Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
 

Federal Register Volume 76, Number 155 (Thursday, August 11, 2011)]

[Proposed Rules]

[Pages 50082-50110]

 

 

Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate

 

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

 

ACTION: Proposed rule.

 

SUMMARY: We are proposing to establish minimum national official

identification and documentation requirements for the traceability of

livestock moving interstate. Under this proposed rule, unless

specifically exempted, livestock belonging to species covered by this

rulemaking that are moved interstate would have to be officially

identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary

inspection or other documentation. The proposed regulations specify

approved forms of official identification for each species but would

allow the livestock covered under this rulemaking to be moved

interstate with another form of identification, as agreed upon by

animal health officials in the shipping and receiving States or Tribes.

The purpose of this rulemaking is to improve our ability to trace

livestock in the event that disease is found.

 

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before

November 9, 2011.

 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0091-0001.

Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to

Docket No. APHIS-2009-0091, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD,

APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-

1238.

Supporting documents and any comments we receive on this docket may

be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=APHIS-2009-

0091 or in our reading room, which is located in room 1141 of the USDA

South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington,

DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through

Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you,

please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Neil Hammerschmidt, Program

Manager, Animal Disease Traceability, VS, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit

46, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-5571.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

 

Background

 

Preventing and controlling animal disease is the cornerstone of

protecting American animal agriculture. While ranchers and farmers work

hard to protect their animals and their livelihoods, there is never a

guarantee that their animals will be spared from disease. To support

their efforts, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has promulgated

regulations to prevent, control, and eradicate disease. Traceability

does not prevent disease, but knowing where diseased and at-risk

animals are, where they have been, and when, is indispensible in

emergency response and in ongoing disease control and eradication

programs.

We do not currently have a comprehensive animal traceability

program. Some of our animal disease program regulations in 9 CFR

subchapter C (``Interstate Transportation of Animals (Including

Poultry) and Animal Products,'' referred to below as ``the existing

regulations''), such as those for tuberculosis and brucellosis, contain

components of a traceability program, e.g., requirements for animals

moving interstate to be officially identified and accompanied by

documents recording, among other things, the animals' official

identification numbers and the locations from and to which they are

being moved. Such requirements, however, do not apply to all livestock

or to all interstate movements. Significant gaps exist that could

impair our ability to trace animals, when necessary, that may be

affected with a disease. Some species, or classes of animals within a

species, are subject to official identification and/or movement

requirements only under the existing animal disease program

regulations.

We are particularly concerned with current inadequacies in disease

tracing capabilities in the cattle industry. Previously, many cattle

received official identification through USDA's vaccination program for

brucellosis, which requires that certain young female cattle and bison

(aged 4 to 12 months) moving into and out of States or areas designated

as Class B or Class C for brucellosis be vaccinated for the disease.

These vaccinated calves must be permanently identified by means of a

tattoo and either an official vaccination eartag or other official

eartag if one is already attached to the animal (9 CFR part 78). Our

eradication efforts have been tremendously successful, and now all 50

States are brucellosis-free. While this is certainly a positive

development, it has resulted in a steep decline in the number of

officially identified cattle. In 1988, when there were only 27 Class

Free States and many more calves were subject to those requirements, 10

million calves were officially identified, but by 2010 that number had

fallen to 3.1 million.

As a result of decreasing levels of official identification in

cattle, the time required to conduct other disease investigations is

increasing. For example, disease investigations for bovine tuberculosis

frequently now exceed 150 days as USDA and State investigative teams

spend substantially more time and money in conducting tracebacks. The

decreased level of official identification has resulted in an expansion

of the scope of investigations to identify suspect and exposed animals,

necessitating the testing of thousands of cattle that would otherwise

not have needed to be tested.

We have clear indications that higher levels of official

identification enhance tracing capability. For example, through the

National Scrapie Eradication Program (NSEP), 92 percent of the cull

breeding sheep are officially identified at slaughter, primarily using

flock identification eartags. This level of official identification

made it possible in fiscal year 2010 to achieve traceback from

slaughter of scrapie-positive sheep to the flock of origin or birth as

part of the scrapie surveillance program 96 percent of the time,

typically in a matter of minutes. Other diseases, in particular

contagious ones, require that we trace to more than the birth premises,

i.e., to other premises where the animal has been after leaving the

birth premises but before going to slaughter, so the scrapie model is

not a complete solution for such diseases.

APHIS believes that we must improve our tracing capabilities now

not only to alleviate current concerns, including the increasing number

of cases of bovine tuberculosis, but also to ensure that we are well

prepared to respond to new or foreign animal diseases in the future.

The traceability framework we are proposing in this rule represents

a departure from our initial attempt to address the problems described

above through implementation of the National Animal Identification

System (NAIS). NAIS was introduced in 2004 with the long-term goal of

achieving 48-hour

traceability. NAIS was a voluntary system, with registration of all

premises where livestock or poultry were housed or kept as the

foundation of the system. Additional components of NAIS, which were

expected to evolve over time, were animal identification and the

recording of animal movements. In 2009, APHIS launched a series of

efforts to assess the level of acceptance of NAIS, including public

listening sessions in 14 cities and a review of written comments

submitted by the public. Although there was some support for NAIS, the

vast majority of listening session participants and commenters were

highly critical of the program and of USDA's implementation efforts.

Many commenters viewed the NAIS as a Government-imposed, ``one-size-

fits-all'' approach to animal traceability. Producers were concerned

about various issues, including having their data maintained in a

Federal database and the cost of the technology that would be necessary

to achieve the 48-hour traceability goal. Overall, the feedback

revealed that NAIS had become a barrier to achieving meaningful animal

disease traceability in the United States in partnership with America's

producers.

On February 5, 2010, the Secretary announced that the Department

planned to take a new approach to animal disease traceability. This new

approach was developed through input from a State-Tribal-Federal

working group, Tribal consultations, discussions with producers and

industry, and feedback received in seven public meetings held during

the spring and summer of 2010. Our overall goal is to have an adaptable

approach that will help us find animals associated with a disease

quickly, focus our efforts on those animals, and minimize harm to

producers.

 

Overview of the Proposal

 

We are proposing to establish minimum national official

identification and documentation requirements for the traceability of

livestock moving interstate. These requirements are intended to improve

our ability to locate animals that may be infected with or exposed to a

disease. Because USDA's regulatory authority applies to interstate

commerce, the requirements would not apply to movements within a State.

They would also not apply to movements onto or from Tribal lands unless

the movement is also an interstate movement. Additionally, in

recognition of Tribal sovereignty, if a Tribe has its own system for

identifying and tracing livestock, separate from those of a State, our

requirements would not apply to movements entirely within that Tribal

jurisdiction even if the movements cross a State line that goes through

the Tribal lands. We also propose to exempt from the regulations

livestock moved to a custom slaughter facility in accordance with

Federal and State regulations for preparation of meat for personal

consumption.

The proposed requirements would apply to cattle and bison, sheep

and goats, swine, horses and other equines, captive cervids (e.g., deer

and elk), and poultry. The greatest gaps in identification and movement

documentation requirements for traceability purposes in our current

program disease regulations are for cattle. As noted above, due to the

near eradication of brucellosis in cattle, the number of vaccinated

heifers, which are required under the brucellosis regulations to be

officially identified, has decreased, and in turn, there has been a

significant decrease in the number of officially identified cattle.

