What is the goal of NAIS?

Recent animal health emergencies here and in other countries demonstrate that rapid animal and premises ID is a vital component of effective disease control and prevention. In the event of a foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreak in the U.S., NAIS will allow animal health officials to trace exposed animals within 48 hours and reduce the chances of a full-scale disease outbreak.

What are NAIS' guiding principles?

  • The system must be able to allow tracking of animals from point of origin to processing within 48 hours without unnecessary burden to producers and other stakeholders.

  • The system's architecture must be developed without unduly increasing the size and role of government.

  • The system must be flexible enough to utilize existing technologies and incorporate new technologies as they are developed.

  • Animal movement data should be maintained in a private system that can readily be accessed when necessary by state and federal animal health authorities.

What are the NAIS potential benefits?

In addition to the obvious benefits of minimizing FAD outbreaks, NAIS can create value-added opportunities for producers who go beyond the requirements of NAIS, which ends at an animal's death. Producers can further utilize individual ID by voluntarily tracking individual animal performance or to verify specific production claims, thus providing access to new markets and price premiums.

What is the NAIS timeline?

A graphic depiction of the NAIS timeline is on page 42 of this issue. It calls for all U.S. livestock premises to be identified with an official premises ID number, and all animals leaving their birthplaces to be individually identified, by January 2008. Reporting of all commercial movement of livestock is mandated by January 2009.

When can I get a premises ID number for my ranch?

Each state is responsible for registering premises and assigning them nationally unique Premises Identification Numbers (PIN). Contact your state's department of agriculture or your state veterinarian for more information. Find a list of contacts at http://www.usda.gov/nais under the “Contact Your State or Tribe” box.

Who will be responsible for reporting animal movement?

The conclusions of the species working groups, which are helping draft NAIS program standards for the various species, are being reviewed by USDA. The cattle working group recommended that the reporting of animal movements be the responsibility of the receiving premises (or the person responsible for the animals at the receiving premises).

However, the person holding the animal would be responsible for ensuring it is properly identified before one of the following events occur: change of ownership, interstate movement, or commingling with animals from other premises.

Why aren't visual ID methods, such as hot-iron brands, sufficient?

Purely visual methods don't ID animals as unique individuals that correlate back to a single herd, or indicate herd of origin. Brands also don't meet international requirements as a valid form of ID, and don't facilitate the recall or collection of info in an accurate and timely manner.

What is the recommended placement of the official ID tag and why?

The cattle working group recommends the tag be placed in the left ear, and suggests each tag company provide directions on proper tag placement and application in order to maximize retention. Attaching the official ID consistently in the left ear will help create more awareness that it is the official tag and shouldn't be removed.

Summarize how the PIN, the AIN and the reporting procedure — once NAIS is fully operational — will work together.

Each location where cattle are held or managed will have a premises identification number (PIN); and each animal will have an animal identification number (AIN). Once NAIS is fully operational, a cattle owner/operator will report the AINs of all animals that arrive at his or her premises and the date of their arrival.

The four pieces of information required to document an animal movement event are:

  • The AIN,

  • The PIN of the location where the event takes place,

  • The date of the event, and

  • The event type (movement in, movement out, sighting of an animal at a location, termination of the animal, etc.).

Where can I learn more about ID?

Contact your state animal-health authority or visit the NAIS Web site at: http://animalid.aphis.usda.gov/nais/index.shtml.

For more on ID, visit www.idcattle.com, a new cattle ID resource site from BEEF magazine.