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For Immediate Release

November 15, 2011
Steve Merritt
Public Information Officer
Montana Department of Livestock

USDA Extends Public Comment on Traceability Rule

USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has extended public comment on a proposed rule to enhance disease traceability in  livestock, and Montana state veterinarian Marty Zaluski is encouraging producers to familiarize themselves with the details.

“We want to make sure Montana’s livestock producers know about the proposal and get an opportunity to comment,” Zaluski said.

The proposal, currently in draft form, is expected to become law when published in 2012. The rule as proposed would:

  • Require livestock moved interstate to be officially identified and accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates;
  • Apply to all sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or older, all dairy cattle, and all cattle or bison of any age used for rodeos, recreational events and shows or exhibitions;
  • Specify approved forms of identification for each species;
  • Allow brands and tattoos as accepted forms of identification when agreed upon by animal health officials in the states/tribes involved in the movement.

The proposed rule, Zaluski added, is “significantly different and far less sweeping” than the plan outlined by the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), APHIS’s first effort at coming up with a traceability rule.

“Those who were opposed to NAIS should find the new proposal more palatable, as it gives more flexibility and discretion to states and tribes,” Zaluski said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all plan.”

Public comment on the proposed rule has been extended to December 9, 2011.

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