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BOAH OKs animal ID rule to boost stock traceability



Senior Editor, Farm World


INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — In an effort to comply with newer federal regulations, the Indiana Board of Animal Health (BOAH) passed one new and three emergency rules during its quarterly meeting July 10.

Drawing the most debate was a rule that matched federal requirements created by the USDA to increase traceability methods so livestock can be tracked during a disease outbreak. The biggest amendments are for cattle producers, especially those who own dairy and dairy cross breeds.

Official identification is required for all dairy females, including cross-bred cows, as well as all dairy breed bulls and steers – including crosses born after March 11, 2013. Acceptable forms of identification for cattle are changing. Indiana will recognize only three, including:

•840 tags, with or without RFID technology

•National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES), or Brite tags

•Official USDA program tags, such as orange calfhood vaccination tags

All of these must have a U.S. shield on the tag to be considered official. Old tags that do not have the shield are not acceptable.

Douglas F. Leman, executive director of the Indiana Dairy Producers, in a written statement submitted to BOAH said the state’s dairy producers generally support the board’s efforts and oversight; however, he said this rule isn’t applied equally.

"Our main concern with the proposed rule is the setting apart of dairy or dairy cross animals as the only bovine species needing permanent ID before 18 months of age," he reported. "It seems to us that if this is truly a traceability issue, all species should be treated the same. We do not believe more stringent regulations should be placed only on dairy animals."

Another change for Hoosier cattle producers is they will be required to keep records for at least five years on all purchases, sales, leases, barters and exchanges of cattle. These records must include the animals’ ID numbers, name and address of the seller, lessor or purchaser. These records must be made available to BOAH during a disease trace event to identify animal movements.

Some cattle producers with smaller herds believe the additional bookkeeping will be costly and difficult to maintain. Paul Elliott, who operates a small breeding herd, submitted written comments to BOAH and lamented, "I have concerns that this is written by folks that don’t actually do any farming, and by folks with little compassion or consideration for small farms."

Elliott wrote he will commonly keep cows for 12-15 years if they continue to produce. He said in about five years, the cattle will age together, mix and lose their tags.

"There will be no way I can definitively identify where those cows originate, and I don’t think I’m going to be alone," he wrote. "Realistically, I think the tags provide no more than a 25 percent chance that a cow could be traced back to its original farm."

Elliott admitted this may only be true for breeding stock. Yet, he said those with small herds could suffer. "If you have a small, 10- to 15-head herd, this will likely get them out of the business," he wrote. "That’s a concern for me."

Not all of the comments on the new rule were negative. Greg Slipher of Indiana Farm Bureau and Joshua Trenary of the Indiana Pork Advocacy Coalition (INPAC) backed the measure.

"After reviewing the details of the swine-related provisions of the proposed rule with several INPAC members, we have found no significant issues and are supportive of this rulemaking," Trenary said.

Ultimately, State Veterinarian Bret Marsh advised BOAH that Indiana is well prepared to adhere to the new federal requirements. And, the board approved the new rule unanimously. "Because Indiana adopted a premise ID program in 2006, our producers are in a great position to adapt to USDA’s new requirements," said BOAH Public Information Director Denise Derrer. "Many states, which have not implemented a premise ID program, are starting from scratch as that is the foundation for obtaining official tags."

BOAH also adopted three emergency rules. Each of these is in effect for 90 days and will be voted upon as a permanent measure during BOAH’s next meeting in October. These rules include:

•Dairy sanitation, conforming Indiana’s rules to the 2013 Grade A Pasteurized Milk Ordinance

•Regulation of the movement of fish susceptible to Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia into the state by aquaculture or for sport fishing

•Herd monitoring and management of swine enteric coronavirus diseases

For additional details on these rules and additional BOAH action, visit www