AgTech: Use of ID or tag for Livestock

The Federal Governments animal disease traceability law went into effect in March of 2013. Since the passage of the federal law, states have been determining how to best implement it and educate stakeholders about what it requires.

"The primary goal is animal disease traceability. If we find a disease we want to be able to trace it back to the farm of origin," said Tony Forshey, Ohios State Veterinarian. "We have done about a year of education outreach and education with sale barns and auction barns and commodity groups. Any time any animal crosses a state line, it is involved in interstate commerce and therefore it applies to the animal disease traceability law. If you’re going to sell animals across the state line, they have to have an official ID. The other side of that is the documentation, either with a certificate of vet inspection and an official ID. There are many forms of official IDs and they can be found on the USDA or ODA web sites."

All livestock, excluding poultry, are included in the requirements.

"Some of the biggest changes involve cattle. All dairy cattle of any age or sex must have official ID to cross state lines. Beef cattle currently only need official ID if they are over 18 months of age. The exception to that is if they are involved in a fair or exhibition and then they all are required to have an official ID," Forshey said. "In pigs for county fairs we have always used four digit tattoos. Now cull sows have to have pin number or premise ID number to be sold to slaughter. Horses need IDs with registration papers. Sheep and goats need Scrapie tags and that has been in place for quite some time. The biggest change is for the cattle."

"Those tags simply mean that the animal was born in the United States. It makes it easier for buyers to be confident that they can buy the animal and then get it slaughtered wherever they want across the United States," he said. "The Ohio Cattlemens Association made a big step two years ago by requiring RFID electronic tags, the electronic 840 tags, for the BEST shows and that was a great move. Now other states are following Ohios lead. For the county fairs, they dont need to use the electronic tags but they can use the 840 visual tag and they can buy those as cheap as they can buy their regular fair tags. It is just a good way to ensure those animals can cross over the country without having to worry about official ID. Again, If everybody would just tag their animals with official ID before they left the farm we wouldnt even be having this discussion."

Source : Ohio Country Journal