USCA (August 12, 2011) - Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced its proposed rule to enhance Animal Disease Traceability (ADT). This proposed rule seeks to increase the efficiency and timeliness of animal disease investigations while decreasing the length of the investigations and thereby the costs to producers and the government. The U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) has played an active role in the stakeholder process of providing input since the program was announced in February, 2010.
"Updating animal disease traceability is not a simple process," noted USCA Animal ID Chairman, Richard Bowman, DVM, "However, USDA has taken steps throughout the rule-making process to continually involve and take into consideration producer and industry-driven input while the ADT plan was being updated. USDA is to be commended for following a process for developing a workable framework that takes into consideration both the demands of the industry and consumers for a healthy and traceable food supply, while also maintaining a system that economically allows the nation's cattle industry to enhance traceability efforts as it relates to animal disease eradication and prevention."
"USDA and industry stakeholders have been engaged in discussions, listening sessions, roundtables, and conference calls since the proposed guidelines for a National Animal Identification System were first released on February 5, 2010. Since then, the amount of time and scrutiny that the department, specifically the Animal Plant Health and Inspection Service (APHIS), has put into this issue has been considerable. The level of communication between the agency and USCA, along with fellow industry stakeholders, has been one of unprecedented levels. Many of the issues surrounding this proposed rule were worked out thanks to the Livestock Marketing Association's leadership in pulling together 12 national cattle, dairy, and marketing organizations and its work within the Cattle ID Group. We hope that this lengthy and strenuous effort results in a workable traceability plan," continued Bowman.
In closing, Bowman noted, "USCA looks forward to reviewing the rule and consulting with our membership to ensure the best possible version of an animal identification system is created; one that addresses the policies and concerns of U.S. cattle producers while allowing animal health officials the ability to trace and eradicate any animal disease outbreak threatening the U.S. cattle herd."