DC, May 6, 2005 (ENS): Agriculture Secretary
Mike Johanns is providing more time for the development
of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS),
needed to locate animals that may have mad cow disease.
Thursday he released a "thinking paper and timeline"
on the system and called on agriculture producers and
industry partners to provide feedback. Johanns proposes
requiring stakeholders to identify premises and animals
according to NAIS standards by January 2008. Requiring
full recording of defined animal movements is proposed
by January 2009.
Administered by USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection
Service (APHIS), the NAIS is a cooperative state-federal-industry
program being created to monitor animal movements from
birth to death for the purpose of disease tracking.
Johanns said it will be established "over time"
through the integration of three key components: premises
identification, animal identification and animal tracking.
Need for this system was demonstrated by the discovery
in December 2003 of a Washington state cow with mad
cow disease. The identification system is viewed as
a necessary component of U.S. efforts tocontrol the
spread of the fatal brain wasting disease that has crippled
the U.S. cattle industry.
"The documents we're releasing today offer a draft
plan to move the public discussion forward on this important
initiative," said Johanns on Thursday. "We
created these documents with guidance from the NAIS
advisory committee and with a great deal of input from
producers. We're proposing answers to some of the key
questions about how we envision this system moving forward.
"Now, I'm eager to hear from farmers and ranchers
so we can develop a final plan."
Stakeholders have questioned funding for the system,
confidentiality of data in the system and flexibility
of the system, among other things.
Eventually, the NAIS will allow animal health officials
to identify all animals and premises that have had contact
with a foreign or domestic animal disease of concern
within 48 hours of an initial presumptive-positive diagnosis.
As an information system that provides for rapid tracing
of infected and exposed animals during an outbreak situation,
the NAIS will help limit the scope of such outbreaks
and ensure that they are contained as quickly as possible.
The NAIS is designed to encompass the tracking of all
animal species that could directly or indirectly impact
the animal health status of our nation's food animal
system. Currently, species working groups have been
established for beef and dairy cattle, bison, camelids,
cervids, equine, goats, poultry, sheep and swine.
APHIS received approximately $33 million for NAIS implementation
in fiscal year 2005 through the Consolidated Appropriations
Act. USDA also transferred $18.8 million from its Commodity
Credit Corporation to APHIS in FY 2004 to support the
Both documents are available on the U.S. Department
of Agriculture's NAIS Web site at http://www.usda.gov/nais
and will be published in the Federal Register.
Consideration will be given to comments received on
or before June 6, 2005. Send an original and three copies
of postal or commercial delivery comments to Docket
No. 050-15-1, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD,
APHIS, Station 3C71, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale,
MD 20737-1238. Online, a link to the NAIS docket and
comment form will be available on the NAIS home page
Once USDA receives feedback on the documents, it will
follow the normal rulemaking process before any aspects
of the NAIS become mandatory. The public will have the
opportunity to submit additional comments on any proposed