Therefore, our proposed regulations would contain new requirements for

cattle. Because we have very limited program regulations for horses and

other equines, our proposed regulations would also contain new

requirements for equines. On the other hand, the traceability-related

requirements in our existing program regulations for swine, sheep and

goats, captive cervids, and commercial poultry are more comprehensive

and, we believe, largely sufficient at this time. While we are

proposing to cover those animals in this proposal, we have chosen, in

most cases, to refer the reader to the identification and documentation

requirements in those existing program regulations. Our proposal,

however, would establish traceability requirements for poultry moved

interstate to live bird markets.

Our proposed traceability requirements would have two main

elements.

First, animals moved interstate would have to be officially

identified. The methods and devices for identifying animals would vary

by species, and within a species there may be multiple choices. For

certain species, for example cattle and bison and sheep and goats, this

would typically involve attaching an eartag with a unique official

identification number to the animal. In some cases, most commonly with

poultry and swine, animals that move through the production chain are

identified as a group rather than by means of an individual eartag or

other identifier being attached to each animal.

The methods, devices, and numbering systems that we propose to

recognize as official identification are those that would provide for

effective traceability and that can be used nationwide. All States and

Tribal jurisdictions would be required to accept all official

identification methods proposed for each species. An example for cattle

would be an eartag with a national uniform eartagging system (NUES)

number. We recognize, however, that different identification methods

may exist or evolve in specific parts of the country and that there may

be situations where other forms of identification may be effective and

preferred by producers. Therefore, we are proposing to allow such

identification to be used in lieu of official identification for

livestock moved interstate when both the shipping and receiving States

or Tribes agree to its use. Additionally, because we recognize that

there will be logistical challenges associated with officially

identifying a significantly higher number of cattle for interstate

movement, we plan to phase in the requirements for identification of

cattle and bison over time.

Second, animals moved interstate must be accompanied by an

interstate certificate of veterinary inspection, also referred to as an

ICVI. The ICVI would be issued by an accredited veterinarian (one

authorized to perform work on behalf of the APHIS) or a Federal, State,

or Tribal veterinarian, who would be responsible for ensuring that the

animal meets applicable health requirements. The ICVI would, for

certain classes of animals, show the official identification number of

the animal. It would also contain information about where the animal is

moving from and its destination.

We are proposing some exceptions to the requirements for an ICVI.

For example, for cattle moving interstate directly to slaughter, we

propose to allow use of an owner-shipper statement, rather than an

ICVI. Additionally, we are proposing to allow alternatives to the ICVI

for livestock moved interstate when both the shipping and receiving

States or Tribes agree. We are also proposing some exceptions to the

requirement for recording animal identification numbers on ICVIs (e.g.,

for steers and spayed heifers).

These proposed identification and movement documentation

requirements are the foundation for a successful traceability program.

We are also proposing some associated recordkeeping requirements.

All of the specific requirements and exceptions we are proposing are

explained in detail below in a section-by-section discussion of the

proposed rule.

The purpose of the requirements we are proposing is to improve our

ability to trace livestock in the event that disease is found. It is

important to point out, though, that we do not prescribe methods or

systems that States and Tribes must use in order to trace animals that

have moved interstate. We expect that States (and interested Tribes)

will set up systems to allow effective tracing of animals that have

moved into or from their jurisdictions.

To enable us to evaluate the effectiveness of those systems, we

anticipate that we will eventually establish traceability performance

standards against which we could measure a State or Tribe's ability to

trace covered livestock moved interstate. Later in this preamble, under

the respective headings ``Performance Standards for Traceability'' and

``Traceability Evaluations of States and Tribes,'' we discuss our

current thinking regarding performance standards for measuring a

State's or Tribe's ability to trace covered livestock moved interstate

and the potential actions that could be taken when a State or Tribe

fails to meet the standards for a particular species. We are not

proposing any regulatory requirements pertaining to those issues at

this time; any such requirements would be established through a future,

separate rulemaking. At this time, however, we would welcome public

comment on our current thinking regarding the traceability performance

standards.

To facilitate the implementation of our new animal traceability

approach, APHIS intends to consult with an advisory group featuring

representation from APHIS, States, Tribes, and industry before we make

a decision. The advisory group could offer advice and recommendations

on our phase-in of official identification requirements for cattle and

bison (discussed in more detail below) before we make a decision, as

well as provide feedback on the effectiveness of various elements of

the traceability program.

 

Definitions (Sec. 90.1)

 

Our proposed animal traceability requirements would be contained in

a new 9 CFR part 90. The proposed regulations would include a number of

new definitions pertaining to animal traceability. In addition, some

definitions from the existing regulations would be incorporated into

proposed part 90, in some cases as they are and in others, in modified

form. Most of these proposed definitions are discussed below, by

category (identification, documentation, movement, and miscellaneous).

In a few cases, however, proposed definitions are discussed later in

this preamble as the terms are used, in order to provide needed

context.

 

Definitions Pertaining to Official Identification

 

Official eartags are used for official identification of a number

of species under the existing regulations and would continue to be

under these proposed traceability regulations. The existing interstate

movement and animal disease program regulations define official eartag

in a number of places. We propose to define official eartag in part 90

as an identification tag approved by APHIS that bears an official

identification number for individual animals. The proposed definition

further states that, beginning 1 year after the effective date of the

final rule for this proposed rule, all official eartags applied to

animals must bear the U.S. shield. The design, size, shape, color, and

other characteristics of the official eartag would depend on the needs

of the users, subject to the approval of the Administrator. The

official eartag would have to be tamper-resistant and have a high

retention rate in the animal. This proposed definition of official

eartag is similar to the one used in Sec. 71.1 and elsewhere in the

existing regulations. The current definition in Sec. 71.1, however,

requires that the U.S. shield be used only on eartags bearing an animal

identification number (AIN) with an 840 prefix. We are proposing to

broaden the U.S. shield requirement to all official eartags to achieve

greater standardization of this type of official identification device.

The delay in the effective date of the U.S. shield requirement is

intended to ease the transition and allow producers time to run through

existing stocks of eartags.

We propose to define officially identified as identified by means

of an official identification device or method approved by the

Administrator. The proposed definition is similar to the definition of

officially identified in 9 CFR 77.2 but is intended to provide a more

uniform definition that could eventually be applied throughout the

existing regulations as well.

Further, we propose to define official identification device or

method as a means approved by the Administrator of applying an official

identification number to an animal of a specific species or associating

an official identification number with an animal or group of animals of

a specific species. This proposed definition is adapted from the

existing one in Sec. 71.1, where official identification device or

method is defined as a means of officially identifying an animal or

group of animals using devices or methods approved by the

Administrator, including, but not limited to, official tags, tattoos,

and registered brands when accompanied by a certificate of inspection

from a recognized brand inspection authority. Our proposed definition

of official identification device or method is intended to establish

minimum, uniform national requirements and does not include a list of

examples, since not all the devices or methods listed under the

existing definition in Sec. 71.1 would be accepted as official for all

species under these proposed regulations. (Official identification

devices and methods would be listed by species under proposed Sec.

90.4 of these regulations.) For cattle and bison, for example, for

reasons discussed in greater detail below, the only identification

device we would recognize as official would be official eartags.

