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USDA APHIS Unveils Conclusive Animal Disease Traceability Regulation

Efficient animal disease response hinges on effective tracing of animal movements. A robust traceability system minimizes the number of animals involved and speeds up disease investigations, thereby mitigating the economic impact on owners and communities.

To address this, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) collaborated with state animal health officials and industry stakeholders to establish the Animal Disease Traceability Program. This program ensures the official individual identification of animals and premises traceability from farm to harvest.

Recently, on April 26, 2024, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) announced the finalization of a rule aimed at enhancing animal disease traceability (ADT), specifically focusing on certain categories of cattle and bison.

The key provisions of this rule include the mandatory use of electronic identification (EID) for sexually intact cattle and bison aged 18 months and older, all dairy cattle, and cattle used for rodeo, recreation, or exhibition when moving interstate. Visual and electronic reading of this identification will be required. Additionally, any visual ear tags applied to animals before the rule’s effective date will be recognized for the lifetime of those animals.

Furthermore, the rule revises the definition of dairy cattle to encompass all cattle, regardless of age or sex, involved in milk or dairy product production for human consumption, spanning various recognized breeds.

To facilitate this transition, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is offering complimentary electronic 840 tags to cattle and bison producers and veterinarians. These tags can be obtained during regular office hours, with a flat shipping fee for orders outside pick-up.

Moreover, the rule mandates the use of 840 tags for cattle and swine exhibited at state fairs in Illinois, necessitating exhibitors to ensure compliance with veterinary inspections and tag requirements beforehand. Failure to adhere to these regulations may result in removal of animals from fairgrounds.

Additionally, premises identification involves assigning unique numbers to animal agriculture sites, including allied operations and non-producer participants. While currently voluntary, premises registration is free and serves crucial purposes during animal health emergencies.

For further inquiries regarding animal disease traceability or premises identification, stakeholders can contact the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Animal Health and Welfare via email, phone, or fax.

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