National Animal ID System: Tracking the livestock

NEW MEXICO - A federal program to monitor the nation’s commercial animals draws concerns.
calendar icon 14 August 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
Some farmers in Northern New Mexico are cooperating with an ambitious federal effort to inventory and monitor the nation’s livestock, but others see it as government intrusion they intend to defy.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture by 2009 wants every cow, bull, steer, bison, horse, goat, sheep, pig, alpaca, llama, deer, elk and poultry animal raised for the commercial market to have its own identification number. And it wants to know where all these animals live and where they’re going.

The agency says this information allows health inspectors to know when and where sick animals mingled with others of their kind so the spread of disease can be stopped within 48 hours.

Through its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA has worked with states and the livestock industry since 2002 to develop the National Animal Identification System. According to USDA, the country needs the system to protect “the national herd” from deadly infections such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad-cow disease) and avian influenza, which have killed millions of animals and prompted the culling of millions more.

Source: The New Mexican
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