Animal Disease Traceability Plan
Posted: October 13, 2010
Source: Dairy Herd Management, 9/2/2010
The National Institute for Animal Agriculture and the United States Animal Health Association was held on Aug 30-31 in Denver, Colorado. The forum focused on suggestions for USDA and the agency’s Traceability Regulation Working Group to provide input for the proposed animal traceability that will replace the dispensed National Animal Identification System.
The framework will provide the basic tenets of an improved animal disease traceability capability in the United States. USDA’s efforts will:
Only apply to animals moved in interstate commerce;
Be administered by the States and Tribal Nations to provide more flexibility;
Encourage the use of lower-cost technology; and
Be implemented transparently through federal regulations and the full rulemaking process.
The meeting was billed as a final opportunity to provide input to USDA before it writes the proposed rules for the new Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) framework. USDA also held three listening sessions (in Madison, Wis., Atlanta, Ga. and Pasco, Wash.) last month to gather additional feedback on the plan before drafting begins.
According to USDA, the proposed rule would require animals moved interstate to be officially identified (individually or by group/lot) and accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, unless otherwise exempt. Any producer data would be controlled by individual state or tribal programs, and the plan would be performance- and outcome-based using traceability performance measures. “This needs to be a flexible, coordinated approach that builds on what has been successful,” says John Clifford, USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service chief veterinarian.
The agency plans to roll out the new rules next April 2011, which will be followed by a 60- to 90-day comment period. The final rule would take effect about a year after the comment period closes.
Instead of focusing on the areas of least agreement — like voluntary vs. mandatory programs, religion and food safety — meeting participants tried a new approach. They spent most of their time on areas that could be agreed upon, like the idea that we really do need an animal disease traceability system in this country.
Attendees agreed that 9-character silver tags offer a baseline for official animal identification (for cattle); advanced technology, like electronic ID, may be used when preferred. Plan architects were also urged to find real-world solutions to problems and concerns, and look to states or programs that have already implemented traceability plans for guidance.
There’s still much work to do. But the fact that the group did find major points of agreement, and that the general attitude was collaborative, not combative, is significant. There was helpful dialogue with USDA officials throughout the sessions, offering hope that the concerns and suggestions were heard and will be incorporated into the final plan.