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USDA issues final animal disease traceability rule

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USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a final rule establishing general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate.

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, the final rule has several differences from the proposed rule issued in August 2011. These include:

  • 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

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 this 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.

For more specific details about the regulation and how it will affect producers, visit www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability.

The notice is expected to be published in the December 28 Federal Register.

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