The meat industry is up in arms over a federal decision to abandon a $120 million livestock-tracking system designed to limit the economic and human-health impact of animal-disease outbreaks.

Meatpackers worry that a narrower program proposed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack could exacerbate worries abroad about U.S. meat exports, while state officials are concerned the federal government is creating a new regulatory burden for which states have scant resources.

"It will be a headache," said Tony Frazier, state veterinarian of Alabama.

But federal officials say the six-year-old voluntary program being replaced never attracted enough participation from farmers and ranchers to be effective.

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