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USDA/APHIS RIN: 0579-AD24 Publication ID: Fall 2010 
Title: ●Animal Disease Traceability 
Abstract: This rulemaking would establish a new part in the Code of Federal Regulations containing general identification and documentation requirements for livestock moving interstate. The purpose of the new regulations is to improve our ability to trace livestock in the event that disease is found. The regulations will provide national traceability standards for livestock moved interstate and allow each State and tribe the flexibility to develop ways of meeting the standards that will work best for them. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: First time published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 9 CFR 90   
Legal Authority: 7 USC 8305   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need: Preventing and controlling animal disease is the cornerstone of protecting American animal agriculture. While ranchers and farmers work hard to protect their animals and their livelihoods, there is never a guarantee that their animals will be spared from disease. To support their efforts, USDA has enacted regulations to prevent, control, and eradicate disease, and to increase foreign and domestic confidence in the safety of animals and animal products. Traceability helps give that reassurance. Traceability does not prevent disease, but knowing where diseased and at-risk animals are, where they have been, and when, is indispensable in emergency response and in ongoing disease programs. The primary objectives of these proposed regulations are to improve our ability to trace livestock in the event that disease is found and to provide national standards to ensure the smooth flow of livestock in interstate commerce, while also allowing States and tribes the flexibility to develop systems for tracing animals within their State and tribal lands that work best for them.

Summary of the Legal Basis: Under the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8301 et seq.), the Secretary of Agriculture may prohibit or restrict the interstate movement of any animal to prevent the introduction or dissemination of any pest or disease of livestock, and may carry out operations and measures to detect, control, or eradicate any pest or disease of livestock. The Secretary may promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the Act.

Alternatives: As part of its ongoing efforts to safeguard animal health, APHIS initiated implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in 2004. More recently, the Agency launched an effort to assess the level of acceptance of NAIS through meetings with the Secretary, listening sessions in 14 cities, and public comments. Although there was some support for NAIS, the vast majority of participants were highly critical of the program and of USDA's implementation efforts. The feedback revealed that NAIS has become a barrier to achieving meaningful animal disease traceability in the United States in partnership with America’s producers. The option we are proposing pertains strictly to interstate movement and gives States and tribes the flexibility to identify and implement the traceability approaches that work best for them.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: A workable and effective animal traceability system would enhance animal health programs, leading to more secure market access and other societal gains. Traceability can reduce the cost of disease outbreaks, minimizing losses to producers and industries by enabling current and previous locations of potentially exposed animals to be readily identified. Trade benefits can include increased competitiveness in global markets generally, and when outbreaks do occur, the mitigation of export market losses through regionalization. Markets benefit through more efficient and timely epidemiological investigation of animal health issues. Other societal benefits include improved animal welfare during natural disasters. Costs of an animal traceability system would include those for tags and tagging and would vary, depending on the method of identification chosen (e.g., metal tags vs. microchip implants). Costs are expected to vary by both type of operation and whether traceability would be by individual animal or by lot or group. Per head costs of traceability programs for the principal farm animals are estimated to be highest for cattle operations, followed by sheep, swine, and poultry operations. Larger operations would likely reap economies of scale, that is, incur lower costs per head than smaller operations. However, there will be exemptions for small producers who raise animals to feed themselves, their families, and their immediate neighbors. In addition, only operations moving livestock interstate would be required to comply with the regulations.

Risks: This rulemaking is being undertaken to address the animal health risks posed by gaps in the existing regulations concerning identification of livestock being moved interstate. The current lack of a comprehensive animal traceability program is impairing our ability to trace animals that may be affected with disease.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  04/00/2011    
NPRM Comment Period End  06/00/2011    
Additional Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: Undetermined  Government Levels Affected: State, Tribal 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Neil Hammerschmidt
Program Manager, Animal Disease Traceability, VS
Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
4700 River Road, Unit 46,
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
Phone:301 851-3539

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