August 15, 2003
U.S. Developing National Animal Identification Plan
A national animal identification plan is being developed to help protect American animal agriculture and homeland security. State animal health officials, livestock industry groups and the USDA are working together to finalize the plan. They hope to have Phase One of the plan, Premises ID, in place by July 2004. This phase would require that standardized premises identification numbers be established for all production operations, markets, assembly points, exhibitions and processing plants.
Once the Premises ID systems are in place, the plan will proceed to Phase Two, which calls for individual identification for cattle in commerce. This phase would be in place by the beginning of 2006.
States, industry and the USDA have been working in partnership on the plan through the National Animal Identification Development Team. The team, which includes a steering committee and five working groups, has produced a draft plan with the working name of the U.S. Animal Identification Plan (USAIP). It carries the tagline ?Protecting Animal Agriculture.?
The draft plan draws on existing voluntary and compulsory animal identification programs currently in place in the United States and coordinates them into a truly national program for the first time. Details are still to be finalized, but the development team expects to complete its work within the next 60 days. It is anticipated that the plan will then be formally delivered to USDA/APHIS, which in turn will develop rulemaking and continue the process of review and comment by industry stakeholders.
American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) leaders and staff have been invited to participate in the animal ID process through involvement in various working groups. ASI sent a letter to the steering committee stating, ?While we will reserve our opinions on the total approach and outcome of the ID effort for the review and comment phase on the proposed rule, we are encouraged by the spirit of the effort.?
Staff contact: Paul Rodgers, (304) 647-9981