However, these proposed regulations would allow brands and other

methods that are not included in the proposed definition of official

identification device or method to be used in lieu of official

identification when agreed to by the shipping and receiving States and

Tribes. The use of brands and other identification methods in lieu of

official identification is discussed in more detail later in this

document. Finally, for the sake of consistency, i.e., to eliminate any

possible conflict between our proposed traceability regulations and the

existing ones, we would also amend the definition of official

identification device or method in Sec. 71.1 and in the tuberculosis

and brucellosis regulations, as discussed below, to match the one we

are proposing here.

As stated above, the intended use of an official identification

device or method is to apply an official identification number to an

individual animal or to associate such a number with a group of

animals. We propose to define official identification number as a

nationally unique number permanently associated with an animal or group

of animals. The official identification number would have to adhere to

one of the following systems, most of which are already in use:

National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES).

Animal identification number (AIN).

Location-based number system.

Flock-based number system.

Any other numbering system approved by the Administrator

for the official identification of animals.

We further propose in these regulations to provide definitions of

these numbering systems. Those definitions are discussed below.

 

NUES

 

The existing interstate movement regulations in 9 CFR part 71 and

the animal disease regulations in parts 77, 78, 79, and 80 allow for

the use of the NUES as a means of identifying individual animals in

commerce. The system has been in use for many years, but the existing

regulations do not define the term or specify a particular format. To

allow for the use of this numbering system under these proposed animal

traceability regulations and to ensure greater standardization and

uniformity of the NUES, we are proposing to add a definition of the

term to the new animal traceability part. We would define National

Uniform Eartagging System (NUES) as a numbering system for the official

identification of individual animals in the United States that provides

a nationally unique identification number for each animal. Formatting

requirements for the NUES (and other numbering systems) would be set

out in our Animal Disease Traceability General Standards Document,

which we would make available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability.

 

AIN

 

We propose to include in part 90 a definition of animal

identification number (AIN), which we would adapt from the existing

definition of the term in 9 CFR 71.1. We propose to define the AIN, as

we do in Sec. 71.1, as a numbering system for the official

identification of individual animals in the United States that provides

a nationally unique identification number for each animal. Under the

proposed definition, the AIN would consist of 15 digits, with the first

3 being the country code (840 for the United States), except that the

alpha characters USA or the numeric code assigned to the manufacturer

of the identification device by the International Committee on Animal

Recording could be used as alternatives to the 840 prefix until 1 year

after the effective date of the final rule for this proposal. The

existing definition lists the same formatting requirements but does not

specify a sunset date for the use of AINs beginning with the characters

USA or the manufacturer's code. We are proposing to phase out those two

AIN formats in order to achieve greater standardization of this

numbering system, while providing producers with adequate notice of the

change and so they can work through existing inventories of eartags.

This proposed requirement would apply only to animals tagged 1 year or

more after the effective date of the final rule for this proposal;

producers would not have to retag animals that had been officially

identified using the USA or manufacturer's code AIN prior to that date.

As is now the case, the AIN beginning with the 840 prefix would be

recognized for use only on animals born in the United States. Also,

like the existing definition of the AIN, the proposed definition does

not require producers to use the AIN; we would continue to recognize

other numbering systems as official for the identification of

individual animals.

 

Location Identifiers

 

The existing regulations, e.g., in parts 77 and 78, allow for the

use of premises-based numbering systems on official eartags. Such

numbering systems combine an official premises identification number

(PIN), discussed below, with a producer's livestock production

numbering system to provide a unique identification number. Numbering

systems using a PIN and a producer's production numbering system would

continue to be allowed under this proposed rule, but we would expand

the range of allowable location identifiers. In keeping with our goal

of letting States and Tribes develop traceability systems that work

best for them, we would allow them to determine, according to their

needs, the location to which animals moving from their jurisdictions

would have to be associated. The proposed traceability regulations,

therefore, do not refer to premises-based numbering systems but instead

include a definition of location-based numbering system. Under this

proposed definition, a location-based numbering system could combine

either a State- or Tribal-issued location identification number (LID

number) or a PIN with a producer's unique livestock production

numbering system to provide a nationally and herd-unique identification

number for an animal.

We propose to define location identification (LID) number as a

nationally unique number issued by a State, Tribal, and/or Federal

animal health authority to a location, as determined by the State or

Tribe in which it is issued. As proposed, the LID number could be used

in conjunction with a producer's own livestock production numbering

system to provide a nationally unique and herd-unique identification

number for an animal. It could also be used as a component of a group/

lot identification number (GIN), which is described below. Formatting

requirements for the LID would be contained in our Animal Disease

Traceability General Standards Document.

Since the PIN could be used as a component of a location-based

numbering system, we are including a definition of premises

identification number (PIN) in this proposed rule. We propose to define

the PIN as a nationally unique number assigned by a State, Tribal, and/

or Federal animal health authority to a premises that is, in the

judgment of the State, Tribal, and/or Federal animal health authority a

geographically distinct location from other premises. The PIN could be

used in conjunction with a producer's own livestock production

numbering system to provide a nationally and herd-unique identification

number for an animal. It could be used as a component of a group/lot

identification number (GIN), which is discussed below. The proposed

definition of the PIN is similar to that used elsewhere in the existing

regulations but would not include number and letter formatting

requirements (e.g., the State's two-letter postal abbreviation followed

by the premises' assigned number, as is currently the case). The

formatting requirements for the PIN would be contained in the Animal

Disease Traceability General Standards Document.

 

GIN

 

The GIN, referred to above, provides a means of identifying groups

of animals when individual animal identification is not required.

Existing regulations allow for the identification of groups of animals

of some species under certain conditions. The regulations in 9 CFR

71.19, which contain identification requirements for swine moving in

interstate commerce, offer one such example. Adapting an existing

definition of the GIN in Sec. 71.1, we propose to define group/lot

identification number (GIN) in this proposed rule as the identification

number used to uniquely identify a ``unit of animals'' of the same

species that is managed together as one group throughout the preharvest

production chain. The proposed definition also specifies that when a

GIN is used, it must be recorded on documents accompanying the animals;

it would not, however, be necessary to have the GIN attached to each

animal. This last provision is a new one, not present in the current

definition in Sec. 71.1, and is in keeping with the purpose of

allowing animals of certain species to be identified by group or lot

rather than individually. Additionally, while the definition of the GIN

in Sec. 71.1 includes detailed formatting requirements, we

 

[[Page 50086]]

 

propose to remove them from the regulations and place them in the

Animal Disease Traceability General Standards Document, as we are

proposing to do with the requirements for the PIN.

 

FIN

 

At this time, the NSEP furnishes eartags to sheep and goat

producers that bear a number that combines a unique flock

identification number (FIN) with the producer's unique livestock

production number. This flock-based number represents an animal group

that is associated with one or more locations. This flock-based number

system serves the sheep and goat industries well in their disease

control and eradication efforts. The existing regulations in part 79,

however, while allowing for the use of the system on eartags for sheep

and goats in the NSEP, do not define flock-based number system or FIN

and do not specify a particular format to be used. Therefore, to codify

current practices and help ensure uniformity and consistency in the use

of flock identification numbering, we are proposing to define both

these terms. We propose to define flock identification number (FIN) as

a nationally unique number assigned by a State, Tribal, or Federal

animal health authority to a group of animals that are managed as a

unit on one or more premises and are under the same ownership.

