WASHINGTON (Jan. 9, 2013) — With the publication of the final Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule in the Federal Register today, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) compliments the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on creating a final rule that includes many of the comments submitted by NCBA on behalf of cattle producers across the country.
“We are encouraged that many of the priorities of cattlemen and women have been included in this final rule,” said NCBA Chief Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Simmons. “USDA 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.”
The final ADT rule establishes general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate. The final rule follows a process in which NCBA and other livestock and agriculture stakeholders participated in a comment phase. Now that it has been published, the rule becomes effective Mar. 11, 2013.
Under the rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate must be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates. The final rule accepts the use of brands, tattoos and brand registration as official identification when accepted by the shipping and receiving states or tribes. Backtags will be accepted as an alternative to official ear-tags for cattle and bison moved directly to slaughter.
Most important to cattle producers, according to Simmons, is the announcement by USDA APHIS that a separate rulemaking process will take place for beef cattle under 18 months of age. Currently, the final rule allows beef cattle under 18 months of age, unless they are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos or recreational events, to be exempted from the official identification requirement.
“Cattlemen and women are dedicated to raising healthy cattle, and the implementation of the ADT rule further reinforces the commitment by the livestock industry and government to ensuring that the United States continues to supply our country and the world with safe, high quality beef,” said Simmons. “NCBA encourages USDA APHIS to continue working with industry leaders on this and all animal health issues.”