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Agriculture Today

Animal ID programs begin for Texas cattlemen

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Wilson County News
January 9, 2013 | 4,219 views | Post a comment

For cattlemen, it is a case of déjà vu with the proposed Animal Disease
Traceability Framework, containing the remnants of the former National Animal Identification System, not on one but two levels -- federal and state.

Cattlemen received the news in late December that the federal animal
disease traceability identification program will go into effect Feb. 26, or 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Several changes were made after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the proposed rules in August 2011. This includes the acceptance of brands, tattoos, and brand registration, and the use of backtags as official identification for animals going directly to slaughter.

Groups challenged the costs associated with the program, citing concerns that the federal program that goes into effect for animals 18 months of age for interstate movement might crush small producers financially. The groups are reviewing the updated regulations for further comment. For more information regarding the federal rules, see Dec. 26, “National animal ID traceability regulations news,” or visit www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability.

State program

Before the federal regulations go into effect, the Texas animal traceability program got a head start, since the state program began Jan. 1. Since June 2012, cattlemen had received updates about how to obtain the tags needed to comply with the regulations. As soon as
the proposed rules were released in mid-2012, the Independent Cattlemen’s
Association of Texas (ICA) approved a resolution against the requirement that all
cattle going to slaughter must be tagged. The ICA supports the use of backtags for
these animals, using language similar to the federal rules.

After months of preparation, cattlemen across the state are acquiring the free tags they need to comply from the Texas Animal Health Commission or by contacting local marketing facilities or auctions about the fees for tagging animals to be in compliance. (See “Get tags, info” for more.)


Some reasons for the animal disease traceability program are tracking animal disease, such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), and trade issues associated with cases confirmed within the United States. The programs will allow state/federal health officials to trace animals to source, from where they were raised to point of sale and more.

In 2012, California health officials confirmed the fourth BSE case in the United States since 2003; the last recorded case before 2012 was confirmed in 2006.

Other diseases reported during 2012 in Texas:

•Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis or “pigeon fever” in horses quadrupled in
 2011 with more than 350 positive cultures reported.

•From January through May 2012, 220 of 14,718 bovine samples tested positive for trichomoniasis or “trich.”

•The first case of chronic wasting disease in Texas deer was
discovered this past year in mule deer in western Texas.

•Equine Piroplasmosis, or EP, was detected in 10 adult horses smuggled into
 West Texas.

Get tags, info

For more information regarding the state program, contact:

•Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) Traceability Team at 1-800-550-8242, ext. 733

•TAHC Region 5 for ranchers in Wilson, Bexar, Karnes, and Atascosa counties, 361-358-3234

•TAHC Region 7 for ranchers in Guadalupe and Gonzales counties

•Visit bit.ly/VkcAEO.

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