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Details on NAIS and Animal Traceability

by: Jill Richardson

Fri Feb 05, 2010 at 08:48:51 AM PST

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As I noted before, NAIS is toast. However, the USDA does plan to do SOMETHING in its place. A new PDF put out by the USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has more details about the future of animal traceability.

In short, there will be a new system but it will ONLY cover animals moving across state lines. NAIS would have covered ALL animals (even pets) even if they were born and died on the same farm. The new system will be "minimally intrusive" but it remains to be seen what that actually means. NAIS was extremely intrusive as all animal movements and life events (births, deaths, etc) had to be reported within a brief timeframe after it happened. Also, the new system will use "lower cost technology"... that part is vague, but it implies that microchipping will not be a mandatory part of this program.

The end result will be a meeting in March of this year, followed by a proposed rule this fall. We will be able to comment on the proposed rule when it is published in the federal register.

Below, I've included some of the Q&A's from the APHIS document.

Jill Richardson :: Details on NAIS and Animal Traceability
Q.  What exactly is the new animal disease traceability framework ?

A.  The benefit of Secretary Vilsack's decision to move forward with a new approach to animal disease traceability is that USDA will not be creating the framework alone. USDA will partner with States and Tribal Nations to create the framework for the new approach.  USDA also plans to re-establishing a Secretary's Advisory Committee on Animal Health with representatives from States, Tribal Nations, industry groups, local farms, organic farmers, and underserved communities to assist us in evaluating commodity-based animal disease traceability approaches, along with State-by-State and Tribe-by-Tribe animal disease traceability efforts.  This Committee will also advise USDA on other issues that need addressing, such as confidentiality and liability.

 A few other aspects are clear.  The intent of the new approach is to:

  • Achieve basic, effective animal disease traceability and response to animal disease outbreaks without overly burdening producers;
  • ONLY apply to animals moving in interstate commerce;
  • Be owned, led, and administered by the States and Tribal Nations with Federal support focused entirely on animal disease traceability;
  • Allow for maximum flexibility for States, Tribal Nations, and producers to work together to find identification solutions that meet their local needs;
  • Encourage the use of lower-cost technology;
  • Ensure that animal disease traceability data is owned and maintained at the discretion of the States and Tribal Nations;
  • Be less Federally intrusive and support producers' request to operate on principles of
    personal accountability; and
  • Help overcome some of the mistrust caused by NAIS.
[emphasis mine]

Q.   Is the new framework mandatory for all owners of animals?

A.  No.  USDA will not mandate a one-size-fi ts-all approach to animal disease traceability.  The system will not be mandatory in the sense that all producers are required to participate or that all States and Tribal Nations must implement one approach.  

What is certain is that animal disease traceability will be required for animals moving in interstate commerce. However, each State and Tribal Nation will be able to determine the specific approaches and solutions it wants to use to achieve the minimum animal disease traceability performance measures.  Animals not moved out of state, as well as small producers who raise animals to feed themselves, their families and their neighbors, are not a part of the framework's scope and focus. [emphasis mine]

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I hope this doesn't spell the end (4.00 / 3)
of mail-order chickens! Look how low-cost they are without this rule:

I hear ya there (4.00 / 3)
makes me glad we just ordered our new chicks this month from the Cackle Hatchery in Missouri (there the only place we can find California Whites).

Looks like it might be more important than ever for local poultry keepers to preserve the pure bred stock and important crosses like the Cali white and broiler crosses so that local growers will have stock they can buy.

Normal people scare me. But not as much as I scare them.....

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