Beginning next month, beef producers shipping certain classes of cattle across state lines will need to comply with a new set of federal rules for animal disease traceability. For now though, the identification and documentation requirements will affect a relatively small number of cattle, and compliance should be fairly easy for most producers.
Most feeder cattle are exempt from the new traceability rule, but dairy cattle, including young dairy-breed steers shipped across state lines for growing or finishing, will need official identification and documents. After a short delay, USDA published its final rule titled “Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate” to the Federal Register on Jan. 9. The requirements take effect 60 days following publication, meaning beef producers need to comply by March 11, 2013.
The scaled-down ADT rule has received generally favorable acceptance from livestock organizations after years of contentious debate over animal identification, premises identification and earlier proposals within the National Animal Identification System.
Unlike some earlier proposals, the ADT rule affects a relatively small percentage of cattle marketed, since animals less than 18 months of age are exempt along with cattle shipped directly to slaughter. That eliminates calves, yearling seedstock, most feeder cattle and culled breeding cattle sold for slaughter. And the program only applies to animals shipped across state lines. Adult cows and bulls sold to other producers will make up the bulk of cattle affected by the program, along with animals transported to stock shows and rodeos.
Beginning March 11, cattle transported across state lines to livestock shows, such as these at the National Western Stock Show in Denver, will need identification and documentation in compliance with the new Animal Disease Traceability rule.
USDA has emphasized the sole purpose of its traceability framework is to prevent the spread of disease by quickly tracking sick animals to their source, facilitating quarantines or other interventions while minimizing the scope of quarantines or culling.
At the NCBA, chief veterinarian Kathy Simmons, DVM, says the system should reduce the number of animals involved in a disease investigation and reduce the time needed to respond to a disease occurrence. “As a result of the final rule for animal disease traceability, information will be more readily available, USDA disease investigation timeframes will shorten, more rapid control for certain diseases will occur and the number of quarantined or disposed animals will be reduced. Ultimately, these improvements in traceability under the final rule should decrease the cost of disease outbreaks to producers.”