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December 19, 2007   Email to Friend 

USDA TAKES ANOTHER STEP TOWARDS ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY
Wayne Maloney
(301) 734-7255
December 19, 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture today released its draft of a Business Plan for Advancing Animal Disease Traceability. The business plan supports the 48-hour traceback long-term goal of the National Animal Identification System as well as provides benchmarks to guide the program as it moves towards optimum traceability.

Animal diseases like tuberculosis, brucellosis or low pathogenic avian influenza are common threats to U.S. livestock and a reality for many producers. While disease events in this country often have been limited in scope, the threat of a catastrophic animal disease outbreak is real. Because these events are unpredictable, it is in the best interest of producers, the industry and the government to be prepared.

"By creating a nationally integrated, modern animal disease response system, like the National Animal Identification System, animal health officials quickly can obtain all of the information they need to locate as well as trace the movement of diseased and exposed animals, which will significantly minimize the spread of the disease," said Bruce Knight, under secretary for USDA's marketing and regulatory programs mission area. "The draft business plan is part of our effort to remain accountable and transparent in the implementation of this system."

In order to improve traceability, USDA applied a business plan model in an effort to:

-- Identify areas of weakness and opportunity

-- Establish benchmarks against which to measure success

-- Communicate a vision for the future of traceability

The draft plan provides a comprehensive look at the country's current traceability status, including a breakdown by species. It details seven strategies that will provide the greatest amount of traceability progress in a short amount of time.

These strategies involve state and federally regulated and voluntary animal health programs, industry-administered animal management and marketing programs, as well as various animal identification techniques. It also will allow these varied components to work in harmony. Drawing from already existing systems and data, reduces the cost, amount of time and effort needed to implement a national animal identification system.

USDA will periodically review and update the plan to leverage new opportunities, address unforeseen challenges and maintain forward movement towards the ultimate goal of 48-hour traceback.

USDA also released the official version of the National Animal Identification System User Guide, which replaces the November 2006 draft version. During the past year, USDA has reviewed and incorporated public comments into the official version, making the document easier for readers to understand and use.

The User Guide, upon which the Business Plan builds, provides producers with the information they need to know about how the National Animal Identification System works, how they can put the system to use and why participation would benefit them and their animals. The User Guide contains the most up-to-date information on the National Animal Identification System, as well as how to participate in all three aspects of the program, including premises registration, animal identification and animal tracing.

The draft plan was published in the Dec. 19 Federal Register and is available on the National Animal Identification System Web site at www.usda.gov/nais.

Comments on the plan or other aspects of the system can be provided by sending an email to animalidcomments@aphis.usda.gov or by writing to the National Animal Identification System program staff, USDA, APHIS, VS, 4700 River Road, Unit 200, Riverdale, MD 20737.

The National Animal Identification System is a modern, streamlined information system that helps producers and animal health officials respond quickly and effectively to events affecting animal health in the United States.

NAIS utilizes premises registration, animal identification and animal tracing components to both locate potentially diseased animals and eliminate animals from disease suspicion. It is a state-federal-industry partnership, which is voluntary at the federal level.

For more information on NAIS, go to www.usda.gov/nais.


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