Formatting requirements would be listed in the Animal Disease

Traceability General Standards Document. We propose to define flock-

based number system as a numbering system combining a FIN with a

producer's livestock production numbering system to provide a

nationally unique identification number for an animal.

 

Definitions Pertaining to Documentation

 

Under our existing interstate movement (9 CFR part 71) and animal

disease program regulations (e.g., 9 CFR parts 77, 78, and 79), animals

that are neither disease reactors nor exposed are generally required to

be accompanied by certificates when moving interstate. The term

certificate is defined in a number of places in those regulations.

Among those definitions, however, there exists some variation according

to species regarding information requirements and the use of the

document. In addition, there is not a uniform requirement that

certificates be issued by veterinarians. The proposed addition of the

ICVI to the regulations, therefore, is intended to provide a

standardized document, issued by a veterinarian, for the interstate

movement of animals. We would add definitions of the ICVI to these

proposed traceability regulations, as well as to part 71 and to the

tuberculosis (9 CFR part 77) and brucellosis (9 CFR part 78)

regulations. Further, we would amend the tuberculosis and brucellosis

regulations, as discussed in detail below, so that the use of ICVIs

would replace the use of certificates in parts 77 and 78. The ICVI

would have to be issued by a veterinarian because, among other things,

it would certify that a veterinary inspection has in fact taken place.

Our requirements for veterinary accreditation are contained in 9 CFR

parts 160 and 161.

We are proposing, then, to define interstate certificate of

veterinary inspection (ICVI) as an official document issued by a

Federal, State, Tribal, or accredited veterinarian at the location from

which animals are shipped interstate. The proposed definition further

lists the information requirements for the ICVI. The ICVI must show the

species of animals covered by the ICVI; the number of animals covered;

the purpose for which the animals are to be moved; the address at which

the animals were loaded for interstate movement; the address to which

the animals are destined; and the names of the consignor and the

consignee and their addresses if different from the address at which

the animals were loaded or the address to which the animals are

destined. Additionally, unless the species-specific requirements for

ICVIs provide an exception, the ICVI must list the official

identification number of each animal or group of animals moved that is

required to be officially identified, or, if an alternative form of

identification has been agreed upon by the sending and receiving States

or Tribes, the ICVI must include a record of that identification. If

animals moving under a GIN also have individual official

identification, only the GIN must be listed on the ICVI. If the animals

are not required by the regulations to be officially identified, the

ICVI must state the exemption that applies (e.g., the cattle and bison

are of a class of cattle and bison exempted during the initial stage of

the phase-in). For those categories of animals required to be

officially identified but whose identification number does not have to

be recorded on the ICVI, the ICVI must state that all animals to be

moved under the ICVI are officially identified. An ICVI may not be

issued for any animal that is not officially identified if official

identification is required.

As an alternative to typing or writing individual animal

identification on an ICVI, another document may be used to provide this

information, but only under the following conditions:

The document must be a State form or APHIS form that

requires individual identification of animals;

A legible copy of the document must be stapled to the

original and each copy of the ICVI;

Each copy of the document must identify each animal to be

moved with the ICVI, but any information pertaining to other animals,

and any unused space on the document for recording animal

identification, must be crossed out in ink; and

The following information must be written in ink in the

identification column on the original and each copy of the ICVI and

must be circled or boxed, also in ink, so that no additional

information can be added:

[cir] The name of the document; and

[cir] Either the unique serial number on the document or, if the

document is not imprinted with a serial number, both the name of the

person who prepared the document and the date the document was signed.

The information requirements for the ICVI are closely modeled upon

requirements for certificates in Sec. 78.1 of the brucellosis

regulations. These proposed requirements are necessary to provide

States, Tribes, and APHIS with adequate information to conduct

successful traceback investigations.

In certain cases, we would allow for the use of an owner-shipper

statement in lieu of an ICVI. We propose to define owner-shipper

statement as a statement signed by the owner or shipper of the

livestock being moved stating the location from which the animals are

moved interstate; the destination of the animals; the number of animals

covered by the statement; the species of animal covered; the name and

address of the owner at the time of the movement; the name and address

of the shipper; and the identification of each animal, as required by

the regulations, unless the regulations specifically provide that the

identification does not have to be recorded. The proposed information

requirements enumerated under this definition are incorporated from

existing regulations pertaining to identification of cattle for

interstate movement in Sec. 71.18.

 

Definitions Pertaining to Interstate Movement

 

Because these proposed regulations concern the movement of animals

interstate, it is necessary to include a definition of interstate

movement. We would define interstate movement as a movement from one

State into or through any other State. This proposed

 

[[Page 50087]]

 

definition is taken from the definition of interstate currently used in

our tuberculosis and brucellosis regulations in 9 CFR parts 77 and 78,

respectively.

We propose to define the term move as to carry, enter, import,

mail, ship, or transport; to aid, abet, cause, or induce carrying,

entering, importing, mailing, shipping, or transporting; to offer to

carry, enter, import, mail, ship, or transport; to receive in order to

carry, enter, import, mail, ship, or transport; or to allow any of

these activities. This proposed definition is incorporated from the

Animal Health Protection Act, minus a provision concerning release into

the environment that is not applicable to animal traceability.

As will be discussed later in this document, movement and

documentation requirements may differ in some cases, depending on

whether or not an animal is moved directly to a particular destination.

For that reason, it is necessary to include a definition of directly.

We would define directly as without unloading en route if moved in a

means of conveyance and without being commingled with other animals, or

without stopping, except for stops of less than 24 hours that are

needed for food, water, or rest en route if the animals are moved in

any other manner. This proposed definition has been adapted from the

existing one in Sec. 78.1 but modified to allow for stops needed to

care for the animals in the shipment.

Not only the nature of an animal's interstate movement (directly or

otherwise) but also the destination to which it is moved may affect the

requirements governing such movement. Specifically, as discussed in

greater detail later in this document, we would provide exemptions from

the requirement for official identification for cattle and bison moved

interstate directly to an approved livestock facility or recognized

slaughtering establishment. It is necessary, for the sake of clarity,

to include in this proposed rule definitions of such facilities. We

propose to define approved livestock facility as a stockyard, livestock

market, buying station, concentration point, or any other premises

under State or Federal veterinary inspection where livestock are

assembled and that has been approved under Sec. 71.20. This proposed

definition matches the existing one in Sec. 71.1. We propose to define

recognized slaughtering establishment as any slaughtering facility

operating under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et

seq.), the Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.), or

State meat or poultry inspection acts. This proposed definition is

based on the definitions of the term used elsewhere in the existing

regulations.

 

Miscellaneous Definitions

 

As noted above in our overview section, these proposed regulations

would only apply to certain species of livestock: Cattle and bison,

sheep and goats, swine, horses and other equines, captive cervids, and

poultry. We propose, therefore, to include in this proposed rule a new

definition of covered livestock that would simply list those species.

Some of the proposed definitions discussed above, e.g., approved

livestock facility, refer to livestock more generally. Species that

could be present at such a facility would not necessarily be limited to

those covered under this rulemaking. It is necessary, therefore, to

include a definition of livestock in this proposed rule. We propose to

define livestock as all farm-raised animals. This proposed definition

comes from the Animal Health Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 8302).

