March 12, 2004
March 12, 2004 -- Testimony before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Marketing, Inspection and Product Promotion concerning the development of a national animal identification plan took place late last week.
Seven witnesses addressed the committee, from The Honorable Bill Hawks to the former CEO of Ag Switzerland to American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) representative, Bob Lehfeldt, president of the Montana Wool Growers Association.
Similar concerns were echoed throughout the proceedings with the top ones being:
- development of a system that is not cost prohibitive to the producer,
- identifications systems may not be identical for all species,
- confidentiality must be upheld, and
- the program must be for animal disease control.
Hawks, in his testimony, revealed the U.S. Department of Agriculture?s (USDA) preference for a voluntary identification system that is technology neutral. He indicated USDA already has sufficient authority.
Lehfeldt stated that the sheep industry is working on a sheep-specific plan and relayed the ID policy approved by the ASI Board of Directors at their annual meeting.
To view all of the testimony presented at this hearing, go to: http://agriculture.senate.gov/Hearings/witnesslist.cfm?id=1070.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33