August 16, 2013
The Joint Strategy Forum on Animal Disease Traceability (ADT), hosted by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) and the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA), focused on harmonizing the compliance process across states and tribes to facilitate market efficiency while achieving the program's goals of traceability for timely and effective intervention in case of a disease event. The forum brought together state veterinarians, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials and industry representatives to discuss the current status of ADT and ongoing work to streamline the process.
Under the final rule, published in January, livestock moved interstate must be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation allowed under the rule. A key feature of the rule is that USDA turned implementation and management over to individual states and tribes, meaning that within the rule's guidelines, states can choose their requirements for livestock coming in and can negotiate agreements with other states on types of documentation they will accept. That feature allows considerable flexibility for state animal-health officials to craft a system that works for their producers, but also creates potential confusion or compliance challenges for producers, veterinarians and market personnel.
Kicking off the forum, John Clifford, DVM, deputy administrator and chief veterinary officer in USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's Veterinary Services, said USDA's current focus is on outreach and education to aid implementation at the state level, rather than enforcement. Eventually though, USDA will lead the enforcement effort for the mandatory program.
"The sheep industry will not see any changes as a result of this rule," said Clint Krebs, American Sheep Industry Association president. "The published rule officially recognizes the current identification program in place for the sheep scrapie eradication program as sufficient for disease traceability."
Reprinted in part from Feedstuffs