The United States Animal
Identification Program (USAIP)


The US Animal Identification Plan (USAIP) is designed to maintain the economic viability of American animal agriculture. This national animal identification and tracking plan will enhance disease preparedness by rapidly identifying animals exposed to disease, thus allowing quick detection, containment, and elimination of disease threats. This is essential to preserve the domestic and international marketability of our nation's animals and animal products. The USAIP will promote continued confidence in livestock products and will protect the health status of our nation's herds and flocks.

The plan, when fully operational, will be capable of tracing an animal or group of animals back to the originating herd or premises that is the most logical source of a disease concern. It will also be able to trace specific potentially exposed animals that were moved out from that herd or premises. The plan's long-term goal is to establish a system that can complete these traces (back and forward) within 48 hours of discovery of a disease situation.

This new plan will make use of Radio Frequency Identification (electronic ID technology) eartags attached to each animal. The ear tag information will include data on the premises (or owner's main location point) as described by GPS coordinates. Each animal will also have a unique animal ID number (part of a new national animal numbering system to be implemented) recorded via this tagging device. Much like an "easy tag" affixed to a vehicle traveling on a tollroad, each animal can be scanned and standardized information can be obtained including the owner's name, home premises location, and subsequent movings and transport of this animal. Each time an animal is moved from the home premises to an auction barn, to a sale, to a processing plant, to another owner, that data will be updated and recorded.

At this time, the program is in the process of implementation with various preliminary tasks to be completed along various timelines.

Premises Identification
The USAIP timeline calls for the establishment of the National Premises System during 2004. Various ranches and production points will need to be enrolled and each will receive a premises identification number based on GPS locatior coordinates for the main location of operation for that program or business..

Animal Tagging
Each animal will be affixed with an eartag encoded with a unique animal identification number. These animal ID's will be recorded along with the ranch Premises ID Number and a database of animals for that location will be established. Tags should be avaialble through veterinarians and feed stores. Timelines for getting all animals tagged has not yet been determined.

Details on this new program that will affect all ranchers and producers are slowly emerging. For more information and addiitonal reading, see the following:

The USAIP Website

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) Concerning the Animal ID Program

Cattle Today: "Huntin' for Daylight—Voluntary or Mandatory Animal ID"



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