The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the publication of a proposed rule on animal disease traceability Tuesday. The proposed rule follows the announcement of an animal disease traceability framework from 18 months ago as well as several years of discussions and planning with state livestock health officials, the livestock industry and other stakeholders.
"The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) supports the concept of a national animal disease traceability program and appreciates USDA's efforts to seek advice and ideas from stakeholders prior to publishing a proposed regulation," said Jim Logan, DVM, ASI Animal Health Committee chairman. "We are anxious to review the proposed rule and look forward to providing comments to USDA."
According to ASI President Margaret Soulen Hinson, "The sheep industry has had a mandatory federal ID system for about 10 years now as a key part of the scrapie eradication program, and we expect that it will be fully recognized and respected in the proposed rule. The system has allowed us to find and trace back diseased and exposed animals and has worked well for our industry."
According to the APHIS Fact Sheep for traceability for sheep and goats, "The traceability rule will have no effect on sheep and goats … Requirements to move sheep and goats interstate remain the same as current scrapie regulations for interstate movement." USDA officials mentioned this week during discussions with ASI that the scrapie ID program has a 92-percent success rate for cull sheep at final market destination. ASI will formulate comments with sheep industry leaders for formal submission to the USDA.
The proposed rule for the animal disease traceability program can be accessed at http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-20281_PI.pdf and was published in the Federal Register on Aug. 11. Specific traceability information for sheep can be accessed at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/downloads/2011/FStracsheep.VS.pdf.