The House Agriculture Livestock Subcommittee held a hearing this week to review animal ID systems. Collin Peterson (D-MN), House Ag Committee chairman, said, “After five years of throwing over $100 million at a voluntary system, we are still in pretty much the same place. Even worse, many of the crucial aspects of the program show little promise of ever being substantially implemented.

“Agency staff has told us that the program as currently structured would never be effective in providing the country with a reliable trace-back system. The stakeholders out there need to get together and resolve their differences, a mandatory animal ID system is crucial in order to avoid the economic consequences of a major animal disease outbreak."

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) testified in favor of a voluntary program stating concerns about confidentiality with a mandatory system.

Meanwhile, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) testified in favor of mandatory animal ID. NPPC said mandatory ID would:

  • Provide U.S. pork producers and federal and state animal health officials with improved tools to manage swine herd health through disease surveillance, control and eradication programs;
  • Enable U.S. pork producers to maintain and promote access to international markets, which are critical to the continued viability of the pork industry; and
  • Strengthen the security of the nation’s livestock industry, especially in the event of an intentional introduction of a pathogen or toxin that could affect animal health.