The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday released its final rule establishing general regulations to improve the traceability of livestock moving interstate.
"With the final rule announced today, the United States now has a flexible, effective animal disease traceability system for livestock moving interstate, without undue burdens for ranchers and U.S. livestock businesses," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement.
"The final rule meets the diverse needs of the countryside where states and tribes can develop systems for tracking animals that work best for them and their producers, while addressing any gaps in our overall disease response efforts,” he said. “Over the past several years, USDA has listened carefully to America's farmers and ranchers, working collaboratively to establish a system of tools and safeguards that will help us target when and where animal diseases occur, and help us respond quickly."
Under the final rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate would have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates.
After considering the public comments received, USDA said the final rule has several differences from the proposed rule issued in August 2011, including:
- Accepting the use of brands, tattoos and brand registration as official identification when accepted by the shipping and receiving states or tribes.
- Permanently maintaining the use of backtags as an alternative to official eartags for cattle and bison moved directly to slaughter.
- Accepting movement documentation other than an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI) for all ages and classes of cattle when accepted by the shipping and receiving states or tribes.
- Clarifying that all livestock moved interstate to a custom slaughter facility are exempt from the regulations.
- Exempting chicks moved interstate from a hatchery from the official identification requirements.
USDA said beef cattle under 18 months of age, unless they are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos, or recreational events, are exempt from the official identification requirement in the rule. “These specific traceability requirements for this group will be addressed in separate rulemaking, allowing APHIS to work closely with industry to ensure the effective implementation of the identification requirements,” the department said.
For more specific details about the regulation and how it will affect producers, visit the USDA’s traceability Web page
. The final rule will be published in the Federal Register
on Dec. 28, USDA said.