Final Traceability Rule Gets Thumbs Up from NCBA

The final Animal Disease Traceability rule has been published in the Federal Register and will become effective March 11th. The rule establishes general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate. The National Cattlemen's Beef Association says USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has created a final rule that includes many of the comments submitted by NCBA on behalf of cattle producers across the country. According to NCBA Chief Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Simmons - APHIS listened to the voices of livestock producers when drafting this rule - and the final product is one that will help reduce the number of animals involved in an investigation, reduce the time needed to respond and decrease the cost to producers.

Under the ADT rule - unless specifically exempted - livestock moved interstate must be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation. The use of brands, tattoos and brand registration are accepted as official identification when accepted by the shipping and receiving states or tribes. For cattle and bison moved directly to slaughter - backtags will be accepted as an alternative to official eartags.

Simmons says the announcement that a separate rulemaking process will take place for beef cattle under 18 months of age is most important to cattle producers. The final rule currently exempts beef cattle under 18 months of age from the official identification requirement unless they are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos or recreational events.

Simmons notes cattlemen and women are dedicated to raising healthy cattle. She says the implementation of the ADT rule further reinforces the commitment by the livestock industry and government to ensuring the U.S. continues to supply the nation and the world with safe, high quality beef. Simmons adds that NCBA encourages APHIS to continue working with industry leaders on this and all animal health issues.

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