Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced today that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will develop a new, flexible framework for animal disease traceability in the United States and undertake several other actions to further strengthen its disease prevention and response capabilities.
"After concluding our listening tour on the National Animal Identification System in 15 cities across the country, receiving thousands of comments from the public, it is apparent that a new strategy for animal disease traceability is needed," said Vilsack. "I've decided to revise the prior policy and offer a new approach to animal disease traceability with changes that respond directly to the feedback we heard."
The framework provides the basic tenets of an improved animal disease traceability capability in the United States. USDA's efforts will:
One of USDA's first steps will be to convene a forum with state animal health leaders to initiate a dialogue about the possible ways of achieving the flexible, coordinated approach to animal disease traceability. Additionally, USDA will be revamping the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Animal Health to address specific issues, such as confidentiality and liability.
Glen Fisher, president of the American Sheep Industry Association, participated in a conversation with Vilsack this morning and mentioned that states are going to be encouraged to set up the system for disease control and tracebility. When the secretary was asked who would be liable for the cost of the system, Fisher was that the department does not intend the cost to be borne by the states.
More information on USDA's new direction on animal traceability and the steps to improve disease prevention and control is available at www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability.