ALABAMA BEEF LEADERS SUPPORT IDENTIFICATION PLAN
MONTGOMERY, Ala. Consumers and producers will benefit from a plan to implement a National Animal Identification System (NAIS), according to leaders in Alabama's beef industry.
The Alabama Farmers Federation State Beef Committee today issued a statement supporting USDA's plan, which would allow state and federal animal health officials to better manage disease surveillance and control programs. If implemented, the NAIS would utilize electronic identification methods to track and identify all animals and premises that have had contact with an animal disease of concern within 48 hours of an initial diagnosis.
"The Alabama Farmers Federation fully supports the NAIS strategic plan set forth by the USDA as the sole standardized disease surveillance and tracking system to be used by state and federal animal health officials. Furthermore, the Alabama Farmers Federation also supports the efforts of the private sector of the beef industry to utilize these standardized tracking devises to further enhance beef production practices," the statement said.
Federation Beef Director Perry Mobley said the plan would protect consumers and producers because it would allow USDA to quickly track exposed animals in the event of an agri-terrorism attack or disease outbreak.
"America has the safest food supply in the world. This plan strengthens our country's resolve to maintain and improve our food safety and animal health standards," Mobley said. "We believe state and federal animal health officials are best equipped to implement this plan."
Currently, livestock producers can voluntarily register their premises under the NAIS. If the USDA's plan is adopted, premises registration would become mandatory in 2008, and individual animal identification would become mandatory a year later.
The USDA's NAIS plan is expected to be published in the Federal Register this week. Consumers and producers will have 30 days to offer comments.