Results from a new consumer survey commissioned by Global Animal Management, Inc., reinforce the need for the National Animal ID System.

The poll of 1,000 U.S. consumers was conducted in mid-May, and shows that consumers already have considerable confidence in the nation’s meat and poultry supply — 37 percent said that their current meat safety confidence is high. But, confidence levels could jump even higher once NAIS is in place. The NAIS proposal, recently unveiled by USDA, calls for mandatory reporting of the movements of cattle, hogs, poultry and other livestock by January 2009.

For example, according to the poll, if NAIS were to be implemented, average consumer confidence in meat safety and security would jump to 7.4 (out of 10 points) from 6.5. And 55 percent of respondents said their confidence would then be high (between 8 to 10 points out of 10) Only 4 percent said their confidence would remain low after NAIS implementation.

The survey also shows that consumers may be even more confident in meet and poultry safety if NAIS is mandatory, rather than voluntary. On the same 10-point scale, average consumer confidence is 7.5 under a mandatory system, compared with 5.8 for a voluntary one. Only 28 percent of respondents said they would feel highly confident if the system is optional.

Keep in mind that the survey was conducted before last week’s announcement that the United States has a second positive case of BSE.

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