Agriculture Under Secretary Edward Avalos told a House Ag Subcommittee last month that a new flexible framework for animal disease traceability will be proposed in the spring of 2011. He says he's confident the decentralized system will prove more successful than the old National Animal Identification System.
"The new approach that we've taken partners us with the states and tribes; this is very, very important because it's no longer a top-down request, a mandate from the government," Avalos said. "This is a request where we reach out to our states and reach out to our tribal nations. We are going to develop standards that the whole country has to meet, but we're going to allow the states and tribes to meet those standards in a way that works best for them."
Avalos emphasized that the back-to-basics approach will employ animal identification methods used for years in USDA disease programs. He says he feels confident that once those standards are established there will be buy in from the industry.
Only 5% of the U.S. cattle herd was identifiable via federally-approved visual or radio frequency tags and few intermediate markets and slaughterhouses were enrolled in NAIS when USDA decided earlier this year to scrap it.