Cattle Raisers pass animal disease traceability policy

The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA), the state's largest and oldest livestock association, passed policy regarding the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) new animal disease traceability plan. The policy was passed Friday at the association's summer meeting.

On Feb. 5, USDA announced a new framework for animal disease traceability in the U.S. USDA will publish the rule which will open it for comment in December. The new framework replaces the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) that was strongly opposed by numerous livestock industries and associations, including TSCRA.

TSCRA supports an animal disease traceability program that adheres to the following criteria:

1. Additional costs to the beef and dairy industry must be minimized.

2. Any information relative to cattle identification information should be under the control of state animal health officials and kept confidential.

3. The system must operate at the speed of commerce.

4. The priority livestock for participation in the framework is the individual identification of adult cattle.

5. Producers must be protected from liability for acts of others after cattle have left their control.

6. The purpose of the animal disease traceability system should be solely animal disease surveillance, control and eradication. The only data required to be collected should be that necessary to accomplish this goal.

7. Support the flexibility of using currently established and evolving official identification methods.

8. Full compliance with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and Codex Alimentarius Commission international standards for animal identification and traceability.

9. The animal data management system does not replace or impede existing TSCRA brand inspection activities.

TSCRA passed additional policy supporting good surface water quality standards based on sound science, landowner input, an emphasis on voluntary management practices, water quality protection and sustainable economic development.

Policy was also passed that supports removing the 150 mile restriction on livestock and farm operators from federal and state motor vehicle laws. Under current law, livestock or farm operators who operate their equipment, not for hire and without a commercial driver's license, for the transport of livestock or farm products cannot exceed 150 miles.

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