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Joelle Schelhaus   (301) 734-0595
Angela Harless     (202) 720-4623

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2007--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is reviewing several proposals for the production and delivery of 1.5 million radio frequency ear tags that are compliant with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) standards.  These ear tags will be used to uniquely identify U.S. livestock that are part of current animal disease programs, in particular within geographic regions where bovine tuberculosis testing and the brucellosis calfhood vaccination program are most active.
“Using these animal identification number tags with radio frequency ID technology enhances the accuracy of animal identification and increases the program administration efficiencies,” said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for USDA’s marketing and regulatory programs.  “Most importantly, it puts us a step closer to our goal of rapid traceback when an animal disease outbreak occurs.”

Individual animal identification is important to NAIS’ efforts to provide rapid response and containment in the event of an animal disease event.  By quickly identifying involved animals, the impact of the outbreak on neighboring herds and premises can be limited--and disease spread could even be stopped before it reaches those animals.

NAIS is a modern, streamlined information system that helps producers and animal health officials respond quickly and effectively to disease outbreaks or animal health events in the United States.  NAIS utilizes premises registration, animal identification and animal tracing components to both locate potentially diseased animals and eliminate animals from disease suspicion.  It is a state-federal-industry partnership, which is voluntary at the federal level.  For more information on NAIS, visit www.usda.gov/nais.


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