Extension Ag Update
September/October 2004
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Animal ID: Where Are We?

Dr. Gavin Meerdink, Beef and Feed Safety Extension Veterinarian, University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

Industry representatives met last week to discuss the first phase of NAIS, premises identification. NAIS, or National Animal Identification System, is the implementation phase of the U.S. Animal Identification Plan. Although there are no firm deadlines, a priority is to have a premises ID system in place by August of this year. Although allocated by USDA, each state has the responsibility for the premise identification system. A premise definition is complicated by the variety of livestock production systems and will likely undergo refinement during the sign-up process.

Currently, plans are being developed for cattle, bison, swine, sheep, goats, equine, cervids, and camelids (llamas and alpacas). Systems include individual ID as well as group or lot ID. Initially, NAIS will be voluntary. Once identification is a required component of animal production, anyone will be able to access the information under the Freedom of Information Act. Also, the initial emphasis will be focused on animals that enter commerce, i.e., undergo a change of ownership. Eventually, animal ID primarily will be the responsibility of the “premise of birth” animal owner.

At this point, NAIS is not fully developed and there are no requirements for animal owners. The primary information source for the most recent developments can be found on the interactive Web site, http://www.usaip.info.