Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Cattle Expert: New Livestock Identification Regulations Not Burdensome

Published: Monday, April 29, 2013
Last Updated: Monday, April 29, 2013
Bookmark and Share
The new livestock identification program recently launched by the federal government should not place a significant burden on producers in Pennsylvania or the East.

The regulations will help agriculture officials track livestock in cases of disease outbreaks, allowing epidemiological investigators to quickly learn from which farm a suspect animal originated, according to John Comerford, associate professor of animal science, who coordinates Penn State's beef program.

"The new system's main goal is to track animals' movements so agriculture and health officials can quickly establish quarantines and take other steps to prevent the spread of disease," Comerford said.

The rules, which went into effect March 11, require dairy cows and sexually intact beef cattle over 18 months of age to be registered when they are shipped across state lines and outline acceptable forms of identification. In most cases, farmers and ranchers are likely to use ear tags that assign a number to each animal.

However in some cases, tattoos and old-fashioned brand marks are acceptable forms of animal identification. The new program gives states flexibility in deciding how animals will be identified -- an important concession to cattle ranchers in Western states, where brands are still commonly used, Comerford said.

In many cases, livestock producers already have been affixing identification to their animals, Comerford noted, to keep track of medical treatments such as tuberculosis vaccinations, medications and feed requirements. "All purebred producers, for example, are using tattoos," he said. "And some will also have the metal TB tags in place."

Comerford pointed out that animal identification has been required in Europe for many years, and producers there readily accept the concept.

"This is not a very rigorous program, but it is a step in the right direction for animal identification and tracking in the case of an outbreak of disease," Comerford said of the new regulations.

"For most producers it is not going to be any kind of burdensome operation. The younger animals, feeder cattle that are being transported, are not part of this process. It is basically mature animals that will be transported across state lines, animals that are going to shows and exhibitions, that sort of thing -- and most of the time they are already identified.

"So I don't think producers should see this is a huge burden. But they should see the power that it provides in terms of allowing animals to be tracked back in the case of a disease outbreak."

The federal government has been trying for nearly a decade to establish an animal identification system, Comerford explained. It introduced a voluntary program in 2006 but scrapped it several years later amid widespread complaints from farmers about the expense and red tape.

Some also worried about possible privacy violations with the collection of information about their properties. The program ultimately failed because relatively few participated.

"The resistance that has occurred at the national level to animal identification came from the more extensive livestock operations in the West and High Plains, where it becomes very problematic for people to undertake animal identification," he said. "But it is now mandatory and they will have to comply."

While the new federal program covers a range of livestock, much of the focus has been on cattle. That's partly because aggressive programs to fight diseases in other species, such as sheep scabies, have already resulted in widespread identification of those animals, explained Comerford.

"Tracking cows has been less of a concern over the past decade because earlier programs targeting diseases that affect them have been successful," he said. "Still, tracebacks occasionally have to be done, and animal identification will make those investigations faster and easier."

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

Using Information Technology to Tackle the Root of World Hungar
Scientists are studying what the rest of us don't see--the work going on underneath the ground that enables the growth of healthier crops.
Monday, August 12, 2013
Penn State Researchers Part of Award-Winning Africa Research Team
College of Agricultural Sciences scientists are part of a research team that recently won 2013 Africa Collaboration Challenge Prize.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Number of Foodborne Illness Cases Largely Unchanged in U.S.
Recently released reports about the frequency of foodborne illness show that the risks have not changed much in recent years, according to an expert in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.
Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Changing Cellulose-Forming Process May Tap Plants' Biofuel Potential
Changing the way a plant forms cellulose may lead to more efficient, less expensive biofuel production, according to Penn State engineers.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Latest Food Scare Avoided with Proper Handling and Cooking
Seems like every month there is a new food scare that makes the national news. Most recently, it was antibiotic-resistant bacterial pathogens found in pork.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Scientific News
Ancestors of Land Plants Were Wired to Make the Leap to Shore
When the algal ancestor of modern land plants made the transition from aquatic environments to an inhospitable shore 450 million years ago, it changed the world by dramatically altering climate and setting the stage for the vast array of terrestrial life.
Photosynthesis Gene Could Help Crops Grow in Adverse Conditions
A gene that helps plants to remain healthy during times of stress has been identified by researchers at Oxford University.
Pancreatic Cancer Stem Cells Could be "Suffocated" by Anti-diabetic Drug
A new study shows that pancreatic cancer stem cells (PancSCs) are virtually addicted to oxygen-based metabolism, and could be “suffocated” with a drug already used to treat diabetes.
Scientists Learn How to Predict Plant Size
VIB and UGent scientists have developed a new method which allows them to predict the final size of a plant while it is still a seedling.
Scientists Home In On Origin Of Human, Chimpanzee Facial Differences
A study of species-specific regulation of gene expression in chimps and humans has identified regions important in human facial development and variation.
Nanoporous Gold Sponge Makes Pathogen Detector
Sponge-like nanoporous gold could be key to new devices to detect disease-causing agents in humans and plants, according to UC Davis researchers.
Genetic Manipulation for Algal Biofuel Production
Studies of the genes involved in oil synthesis in microalgae allow scientists to use a gene promoter to increase algal production of triacylglycerols, which in turn enhances potential biofuel yields.
Phosphorous Fertilizer
UD researchers identify behaviors of nanoparticle that shows promise as nanofertilizer.
Marijuana Genome Unraveled
A study by Canadian researchers is providing a clearer picture of the evolutionary history and genetic organization of cannabis, a step that could have agricultural, medical and legal implications for this valuable crop.
Grape Waste Could Make Competitive Biofuel
The solid waste left over from wine-making could make a competitive biofuel, University of Adelaide researchers have found.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos