Friday, February 1, 2013

USDA Implements Animal Disease Traceability Program

If you trailer your horses out of state then read this information concerning USDA regulations on movement of horses from The American Horse Council published by the The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA).

In a move that many thought would never happen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture instituted its Animal Disease Traceability Program on January 9. The system, which will become effective March 11, is intended to improve USDA’s and state authorities’ ability to trace livestock, including horses, in the event of a disease outbreak. The new system applies to all livestock moving interstate.

Under the new federal regulations, horses moving interstate must be identified and accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI), commonly called a health certificate, or other state-approved document, such as a Coggins test chart or equine passport approved by the animal health officials in the sending and receiving states.

Horses may be identified by methods currently used in the horse community, such as a description sufficient to identify the individual horse, including, name, age, breed, color, gender, distinctive markings, and unique and permanent forms of identification, such as brands, tattoos, scars, cowlicks, blemishes or biometric measurements. Electronic identification can also be used, as can digital photographs.

“All states now require an ICVI to accompany any horse entering their state. This should make for a smooth transition to the new traceability rule, since most horse owners moving their horses interstate for breeding, racing, showing, sale, etc. should already be in compliance with the provisions of the new rule,” said Jay Hickey, president of the American Horse Council.

This new rule is based on the previous National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which was the original voluntary system proposed by USDA to deal with disease outbreaks and traceability. The NAIS was not supported by much of the livestock industry, requiring USDA to reconsider its approach.

“This more limited and simpler system just adopted is the result. The new system does not require the registration of premises housing livestock or the specific reporting of individual movements of horses,” Hickey said.

Exclusions. From the USDA regulation published in the Federal Register. There are exclusions to the new requirements for the following horses:

~ Horses used as a mode of transportation (horseback, horse and buggy) for travel to another location that return directly to the original location.

~ Horses moved from a farm or stable for veterinary treatment that are returned to the same location without change in ownership.

~ Horses moved directly from a location in one state through another state to a second location in the original state.

~ Horses moved between shipping and receiving states with another form of identification or documentation other than an ICVI, e.g., a horse infectious anemia test chart, as agreed to by the shipping and receiving states or tribes involved in the movement.

However, you can click this link to download a pdf version of the Federal Register No 78 Volume 6, Part IV which covers the new regulations in great detail. Warning, this is 37 page document – during or after reading you may have the urge to gouge your own eyes out with a spoon.

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