On August 9, 2011, USDA issued a proposed rule to establish minimum national official identification and documentation requirements for the traceability of livestock moving interstate. Having a traceability system in place would allow the United States to trace animal disease more quickly and efficiently, thereby minimizing not only the spread of disease but also the trade impacts an outbreak may have. Basically, cattle moving from one state to another state will need to be 1) officially identified and 2) accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection (ICVI) or certain other documentation. An exception is made for those cattle moving directly to a custom slaughter facility for preparation of meat for personal consumption.
The requirement for official identification will be phased in, beginning on the effective date of the final rule. The initial phase, as outlined in the table below, will begin when the rule is first published and last until a notice is published in the Federal Register defining an effective date to begin requiring official identification for all cattle (final phase). During this initial phase, all beef cattle under 18 months of age as well as steers and spayed heifers will be exempt from the official identification requirement unless they are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos or recreational events.
*In this proposed rule, a commuter herd is defined as “a herd of cattle or bison moved interstate during the course of normal livestock management operations and without change of ownership directly between two premises, as provided in a commuter herd agreement”. A commuter herd agreement is defined as “a written agreement between the owner(s) of a herd of cattle or bison and the animal health officials for the States and/or Tribes of origin and destination specifying the conditions required for the interstate movement from one premises to another in the course of normal livestock management operations and specifying the time period, up to 1 year, that the agreement is effective”. A commuter herd agreement would be subject to annual renewal. Meeting commuter-herd requirements in lieu of official identification requirements would still provide traceability.
Cattle and bison that are required to be officially identified for interstate movement must be identified by:
• An official eartag; or
• Group/lot identification when a group/lot identification number (GIN) is applicable.
States or Tribes may accept another form of identification, including but not limited to brands, tattoos, and breed registry certificates, as agreed on by animal health officials in the States or Tribes involved in the movement.
USDA Official Eartags:
Official Vaccination Eartag (Brucellosis)-Restricted for use with bovine and bison calfhood brucellosis vaccination