USCA comments on animal disease traceability rule
The United States Cattlemen's Association has released the following statement regarding the United States Department of Agriculture's release of the National Animal Disease Traceability final rule Dec. 20. USCA applauds the agency for the release of this long-awaited policy and the open and transparent process by which USDA promulgated the rule.
Dr. Dick Bowman, USCA Animal ID Chairman and veterinarian who participated in the public rulemaking process through the Cattle ID Group, said, "This administration has invested considerable time and effort in this process. USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Undersecretary Edward Avalos, USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Deputy Administrator Dr. John Clifford and APHIS staff have worked diligently to engage industry stakeholders and a plan has emerged from these discussions that is responsive to the livestock industry's needs while providing efficient and effective methods for disease traceability. We appreciate the agency's work on this controversial but much-needed program, which will enhance animal disease traceability."
USCA Animal Health Committee Chairman, Chuck Kiker, Beaumont, Texas, said he is pleased that the plan accepts the use of brands, tattoos and brand registration as official identification when accepted by shipping and receiving states or tribes. "This rule provides individual states and tribes with a remarkable amount of flexibility. While the final rule addresses significant gaps in the nation's overall disease response efforts, under this plan states and tribes will be able to design systems for tracing animals that best fits their needs. Back tags will be permanently maintained as an alternative to official ear tags, which is something many producers made reference to in the public comment period. Certain classes of cattle are exempt under this final rule, including cattle under 18 months of age. The agency has indicated that it will address these classes of cattle under a separate rule-making due to the sheer volume of animals affected. We congratulate USDA-APHIS for its work," added Kiker. "This is a prime example of what can happen when industry groups come together to work in a positive manner with a regulating agency like USDA."
USCA President Jon Wooster said the final ADT rule is the result of a collaborative process that establishes a national system of tools and safeguards for effective disease response. "We expect this rule to be published in the Dec. 28 Federal Register, and it will become effective on Feb. 26 in terms of implementation and compliance education. The enforcement phase will likely not be implemented for six to twelve months after the rule is implemented, which gives USDA time to work with states and tribes to develop their own policies and systems. We applaud USDA for its work on this rule and we look forward to working with the agency and with the Cattle ID Group as we move ahead."
Established in March 2007, USCA is committed to concentrating its efforts in Washington, D.C., to enhance and expand the cattle industry's voice on Capitol Hill. USCA has a full-time presence in Washington, giving cattle producers across the country a strong influence on policy development. For more information go to www.uscattlemen.org.
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