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USDA ANNOUNCES IMPLEMENTATION OF ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION NUMBERS UNDER VOLUNTARY NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM

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Dore Mobley (301) 734-7255
Jerry Redding (202) 720-6959

WASHINGTON, March 9, 2006-The U.S. Department of Agriculture is announcing plans to begin allocating animal identification numbers (AINs) to tag manufacturers and approving visual identification tags for use under the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), paving the way for distribution of these tags to producers. The initial implementation of AINs focuses on cattle. The use of AINs with other types of identification devices (e.g., implants) used in other species will be considered as the NAIS species working groups finalize their recommendations for utilizing the AIN.

USDA also is providing an option to use supplemental identification methods or technologies (e.g., radio-frequency and biometrics) that enhance the utility of AIN tags. Supplemental identification methods or technologies are optional and may vary among species. To ensure compatibility and uniformity is achieved in the national program, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will establish technology standards, when applicable, along with performance requirements for these technologies.

USDA invites companies who wish to manufacture AIN tags to apply for USDA approval. Guidelines for the manufacture and distribution of AIN tags under NAIS can be found in the document Administration of Official Identification Devices with the Animal Identification Number on the NAIS Web site at www.usda.gov/nais. Information regarding the distribution of AIN tags to producers is also provided on the Web site.

NAIS is a cooperative state-federal-industry program to standardize and expand animal identification programs and practices to all livestock species and poultry. Implementation of NAIS will support state and federal animal disease monitoring and surveillance through the rapid tracing of infected and exposed animals during animal disease outbreaks. The ultimate long-term goal of NAIS is to provide animal health officials with the capability to identify all animals and premises that have had direct contact with a disease of concern within 48 hours after discovery.

Notice of this action was published in the March 3 Federal Register.

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