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USDA previews animal ID plan

by 5m Editor
18 May 2005, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON — The U.S. livestock industry – from farmers to feedlots to packinghouses – will have to track every animal in the country from birth to market by 2009, said Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. Johanns, in a recent teleconference with reporters, said the U.S. Department of Agriculture now is about halfway through its effort to implement the animal ID program. &quot;I am absolutely convinced that we need this program,&quot; he said. Johanns acknowledged some state agricultural officials have criticized the federal government for slow progress on the animal ID program. &quot;But tracing individual animals from birth to processing is a multiyear effort that takes some time,&quot; he stressed. He said considerable progress, however, has been made, citing an improved national network of laboratories to identify, test and respond to an attack on the food supply. He said the network will improve efforts to eradicate and respond to disease outbreaks, such as the discovery of mad cow disease in a Washington state Holstein. The goal is to limit the scope of disease outbreaks by allowing authorities to track down an exposed cow, pig or chicken within 48 hours, Johanns said. To begin, USDA has proposed voluntary registration of cattle, hogs, poultry and other livestock. It then, however, will shift to mandatory reporting of livestock movement by January 2009, Johanns said. “We’re very much on track,” he said. <i>Source: AGRINews </i>

5m Editor