In the overview section of this preamble, we referred to our plans

to phase in official identification requirements for cattle and bison.

As discussed in greater detail below, cattle and bison associated with

greater risk of contracting and spreading disease would be subject to

the official identification requirements before those associated with

lesser risk. The former category includes sexually intact cattle and

bison 18 months of age or over, dairy cattle, and cattle and bison used

for rodeos, recreational events, shows, or exhibitions. While most of

these designations are self-explanatory, that of dairy cattle is not.

We are therefore including in this proposed rule a definition of dairy

cattle. Under this proposed definition, all cattle, regardless of age

or sex or current use, that are of a breed(s) typically used to produce

milk or other dairy products for human consumption would be considered

dairy cattle. We propose to define dairy cattle in such an inclusive

manner because both male and female calves are often moved from birth

premises and managed at multiple locations. The movement and

commingling of dairy calves and the associated risk of disease exposure

and spread warrant the official identification of all dairy animals.

 

General Requirements for Traceability (Sec. 90.2)

 

Under these proposed regulations, no person (a term we propose to

define, using a standard definition employed elsewhere in the

regulations, as any individual, corporation, company, association,

firm, partnership, society, or joint stock company, or other legal

entity) could move covered livestock interstate or receive such

livestock moved interstate unless the livestock meet all applicable

requirements of the traceability regulations. We consider these

proposed requirements, which are discussed in detail later in this

document, to be the minimum necessary for a successful animal

traceability program.

In addition to these proposed traceability requirements, all

covered livestock moving interstate would continue to be subject to

existing disease control and eradication program regulations, e.g., for

tuberculosis, brucellosis, etc., in 9 CFR subchapter C. While this

proposed rule would establish minimum traceability requirements, the

disease program regulations may contain additional, or more specific,

requirements necessary to control or eliminate livestock diseases. It

is not our intention to loosen those disease program requirements;

hence, they would be given precedence if they were to conflict in any

way with the general traceability requirements being proposed here.

There are two circumstances when the traceability requirements

would not apply to interstate movement of covered livestock:

The movement occurs entirely within Tribal land that

straddles a State line, and the Tribe has a separate traceability

system from the States in which its lands are located; or

The movement is to a custom slaughter facility in

accordance with Federal and State regulations for preparation of meat

for personal consumption.

Under this rulemaking, Tribal lands, whether entirely within a

State or straddling State lines, would be covered by the same

traceability system as the State or States within which they are

contained, unless the Tribal representatives choose to have their own

traceability system separate from the State(s). If a Tribal land

straddling a State line does have a separate traceability system from

the States in which it is contained, then, because of Tribal

sovereignty, livestock movements taking place entirely within that

Tribal land, even across State lines, would not be regarded as

interstate movement under our regulations. Therefore, the proposed

traceability requirements for interstate movement would not apply.

We do not deem it necessary to apply our proposed traceability

requirements to interstate movement of covered livestock to a custom

slaughter facility under the conditions described above.

 

[[Page 50088]]

 

Such animals are accurately identified so the meat products are

properly provided to the owner or person responsible. Therefore, those

animals are already highly traceable to the farm or other location from

which the animals were moved to the slaughter facility.

 

Recordkeeping Requirements (Sec. 90.3)

 

As we have noted, we are proposing in these regulations to require

that, with certain exceptions, covered livestock moving interstate be

officially identified and accompanied by an ICVI or other movement

document. This proposed rule would require that any State, Tribe,

accredited veterinarian, or other person or entity who distributes

official identification devices maintain for a minimum of 5 years a

record of the names and addresses of anyone to whom the devices were

distributed. We would also require that approved livestock facilities

keep for a minimum of 5 years any ICVIs or alternate documentation used

in lieu of an ICVI for covered livestock that enter the facilities. Our

proposed 5-year requirement for maintaining records of official

identification devices and ICVIs or other animal movement documents is

necessary because certain animal diseases, such as tuberculosis and

bovine spongiform encephalopathy, have very long latency or incubation

periods, which can make traceback efforts quite challenging. Such

diseases may not manifest themselves until an animal reaches adulthood,

possibly several years after it was officially identified and/or moved

interstate. The proposed recordkeeping requirements would enhance our

ability to conduct traceback investigations of infected and exposed

animals, even in cases where the disease that the animal has contracted

or been exposed to has a very long latency period. We request comment

on the burden and practical utility of this proposed requirement.

 

Official Identification (Sec. 90.4)

 

Official Identification Devices and Methods

 

We will now discuss how persons moving covered livestock interstate

may comply with the proposed requirement that such livestock bear

official identification. Please note that, in order to provide

flexibility, the Administrator could authorize the use of additional

devices or methods of identification if they would provide for

effective traceability.

In this proposed rule, official identification devices or methods

approved by the Administrator for use on covered livestock moving

interstate are listed by species. (They would also be listed in our

Animal Disease Traceability General Standards Document.) These

requirements are described in detail below. Listing official

identification methods by species provides clarity to livestock owners

so they know what official identification options are accepted for the

movement of their animals anywhere in the United States.

It is our intention that any device or method authorized by the

proposed regulations as official identification for a species be

accepted by any destination State or Tribe. Therefore, only those

identification devices or methods that are available throughout the

United States for a given species would be listed as official under the

proposed regulations, and some identification practices that may be

used regionally would not be listed, though we may allow them to be

used in lieu of official identification.

Branding of cattle and bison is one prominent example of an

identification method that would not be listed as official

identification for cattle and bison under the proposed regulations but

would be allowed to be employed in lieu of official identification. If

we were to list brands as a means of official identification, all

States would have to accept animals identified with brands into their

jurisdictions. At this time, however, 36 States do not have brand

inspection authorities, so brands would not be suitable for listing as

a means of official identification. Yet, recognizing the value of

brands and their prevalence in the western United States, the proposed

rule does provide sufficient flexibility to allow for the use of brands

on covered livestock moving interstate in lieu of official

identification when brands are acceptable to both the shipping and

receiving State or Tribe. This provision for use of alternative means

of identification would apply to all other identification practices,

including tattoos, breed registries, etc., that States and Tribes may

elect to use instead of the official identification methods listed

under these proposed regulations, provided that they are acceptable to

both the shipping and receiving States or Tribes.

Official Identification Devices and Methods for Cattle and Bison

While the existing regulations recognize a number of means of

identification, such as eartags, backtags, tattoos, and brands, as

official for use on cattle and bison moving interstate, we are

proposing to recognize eartags as the only device that may be used for

the official identification of individual cattle and bison. Official

eartags provide a simple means of uniquely identifying the animal.

Eartags are a more permanent means of identification than backtags,

which may come off the animal, and provide greater readability and ease

of recording than do tattoos. In addition to individual identification

of cattle and bison by means of official eartags, we propose to provide

for the use of GINs when cattle and bison are eligible for interstate

movement using group/lot identification. The GIN provides

identification for the entire group of animals. As we have already

noted, the number itself does not need to be attached to each

individual animal.

