Cattlemen and ranchers have three national organizations vying for their loyalty and support, and they don’t always agree on policy.
That’s apparently going to be true for something as simple as whether the interstate movement of cattle should require the use of radio-frequency ear-tags for traceability purposes. Commonly referred to as RFID, electronic ear-tags are used in Europe to track animals from birth to market and even on to the meat counters of retail outlets.
In comments filed last week that expressed some concerns, but overall support for going to an RFID system, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association said “knowing where diseased and at-risk exposed animals are, as well as where they have been and when, is indispensable to emergency response and ongoing disease control and eradication programs.”
In comments filed ahead of the deadline, the USCA expressed support for RFID with these provisos:
- There should be no private control of data, or access to the data, without the prior approval of the owner at the time of application.
- 840 series EID tags should be only used as official EID on the U.S. born and raised cattle because 900 series tags are not unique in their official identification.
- All official USDA tag information should be held in state animal health databases and shared with federal animal health officials as needed.
- The use of USDA metal NEUS tags and electronic tags should continue. The industry requires more time to adapt and transfer to an all-electronic system; time will determine whether multiple systems can