Navigating changes in animal identification and traceability

May 10, 2024


In the midst of ongoing discussions surrounding animal identification (EID) and traceability, Callahan Grund, Executive Director of U.S. CattleTrace, offers valuable insights to navigate the evolving landscape.

Grund begins by providing a historical perspective, tracing back to the USDA's implementation of a traceability rule in 2013. This rule primarily targeted sexually intact breeding beef cattle, dairy cattle, and those used for events. These animals were required to possess official identification and accompany a certificate of veterinary inspection (CVI) for interstate movement.

Over time, the forms of official identification have evolved, with the introduction of "840" EID tags alongside traditional metal Bangs tags. However, recent headlines have sparked confusion, particularly regarding amendments to existing regulations. Grund clarifies that the recent USDA announcement signifies a transition to visually and electronically readable IDs for covered cattle classes, rather than imposing new tagging requirements.

Further clarification comes from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2024, which allocated funds for electronic identification and related infrastructure. Grund explains that these funds aim to assist producers in transitioning to electronic tags, aligning with the USDA's amendment to enhance traceability measures.

Grund emphasizes the importance of understanding these changes amidst varying opinions and political debates. He underscores that the transition primarily involves updating the form of identification used for interstate cattle movement, rather than introducing entirely new mandates.

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