency tag you must use.

U.S. Cattlemen’s Association commented, saying that their members understand the importance of building an animal disease traceability system that doesn’t burden producers, is effective for disease tracebacks, and maintains the confidentiality of individuals.

Over the past several years, USCA participated in listening sessions, industry meetings, and public comment periods hosted by APHIS on using electronic identification ear tags. USCA will continue to engage with senior animal health officials to establish a workable program to treat, monitor, and ultimately contain an endemic disease as quickly and efficiently as possible.

USCA’s Animal Health and Identification Committee will soon meet to discuss the contents of the proposed rule released today and formulate a response.

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