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NPPC supports enhanced National Animal Identification System

by 5m Editor
25 August 2003, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The recent diagnosis of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada has heightened awareness of potential animal health risks facing livestock producers.

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The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to accelerate the implementation of an enhanced national animal identification system to ensure all preventive measures are taken and a rapid response would be mounted in the event of an occurrence of a foreign animal disease.

"It is critical that a uniform national premises and animal identification system evolves and moves forward rapidly to protect swine health and the financial viability of the U.S. pork industry," said NPPC President Jon Caspers, a pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa. "The swine industry has had mandatory identification requirements since 1988. Not having a coordinated across-species mandatory identification system has the potential to devastate the U.S. swine herd and cause incalculable costs. An enhanced system is needed to maintain and strengthen the health and biosecurity of the U.S. livestock herd by providing timely and effective tracing in case of a disease event."

Caspers, a member of a national identification development team coordinated by USDA, said the system that is developed should be accurate, effective and affordable for pork producers. "We have met with Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and informed her that we are ready to work closely with USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to further develop and refine the systems currently in place to enhance animal disease monitoring, surveillance and control and eradication in the U.S.," he said. "Without an enhanced system in place, we remain vulnerable to disease and the threat of targeted bioterrorism aimed at harming U.S. livestock and reducing confidence in our food supply."

Helping to set the stage for the need of a traceability system, tomorrow Caspers will attend a Nebraska Governor's Summit on Agricultural Trade and Traceability to be held at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. At the meeting, Caspers will deliver the message to Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns and key U.S. government leaders about the importance of having a traceability system in place in the event of a foreign animal disease outbreak.

For more information, go to www.animalagriculture.org to review the workplan for the national animal identification system.

Source: National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) - 25th August 2003

5m Editor