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Pork Producers Urge Speedup Of U.S. Animal ID Scheme

by 5m Editor
3 September 2003, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON, D.C.- The National Pork Producers Council last week urged USDA to accelerate implementation of a national animal identification system to ensure a rapid response to any foreign animal disease, reports Food Chemical News.

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A public-private development team led by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has promised to unveil such a scheme for review and comment by early next month. Discovery of a cow infected with BSE in Canada last May has put pressure on the team to speed up its timelines for implementation.

"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," NPPC President Jon Caspers said in a statement.

Noting that the pork industry has had mandatory identification requirements since 1988, Caspers warned, "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, who is a member of the team developing the draft plan, said the proposed system should be "accurate, effective and affordable for pork producers. We…are ready to work closely with [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. 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."

Source: National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) - 2nd September 2003

5m Editor