September 13, 2006
Ranchers will get the latest information at a September 23 UC Cooperative Extension workshop on the new National Animal Identification System (NAIS) that is being developed to trace disease outbreaks in animals.
Currently, all meat is tracked for food safety purposes, but the devastating 2001 outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom and the threat of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (Mad Cow disease) have underscored the need to have a system in place to track animal health. While U.S. officials have been working to develop such a system, some ranchers have become concerned that it could present challenges for them.
"There is a fear that there will be too much intrusion into their lives," said Roger Ingram, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor in Placer and Nevada counties, noting that ranchers also have concerns about liability and confidentiality. "We're doing an update for our ranchers so they can see where current efforts are and see the technology demonstrated."
At the meeting, UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Extension veterinarian John Maas will provide an overview of the NAIS and tracking systems used in other countries.
"The new system standardizes premise identification nationally." Maas said. "Premise ID has been in place in California for 200 years because of our brand laws. However, brands can vary from state to state and, in Texas, they vary county to county. Currently with brands alone you can have, for example, a C-bar brand in California and a C-bar brand in Idaho and a C-bar brand in Texas. The new system will assign unique premise numbers."
When fully operational, the new system will be capable of tracing a sick animal or group of animals back to the herd or premises where the infection most likely took place. It will also be able to trace all the potentially exposed animals that were moved out of that herd or premise. All domesticated animals will eventually be part of the system, including cattle, swine, sheep, goats, horses, poultry, bison, deer, fish, elk, llamas and alpacas.
Other speakers at the event will be Dan Meyer, beef operations manager at the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center; Brian Rainey of Allflex, Inc.; Sam Maddelena of AgInfo Solutions; and John Evans of the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
The program will be from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center, 8279 Scott Forbes Road, in Browns Valley. The program is free of charge and includes lunch. To RSVP, call (530) 889-7385.
For more information about the workshop, contact Roger Ingram at (530) 889-7385.
More information from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
Jeannette Warnert, (559) 241-7514, firstname.lastname@example.org