Meat & Livestock News

Enhanced Traceability for US Cattle and Bison

TL;DR: APHIS amends regulations to enhance traceability of US cattle and bison, aiming to manage foreign animal diseases more effectively.

APHIS’s New Regulation

On April 26, the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced significant improvements to cattle and bison traceability. These enhancements, accomplished through advanced technology and best practices, aim to swiftly identify and manage foreign animal diseases.

Immediate Benefits

Effective traceability can sharply reduce quarantine durations, prevent disease spread in animals, and enable quicker resumption of farm operations. “This action will keep our markets viable,” stated Michael Watson, DVM, APHIS administrator.

Strengthened Safety Measures

This rule represents a milestone in USDA’s ongoing effort to enhance disease safeguards, building on a 2013 initiative that set standards for livestock identification and documentation for cross-state transport.

Support for Producers

To support this upgraded traceability system, the USDA will distribute free electronic ear tags to producers, ensuring rapid response capabilities upon disease detection. These ear tags, essential for interstate cattle and bison transport, must be readable both visually and electronically.

Who’s Affected?

The final rule targets all sexually intact cattle and bison over 18 months, all dairy cattle, and those used in rodeo, recreational events, or exhibitions.

Looking Forward

This rule is set to be published in the Federal Register soon and will come into effect 180 days later, marking a significant step forward in managing animal disease threats.