To control and eradicate animal diseases, epidemiologists must be able to trace the movement of animals. This goal can be realized only if the animals are properly identified and the individual and the herd, flock, or group identification are recorded. Requirements for official identification of livestock are defined in title 9 of the Code of
Federal Regulations (9 CFR). As of this writing, USDA is developing a proposed rule for the traceability of livestock moving interstate. This proposed rule is targeted for publication the spring of 2011 with the final rule published 12 to 18 months later. This rule will provide specific requirements for the official identification of livestock moved interstate. Information on this proposed rule can be found at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/
As an accredited veterinarian, you are legally responsible for properly identifying animals and recording the identification on certain official documents, such as CVIs, test charts, and vaccination charts. It is essential that another individual be able to positively identify animals that you have listed on official documents. When documents require animal identification, record all forms of identification associated with the animal.
Acceptable means of identifying different species of animals are defined below. Official eartags are used for several species. The design, size, shape, color, and other characteristics of the official eartag will depend on the needs of the users, subject to the approval of the Administrator. The official eartag must be tamper-resistant and have a high retention rate in the animal. Official eartags must adhere to one of the following numbering systems:
The complete listing of Official Eartags is at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/ USDA-approved backtags cannot be used as the only identification for onfarm testing or for movement other than in slaughter channels. For the purposes of identifying animals, a Premises Identification Number (PIN) is a unique number assigned by a Federal or State animal health official to a livestock production unit that is, in the judgment of the SAHO or Assistant District Director, epidemiologically distinct from other livestock production units.