House Funding Bill Excludes Animal Identification System

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) will receive no new funding under a 2010 spending bill proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA appropriations subcommittee. Chairwoman Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Ct.) announced bill details on June 11.

The NAIS is a nationwide livestock database designed to help federal and state agencies locate and track the movement of animals in the event of disease outbreaks or natural disasters.

The program uses data provided by livestock producers and property owners to assign identification numbers to individual animals and to properties where animals are born or reside. Registry participation is voluntary. But the program has failed to attract substantial support among livestock producers.

"Until the USDA provides details as to how it will implement an effective ID system, continued investments into the current NAIS are unwarranted."
–Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro
"There is overwhelming concern about NAIS registration becoming mandatory. There is also opposition to the whole concept by some (who fear) that they will have to ID their animals to move them through commerce," said Nancy Robinson, vice president of government and industry affairs for the Livestock Marketing Association.

NAIS has received $142 million in federal funding since its establishment in 2004. During that time, DeLauro said the program's administrator, the USDA's Animal and Plant Inspection Service has been unable to implement an effective system that provides needed animal health and market benefits

"Until the USDA provides details as to how it will implement an effective ID system, continued investments into the current NAIS are unwarranted," DeLauro said.

Future funding could be contingent upon how the UDSA uses information gathered at meetings with livestock producers in California, Florida, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, and South Dakota, said DeLauro.

While some producers continue to oppose the current program, Robinson said the meetings could yield an animal identification concept producers can support.

"It's time to sit back and see what is workable and what is feasible," she said. "If it's not NAIS, it could be something else."

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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