U.S.D.A. Plans to Drop Program to Trace Livestock
“Faced with stiff resistance from ranchers and farmers, the Obama administration has decided to scrap a national program intended to help authorities quickly identify and track livestock in the event of an animal disease outbreak.
In abandoning the program, called the National Animal Identification System, officials said they would start over in trying to devise a livestock tracing program that could win widespread support from the industry.
The agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, will announce the changes on Friday, according to officials at the Agriculture Department, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision had not yet been made public.
The officials said that it would be left to the states to devise many aspects of a new system, including requirements for identifying livestock.
New federal rules will be developed but the officials said they would apply only to animals being moved in interstate commerce, such as cattle raised in one state being transported to a slaughterhouse in another state.
It could take two years or more to create new federal rules, the officials said, and it was not clear how far the government would go to restrict the movement of livestock between states if the animals did not meet basic traceability standards.”
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