Official Identification Devices and Methods for Equines

Equines would have to be identified by one of the following

methods:

A description sufficient to identify the individual

equine, as determined by a State or Tribal animal health official in

the State or Tribe of destination, or APHIS representative, including,

but not limited to, name, age, breed, color, gender, distinctive

markings, and unique and permanent forms of identification when present

(e.g., brands, tattoos, scars, cowlicks, or blemishes); or

Electronic identification that complies with ISO 11784/

11785 (ISO 11784 defines the code structure of the number which is

embedded in the transponder's microchip. ISO 11785 defines the

technical specifications of how the transceiver communicates with the

transponder.); or

Digital photographs of the equine sufficient to identify

the individual equine, as determined by a State or Tribal animal health

official in the State or Tribe of destination, or APHIS representative;

or

For equines being commercially transported for slaughter,

a USDA backtag authorized by part 88 of this chapter.

The identification devices and methods listed above are all

currently used on horses and other equine species in the United States

and can provide for adequate traceability when they are moved

interstate.

Official Identification Devices and Methods for Poultry

Poultry would have to be identified either by means of a GIN, or

with sealed and numbered leg bands. These identification methods are

consistent with those required for poultry flocks participating in the

National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) regulations (9

 

[[Page 50089]]

 

CFR parts 145 through 147), and thus would not represent a change for

most poultry producers.

Official Identification Devices and Methods for Sheep and Goats

Currently, official identification devices or methods approved by

the Administrator for sheep and goats required to be officially

identified for interstate movement are listed in the scrapie

regulations in 9 CFR 79.2.(a). These include electronic implants,

official eartags, USDA backtags, official registry tattoos, premises

identification eartags, and any other device or method approved by the

Administrator. The process for approving official identification tags

and new identification types for sheep or goats is described in Sec.

79.2(f) and (g), respectively. This proposed rule would not change any

of those requirements. We would simply refer the reader to part 79.

Official Identification Devices and Methods for Swine

Currently, official identification devices or methods approved by

the Administrator for swine needing to be officially identified for

interstate movement are listed in Sec. 71.19. These include official

eartags, USDA backtags, official swine tattoos and other tattoos, ear

notching, and any other device or method approved by the Administrator.

As is the case for sheep and goats, this proposed rule would not change

those requirements, since, in our view, they already provide for

adequate traceability. We would refer the reader to Sec. 71.19.

Official Identification Devices and Methods for Captive Cervids

Interstate movement requirements for captive cervids are currently

included in the tuberculosis regulations in part 77. Except for captive

cervids from accredited-free States or zones, all captive cervids

moving interstate are required under part 77 to be officially

identified. As discussed in detail below, we are proposing in this

document to amend part 77 to align the requirements in that part with

our proposed traceability requirements. To avoid redundancy, this

proposed rule would simply state that captive cervids that are required

to be officially identified under these proposed regulations for

interstate movement must be identified by a device or method authorized

by part 77. It should be noted that captive cervids moved interstate

from an accredited-free State or zone would not be exempted from

official identification requirements under the traceability

regulations. As discussed further below, we would also amend part 77 to

indicate that such captive cervids would be subject to the traceability

requirements and thus not exempted from the requirement that they be

officially identified in order to move interstate.

Official Identification Requirements for Interstate Movement

In the paragraphs that follow, we discuss proposed requirements for

each species of covered livestock pertaining to aspects of official

identification other than the devices or methods themselves. Included

in this section are requirements for when covered livestock must be

officially identified for interstate movement and, in some cases, other

administrative requirements pertaining to official identification.

When Cattle and Bison Must Be Officially Identified

With certain exceptions, cattle and bison moved interstate would

have to be officially identified prior to the interstate movement using

one of the official identification devices or methods previously

discussed. These exceptions, which include the use, in lieu of official

identification, of devices or methods agreed to by the shipping and

receiving States or Tribes, are discussed in detail in the paragraphs

that follow.

An exception would be made for cattle and bison moving interstate

as part of a commuter herd with a copy of the commuter herd agreement.

In this proposed rule, we define commuter herd as a herd of cattle or

bison moved interstate during the course of normal livestock management

operations and without change of ownership directly between two

premises, as provided in a commuter herd agreement. We propose to

define commuter herd agreement as a written agreement between the

owner(s) of a herd of cattle or bison and the animal health officials

for the States and/or Tribes of origin and destination specifying the

conditions required for the interstate movement from one premises to

another in the course of normal livestock management operations and

specifying the time period, up to 1 year, that the agreement is

effective. A commuter herd agreement would be subject to annual

renewal. Meeting commuter-herd requirements in lieu of official

identification requirements would still provide adequate traceability

in our view.

We would also provide an exception from the requirement for

official identification prior to interstate movement for cattle and

bison moved directly from one State through another State and back to

the original State. This exception would allow for movement without

official identification in cases where State borders are configured

such that a truck containing cattle or bison would pass through a

second State when moving the animals to a second location within the

State of origin. An example of this type of movement would be a

shipment of cattle originating at a location in Texas and passing

through Oklahoma territory en route to a second location in Texas.

Because the animals would not exit the truck en route and therefore

would not be commingled with other animals, we do not view official

identification of the individual animals in the shipment as necessary.

Cattle and bison would also be allowed to move interstate without

being officially identified prior to the movement if the interstate

movement is directly to an approved tagging site, provided that the

cattle and bison are officially identified there before they are

commingled with cattle and bison from other premises. In this proposed

rule, we define approved tagging site as a premises, authorized by

APHIS or State or Tribal animal health officials, where livestock can

be officially identified on behalf of their owner or the person in

possession, care, or control of the animals when they are brought to

the premises. Such sites would afford producers a safe and convenient

alternative, not provided for in the existing regulations, to

identifying their animals themselves. This proposed exception is

intended to allow producers to take advantage of this alternative when

they are unable to tag animals at their farm or ranch.

As discussed earlier, we would also allow cattle and bison to move

interstate without using one of the types of official identification

specifically approved for that purpose under these proposed regulations

by the Administrator if the cattle and bison are moved between shipping

and receiving States or Tribes with another form of identification,

including but not limited to brands, tattoos, and breed registry

certificates, as agreed upon by animal health officials in the shipping

and receiving States or Tribes. In such situations, the shipping and

receiving States or Tribes would determine whether that other form of

identification is sufficient to enable the States or Tribes to meet

their own traceability needs. This exemption is in keeping with our

goal of allowing sufficient flexibility for States and Tribes to employ

the traceability options that work best for them. If Tribal land

straddles a State line and the Tribe does not have a separate

traceability system

 

[[Page 50090]]

 

from the States in which it is contained, animal movements within the

Tribal land that cross the State border would be considered interstate

movements under this proposed rule. In such cases, the cattle and bison

could still be moved across the State border using a form of

identification agreed upon by animal health officials in the States of

origin and destination.

As described in greater detail below, we plan to phase in our

official identification requirements for cattle and bison, applying

them immediately upon the effective date of the final rule for this

proposed rule to certain classes of cattle and bison and over time to

other classes of cattle and bison. Until the date on which the official

identification requirements apply to all cattle and bison, cattle and

bison would also be eligible for interstate movement without official

identification if they are moved directly to a recognized slaughtering

establishment or directly to no more than one approved livestock

facility approved to handle ``for slaughter only'' animals (cattle or

bison that, when marketed, are presented/sold for slaughter only) and

then directly to a recognized slaughtering establishment; and

They are moved interstate with a USDA-approved backtag; or

A USDA-approved backtag is applied to the cattle or bison

at the recognized slaughtering establishment or federally approved

livestock facility approved to handle ``for slaughter only'' animals.

