USDA to Revise Animal Disease Traceability Approach

The 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 said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

"After concluding our listening tour on the National Animal Identification System in 15 cities across the country, receiving thousands of comments from the public and input from states, tribal nations, industry groups, and representatives for small and organic farmers, it is apparent that a new strategy for animal disease traceability is needed," Vilsack said. "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, announced Feb. 5 at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Mid-Year meeting, provides the basic tenets of animal disease traceability capability in the United States. These efforts will:

  • Only apply to animals moved in interstate commerce;
  • Be administered by the states and tribal nations to provide more flexibility;
  • Encourage the use of lower-cost technology, and
  • Be implemented transparently through federal regulations and the full rulemaking process.

One of USDA's first steps will be a forum with animal health leaders for the states and tribal nations to initiate a dialogue about the possible ways of achieving the flexible, coordinated approach to animal disease traceability the group envisions. Additionally, USDA will be revamping the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Animal Health to address specific issues, such as confidentiality and liability.

FAQs on the new animal disease taceability framework.

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