Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Scientific Communities
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

E. coli Thrive in Patients With Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Researchers have defined a fundamental mechanism through which the bacteria can thrive during IBD flare-ups.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Research On Mitochondrial DNA Could Bolster Forensic Investigations
A new grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will help scientists from Penn State’s Eberly College of Science delve deep into the world of mitochondrial DNA, or mtDNA, used to help solve crime in forensic investigations.
Monday, January 26, 2015
New Grant Tests NGS Tools For Crime Laboratories
National Institute of Justice grant of over $800,000 will test DNA investigative tools utilizing NGS technology.
Friday, January 09, 2015
Altered Milk Protein Can Deliver AIDS Drug to Infants
Binding with an antiretroviral drug promises to greatly improve treatment for infants and young children suffering from HIV/AIDS.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Protein Changes Linked to Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease
Neuroscientists have made a research discovery that helps point the way to potential therapies for memory-related disorders.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
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
Researchers Discover Protein Changes that Control Whether a Gene Functions
A Penn State-led research team has found that changes to proteins called histones, which are associated with DNA, can control whether or not a gene is allowed to function.
Wednesday, August 07, 2013
Ultraviolet Flashes can Create Vitamin D-Enriched Mushrooms
Quick zaps of ultraviolet light can boost the vitamin D levels in mushrooms in seconds, turning the fungi into an even healthier food, according to Penn State food scientists.
Tuesday, August 06, 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
Study Suggests Dairy Herd Water Quality Linked to Milk Production
A recently completed study of water supplies on Pennsylvania dairy farms found that about a quarter of those tested had at least one water-quality issue.
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Environmental Law Institute Recognizes Penn State Wetlands Scientist
Robert P. Brooks, a wetlands scientist at Penn State, has received the 2013 National Wetlands Award for Science Research.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Probing Question: Do Women Dominate the Field of Forensic Science?
Women going against the stereotype in the booming field of forensic science.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
Computer Simulations Reveal the Energy Landscape of Ion Channels
A team of researchers have investigated the opening and closing mechanisms of these channels: for the first time the full energy landscape of such a large protein could be calculated.
Wednesday, May 08, 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
Scientific News
13 Ways to Stop an Unseen Force from Disrupting Weighing
Download a free Mettler Toledo paper to discover how to halt static’s negative effects before the next weigh-in.
Flinders Ig Nobel Winner Cracks Global Anaesthetic
One of the world’s most in-demand anaesthetics can now be produced on the spot, thanks to the thermos-flask sized device that recently won Flinders University inventor Professor Colin Raston an Ig Nobel prize.
Resurrected Proteins Double Their Natural Activity
Researchers demonstrate method for reviving denatured proteins.
Genes That Protect African Children From Developing Malaria Identified
Variations in DNA at a specific location on the genome that protect African children from developing severe malaria, in some cases nearly halving a child’s chance of developing the life-threatening disease, have been identified in the largest genetic association study of malaria to date.
Messing With The Monsoon
Manmade aerosols can alter rainfall in the world’s most populous region.
Potential Target for Treatment of Autism
Grant of $2.4 million will support further research.
Scientists Decode Structure at Root of Muscular Disease
Researchers at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have unlocked the structural details of a protein seen as key to treating a neuromuscular disease.
Sniffing Out Cancer
Scientists have been exploring new ways to “smell” signs of cancer by analyzing what’s in patients’ breath.
New Test Detects All Viruses
A new test detects virtually any virus that infects people and animals, according to research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where the technology was developed.
Inroads Against Leukemia
Potential for halting disease in molecule isolated from sea sponges.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
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