Because backtags are not considered to be a permanent form of

identification, we are proposing to discontinue allowing the use of

USDA backtags as official identification for cattle and bison. We

would, however, allow their use in lieu of official identification for

animals going to slaughter. We therefore propose to define United

States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved backtag as a backtag

issued by APHIS that provides a temporary unique identification for

each animal. The inclusion of the word temporary is what distinguishes

this proposed definition from the otherwise identical definition of

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) backtag in Sec. 71.1.

The phase-in of the proposed official identification requirements

for cattle and bison would proceed as described in the paragraphs that

follow. Beginning on the effective date of the final rule for this

proposed rule, the official identification requirements would apply to

all sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or over, dairy

cattle of any age, cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo or

recreational events, and cattle and bison used for shows or

exhibitions. Because cattle and bison belonging to these categories

tend to have longer lifespans than feeder animals and move around more,

they have more opportunities for commingling and thus present a greater

risk of spreading disease via interstate movement. It is therefore

necessary to prioritize traceability of these animals over feeder

animals. APHIS requests comment on this determination and the decision

to implement the requirements for this subgroup first.

APHIS recognizes that the second stage of the phase-in process, the

expansion of the official identification requirements to all remaining

classes of cattle and bison, estimated to be approximately 20 million

animals annually, could disrupt the management and marketing of cattle

if not implemented properly. Critical to successful implementation is

to ensure that our proposed official identification requirements are

being implemented effectively throughout the production chain for all

cattle required to be officially identified in the initial phase.

Therefore, we are proposing to conduct an assessment of the workability

of the requirements for cattle in the initial phase before expanding

the official identification requirements to cover all remaining classes

of cattle and bison. When we are ready to begin that assessment, we

will publish a notice in the Federal Register. The notice will describe

the procedures we will use in our assessment, as well as its

objectives.

The assessment will involve an advisory group with industry

representation from sectors most affected by the official

identification requirements. The advisory group will provide feedback

on the effectiveness of various elements of the initial phase of

identifying cattle and offer recommendations regarding the application

of the official identification requirements to beef cattle under 18

months of age.

APHIS requests comment on our proposal to apply the official

identification requirements discussed above to all remaining classes of

cattle, in particular, on the costs and benefits of doing so and on any

practical difficulties or unintended consequences that may result.

Further, we request comment on how APHIS should conduct the assessment

process described above. We are particularly interested in comments on

what information APHIS should collect and the methods by which it

should be collected.

We are proposing to delay implementing official identification

requirements for beef cattle under 18 months of age until 70 percent of

all cattle initially required to be officially identified are found to

be in compliance with official identification requirements. We would

evaluate a representative cross-section of the cattle population to

determine whether the 70-percent compliance rate has been attained.

While higher rates of compliance are ultimately expected and necessary,

the 70-percent figure would represent a significant increase in the use

of official eartags on adult cattle, indicating that effective tagging

practices are in place. We will ask the advisory group, as part of

their review of the initial phase, to consider and comment on our data

and the evaluation methodology we used for determining that the 70-

percent rate of compliance has been attained. As indicated above, the

advisory group would also provide feedback that would aid us in making

our determination that the official identification requirements were

being effectively implemented during the initial phase.

Additionally, we welcome comments and suggestions from the public

on factors other than compliance rate that APHIS should consider when

assessing the effectiveness of the initial official identification

requirements for cattle in enhancing traceability.

APHIS will consider the advisory report and all feedback from the

public regarding the official identification of beef cattle under 18

months of age. When we have completed our assessment and determined

that expansion of the official identification requirements for cattle

is viable, APHIS will publish a notice of the availability of the

assessment in the Federal Register and take comments from the public.

If after reviewing the comments, APHIS decides to move forward with the

implementation of the second stage of the phase-in process, APHIS will

publish an additional notice in the Federal Register discussing the

comments and announcing the date (1 year after the date of publication

of the notice) upon which the official identification requirements will

become effective for all cattle and bison.

When Sheep and Goats Must Be Officially Identified

Under this proposed rule, sheep and goats moving interstate would

have to be officially identified prior to the interstate movement

unless they are exempted under the scrapie regulations in part 79 from

official identification requirements or are officially identified after

the interstate movement, as provided in part 79.

 

[[Page 50091]]

 

When Swine Must Be Officially Identified

Swine moving interstate would have to be officially identified in

accordance with Sec. 71.19 of the existing regulations. Included in

that section are requirements for the handling and administration of

official identification devices or methods.

When Equines Must Be Officially Identified

Horses and other equines moving interstate would have to be

officially identified prior to interstate movement in accordance with

these proposed regulations or identified as agreed upon by State or

Tribal officials in the jurisdictions involved in the movement, or, if

the horses are being commercially transported to slaughter, in

accordance with part 88.

When Poultry Must Be Officially Identified

The proposed requirements for poultry are similar to those for

equines. Poultry moving interstate would have to be officially

identified prior to interstate movement or identified as agreed upon by

State or Tribal officials in the shipping and receiving jurisdictions.

When Captive Cervids Must Be Officially Identified

Captive cervids moving interstate would have to be officially

identified prior to interstate movement in accordance with the

tuberculosis regulations in part 77.

 

Use of Multiple Official Identification Devices

 

The use of multiple official identification devices or methods with

multiple official identification numbers for a single animal has the

potential to cause confusion and impede efforts to track the movements

of that animal. We propose, therefore, to prohibit the use of more than

one official identification device or method on an animal, beginning on

the effective date of the final rule for this proposed rule, with some

exceptions. Exceptions to the prohibition would be granted under the

following circumstances when the use of more than one official

identification device or method may be appropriate or necessary:

A State or Tribal animal health official or an area

veterinarian in charge could approve the application of a second

official identification device in specific cases when the need to

maintain the identity of an animal is intensified, such as for export

shipments, quarantined herds, field trials, experiments, or disease

surveys, but not merely for convenience in identifying animals. The

person applying the second official identification device would have to

record the date on which the second official identification device was

added, the official number of the device already applied to the animal,

and the reason for the additional official identification device or

method. Those records would have to be maintained for a minimum of 5

years.

An eartag with an animal identification number (AIN)

beginning with the 840 prefix (either radio frequency identification or

visual-only tag) may be applied to an animal that is already officially

identified with an eartag with a NUES number, as AIN devices are

commonly used for herd management purposes. The animal's official

identification number on the existing official identification eartag

must be recorded and reported in accordance with the AIN device

distribution policies, which can be found in our Animal Disease

Traceability General Standards Document.

A brucellosis vaccination eartag with a NUES number could

be applied for management purposes in accordance with the existing

brucellosis regulations to an animal that is already officially

identified under the traceability regulations.

 

Removal or Loss of Official Identification Devices

 

We propose to modify certain existing requirements pertaining to

the removal or loss of official identification devices. The existing

regulations in Sec. 71.22 state that official identification devices

are intended to provide permanent identification of livestock and to

ensure the ability to find the source of animal disease outbreaks.

