The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) testified on March 11 before the U.S. Congress on animal identification, making the case that a mandatory nationwide program that tracks livestock is the most effective way to minimize the effects of an animal disease outbreak.
Addressing the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry, Dr. W. Ron DeHaven, CEO and executive vice-president of the AVMA, explained that the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) would allow for the quick control of diseases entering the
"With full producer participation in the NAIS, we will be able to quickly contain and eradicate diseases," DeHaven told the subcommittee.
The NAIS, a program run by the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is a modern, streamlined information system under which food animals are tagged so that their movements can be tracked in the event of a disease outbreak. Livestock identification and premises registration in NAIS are currently voluntary.
DeHaven also emphasized that animal identification systems are becoming prerequisites for international trade and that the
The AVMA has worked with APHIS to help implement and publicize the NAIS to its members. But despite the work of the AVMA and the USDA, only about one-third – or 505,000 (35 percent) – of
"Since it is impossible to predict which corner of our nation or sector of animal agriculture will be impacted by a disease outbreak, the AVMA believes that NAIS will not live up to its potential benefit unless all food animal production facilities are registered," Dr. DeHaven said.