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Pork Checkoff Encourages Comments on Identification Plan

by 5m Editor
20 January 2004, at 12:00am

US - The National Animal Identification Development team continues to seek input from pork producers and their allied partners on the draft of an animal identification plan for U.S. agriculture.

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The recent discovery of a cow with BSE in Washington state demonstrates the importance of a rapid animal disease response system. The Pork Checkoff has been committed to representing the needs of pork producers, such as the development of the U.S. Animal Identification Plan (USAIP). The USAIP focuses on enhancing the nation's capability to locate and trace individual animals and/or groups of animals within 48 hours should an animal health emergency arise.

"The issue of animal identification is something all pork producers and allied partners need to understand," said Dr. Mark Engle, Pork Checkoff's director of swine health, who serves on the National ID Steering Committee. "Although pork producers were critical to the development of the USAIP, we are soliciting further input," said Engle , who encourages producers to go to www.usaip.info to review the document. "Hopefully, producers will review the swine sections in the USAIP and express any concerns. We want to implement something practical and effective."

The plan proposes an initial implementation of premises identification. This provides for each location housing pigs to have a unique number within a standardized system. The pork industry already uses group/lot ID and individual ID. However, these current identification systems can be enhanced by establishing a standardized national premises identification system. A national identification system would provide for the opportunity to more effectively address foreign and domestic animal health threats.

"We have had mandatory identification regulations for swine in interstate commerce since 1988," said Engle. "Therefore, we are simply looking at means to enhance an already effective system. We clearly understand the areas that need improvement and will work to finalize a plan that is not only efficient and effective, but also producer friendly."

The USAIP has involved more than 100 animal industry and state/federal government professionals from more than 70 allied associations/organizations, including the National Institute of Animal Agriculture and USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The plan's core purpose is using animal identification to improve protection of animal agriculture by safeguarding animal health, ultimately promoting human health; providing wholesome, reliable, secure food resources; mitigating national economic threats and enhancing a sustainable environment.

"Pork producers have long been dedicated to the health and well-being of their animals," said Engle. "This plan is becoming a reality and will promote an even higher level of confidence for safeguarding animal health and food security."

Source: National Pork Board - 19th January 2004

5m Editor