USDA has announced a final rule establishing general regulations for improving the traceability of U.S. livestock moving interstate. The rule calls for livestock moved interstate, unless specifically exempted, to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation, such as owner-shipper statements or brand certificates.
The final rule has several differences from the proposed rule issued in August 2011. These include:
- Accepting the use of brands, tattoos and brand registration as official identification when accepted by the shipping and receiving States or Tribes;
- Permanently maintaining the use of backtags as an alternative to official eartags for cattle and bison moved directly to slaughter;
- Accepting movement documentation other than an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection for all ages and classes of cattle when accepted by the shipping and receiving States or Tribes;
- Clarifying that all livestock moved interstate to a custom slaughter facility are exempt from the regulations; and
- Exempting chicks moved interstate from a hatchery from the official identification requirements
Beef cattle under 18 months of age, unless they are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos, or recreational events, are exempt from the official identification requirement in this rule. These specific traceability requirements for that group will be addressed in a separate rule.