USDA proposes modifications to ADT rules

Last week, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed a series of amendments to its Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) regulations. Specifically, the proposal would modify how the agency approves livestock marketing facilities that receive animals in interstate commerce, and provide clarifications on how livestock can move to these facilities without official identification or before an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection (ICVI) is issued. USDA drafted the proposed rule based on the recommendations of a working group of Federal and State animal-health officials. Specific changes in the proposal include:

·         USDA would no longer require an accredited veterinarian be present all day on every sale day, but rather that an accredited veterinarian must be available (in person or on call) on sale days. The agency believes this will provide more flexibility for the accredited veterinarian and livestock marketing facility, while still ensuring that a veterinarian is available to complete necessary tasks such as issuing ICVIs.

·         USDA would add a requirement that APHIS or State personnel will inspect each approved facility twice a year to ensure they are following the regulations.

·         Cattle and bison that are covered by the regulations and destined for slaughter may move interstate without official identification, provided that they move from their farm of origin (the farm where they lived for at least 4 consecutive months prior to movement) directly to an approved livestock marketing facility.

·         Cattle and bison may move interstate without an ICVI from their farm of origin to an approved livestock marketing facility if they move with an owner-shipper statement.

·         Cattle and bison may move interstate to an approved livestock marketing facility without an accompanying owner-shipper statement if the State animal health official waives the need for an owner-shipper statement, all the information required for the statement is recorded at the facility as soon as the animals are offloaded and this record is maintained for five years.

USDA also received requests to specify in the regulations the location on cattle and bison where USDA-approved backtags must be applied. USDA seeks public comment to help determine whether the regulation should spell out a location, whether the location should be provided as a guideline or recommendation in the ADT General Standards and which location, behind the shoulders or closer to the hip, is preferable.

USDA has opened a 60-day public comment period on this proposal, and specifically on the topic of backtag placement. Consideration will be given to comments received on or before March 3, 2015. You may submit comments either through the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mailing your comments to: Docket No. APHIS-2014-0018, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

Supporting documents and comments USDA receives on this docket may be viewed here.