Goodlatte & Hayes Pleased with USDA's Animal ID Plan

Aug 30, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Livestock and Horticulture Subcommittee Chairman Robin Hayes today praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) decision to pursue a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) based on a public/private partnership. Their comments came following Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns’ press conference updating USDA’s work toward a trace-back system for U.S. livestock.

Chairman Goodlatte, Subcommittee Chairman Hayes and other Members of the House Committee on Agriculture had written Secretary Johanns in July encouraging USDA to implement a private sector-based animal identification system. A copy of the letter follows this press release.

“I have advocated a private sector solution for our nation's animal identification challenge for some time now. Producers I talk to about animal ID, both in my District and across the nation, understand the value of implementing an ID system. At the same time, they worry about the costs and regulatory burdens of a government approach. By harnessing the innovation and efficiency of the private sector, we can achieve success quickly, inexpensively and without excessive government control,” said Goodlatte.

“USDA’s announcement is responsive to the concerns of the industry and Members of the Committee. The time for a national animal identification system is now, and during the hearings I have held, producers repeatedly say they want a value-added system with little government intrusion. I appreciate the Secretary acknowledging this point of view,” said Rep. Hayes.

According to USDA, there are four guiding principles for the NAIS:

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

“I applaud the Secretary for recognizing the value of including the livestock industry in its development. It is critical that we have real cooperation between the public and private sectors and I am pleased that the Secretary is moving in this direction,” said Goodlatte.