USDA unveiled its guiding principles last month for the development of a public/private partnership that “enables the private sector to maintain animal movement data as part of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).” The four guiding principles are:
The system must be able to track 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 ID technologies as they develop.
Animal movement data should be maintained in a private system that can be readily accessed when necessary by state and federal animal health authorities.
USDA plans a stakeholder meeting to discuss expectations for the tracking system, user requirements and system specs. For more on NAIS, visit www.usda.gov/nais.
The private data system eliminates one concern regarding a publicly held database — confidentiality of producer information. Records in a publicly held database theoretically would be open to access under the Freedom of Information Act.