Going Green

Saturday, September 15, 2007


The National Animal Identification System is slowly becoming reality.

NAIS Business Plan is a template for moving forward with animal ID plan

By Doug Rich

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials presented their Business Plan for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) at the ID-Info Expo in Kansas City, Mo.

"We need to build on systems that already exist," Dr. Clifford Clark, USDA-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Veterinarian Services said. "This can be done by providing common data standards across all programs."

Individual animal identification is nothing new. USDA has been doing this for years with programs designed for specific animal disease such as scrapie, tuberculosis, and brucellosis. Dr. Clifford said that these programs are focused on a single disease and when that disease is eradicated the identification program stops. These programs have separate identification numbers and data collection procedures.

"An animal may be identified multiple times yet still not be fully traceable because separate programs use....(complete story here)

Various programs sponsored and administered by USDA have been able to track animals for years -- such as for brucellosis. The problem is that there has never been anything to tie all of the various databases together. One of the key components of the plan is such an ability.

The "rugged individualism" of livestock producers in general will tend to resist such a plan. That's why only a small percentage of cattle producers are currently enrolled in the "voluntary" program. However, from an animal disease standpoint, the program has merit. When there is a food scare, it will be useful to trace back to the origin of any disease related problem. Pork and poultry producers are far ahead of their beef counterparts.

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