Section 71.22 also prohibits the intentional removal of such devices

except at the time of slaughter. We would incorporate that prohibition

into our proposed regulations in part 90 in modified form, allowing for

removal of official identification devices not only at slaughter, but

also at any other location where the animal may be upon its death or as

otherwise approved by the State animal health official or an area

veterinarian in charge when a device needs to be replaced. This

proposed change would codify existing practices.

We would provide that all man-made identification devices affixed

to covered livestock moved interstate must be removed at slaughter and

correlated with the carcasses through final inspection by means

approved by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). If

diagnostic samples are taken, the identification devices must be

packaged with the samples and be correlated with the carcasses through

final inspection by means approved by FSIS. Devices collected at

slaughter must be made available to APHIS and FSIS. This proposed

requirement is consistent with FSIS's requirements and would enhance

our ability to conduct traceback investigations in the event of a

positive post-mortem diagnosis.

We would further propose that all official identification devices

affixed to covered livestock carcasses moved interstate for rendering

must be removed at the rendering facility and made available to APHIS.

This is a new requirement that would also enhance our traceback

capabilities. APHIS requests comment on the costs and benefits of this

proposed requirement.

The proposed rule would not require that producers keep records of

animals that are tagged on their farms, moved onto or from their farms,

or die on their farms. The percentage of animals that die on farms is

so small in comparison with those that are slaughtered or rendered,

that the overall access to terminated animal records would not be

significantly impacted negatively if those records were not made

available to APHIS. Producers are encouraged to record such

information, however, for general herd-management recordkeeping and, if

needed, to support disease investigation activities that may include

their operations,

Under this proposed rule, if an animal were to lose an official

identification device and need a new one, the person applying the new

one would have to record the following information about the event and

maintain the record for 5 years: The date the new official

identification device was added; the official identification number on

the device; and the official identification number on the old device,

if known. This proposed recordkeeping requirement, which is a new one,

would aid State, Tribal, and Federal officials when it is necessary to

trace such animals.

 

Replacement of Official Identification Devices

 

We are also proposing some new requirements pertaining to the

replacement of official identification devices for reasons other than

loss. Though in practice there are circumstances that might necessitate

the replacement of such devices, the existing regulations are silent on

the matter. To prevent any confusion regarding when official

identification devices may be replaced in accordance

 

[[Page 50092]]

 

with the regulations, it is necessary to specify those circumstances to

the extent possible. We are therefore proposing to provide that a State

or Tribal animal health official or an area veterinarian in charge

could authorize the replacement of an official identification device

under circumstances that include, but are not limited to, the

following:

Deterioration of the device such that loss of the device

appears likely or the number can no longer be read;

Infection at the site where the device is attached,

necessitating application of a device at another location (e.g., a

slightly different location of an eartag in the ear);

Malfunction of the electronic component of a radio

frequency identification (RFID) device; or

Incompatibility or inoperability of the electronic

component of an RFID device with the management system or unacceptable

functionality of the management system due to use of an RFID device.

In order to facilitate traceback, we also propose to require that

records be kept when official identification devices are replaced under

such circumstances. The person replacing the device would have to

record the following information about the event and maintain the

record for 5 years:

The date on which the device was removed;

Contact information for the location where the device was

removed;

The official identification number (to the extent

possible) on the device removed;

The type of device removed (e.g., metal eartag, RFID

eartag);

The reason for the removal of the device;

The new official identification number on the replacement

device; and

The type of replacement device applied.

 

Sale of Transfer of Official Identification Devices

 

The sale or transfer of official identification devices between

producers may complicate efforts to trace animals. We therefore provide

that official identification devices may not be sold or otherwise

transferred from the premises to which they were originally issued to

another premises without the authorization of the Administrator or a

State or Tribal animal health official.

 

Documentation Requirements for Interstate Movement (Sec. 90.5)

 

Generally, under these proposed regulations, covered livestock

moving interstate would have to be accompanied by an ICVI, unless the

regulations allow a specific movement without an ICVI, or alternative

documentation is agreed upon by the shipping and receiving States or

Tribes, or another form of documentation is required for a particular

species under the existing disease program regulations in 9 CFR

subchapter C.

Information requirements for ICVIs have already been discussed

above. We are also proposing to add new requirements for the issuance

and use of ICVIs and other documents used for interstate movement of

animals. The person directly responsible for animals leaving a premises

would be responsible for ensuring that the animals are accompanied by

the ICVI or other interstate movement document. The APHIS

representative, State, or Tribal representative, or accredited

veterinarian who issues an ICVI or other document required for the

interstate movement of animals would have to forward a copy of the ICVI

or other document to the State animal health official of the State of

origin within 5 working days. The State or Tribal animal health

official in the State or Tribe of origin, in turn, would have to

forward a copy of the document to the State of destination within 5

working days. These proposed requirements would ensure that such

documents would be issued only by qualified personnel, would accompany

the animals being moved, and would be made available in a timely manner

for use by APHIS and State animal health officials in traceback

investigations. The proposed 5-day limit for forwarding is intended to

facilitate a traceback and/or trace forward investigation if an animal

moved interstate in accordance with the regulations were found to be

infected. Requiring the person issuing the ICVI or other document only

to forward it to the State of origin rather than the State of

destination as well would lessen his or her paperwork burden.

These proposed requirements are similar to those in Sec. 78.2 for

the handling of certificates, but have been streamlined for clarity and

adapted in such a way as to ensure to the greatest extent possible that

the documents are received by all personnel that may need them for

conducting traceback investigations. As discussed later in this

document, we would amend Sec. 78.2 so that the document handling

requirements there and in these proposed traceability regulations would

be consistent.

It should be noted that the proposed timeframes and forwarding

requirements are based on the handling of paper documents. As is now

the practice generally when APHIS or State veterinarians issue

veterinary certificates, if ICVIs or other documents were to be issued

electronically, they would be transmitted simultaneously to both the

State of origin and the State of destination.

We are proposing certain exemptions to the requirement that cattle

and bison moving interstate must be accompanied by an ICVI. Such cattle

and bison would be exempt from the requirement under the following

circumstances:

They are moved directly to a recognized slaughtering

establishment, or directly to an approved livestock facility approved

to handle ``for slaughter only'' animals and then directly to a

recognized slaughtering establishment, and they are accompanied by an

owner-shipper statement.

They are moved directly to an approved livestock facility

with an owner-shipper statement and do not move interstate from the

facility unless accompanied by an ICVI.

They are moved from the farm of origin for veterinary

medical examination or treatment and returned to the farm of origin

without change in ownership.

They are moved directly from one State through another

State and back to the original State.

They are moved as a commuter herd with a copy of the

commuter herd agreement.

Additionally, cattle and bison under 18 months of age may

be moved between shipping and receiving States or Tribes with

documentation other than an ICVI, e.g., a brand inspection certificate

when a brand is used for identification, as agreed upon by animal

health officials in the shipping and receiving States or Tribes.

A number of these exceptions, such as those for movement of

commuter herds, transit through a second State and return to the

original State, and movement to slaughter, dovetail with the exemptions

allowed from official identification requirements. Because of the other

safeguards associated with such interstate movements, an ICVI is not

considered to be necessary. The exemption for movement between States

or Tribes that have agreed upon an alternative form of documentation

would not be allowed for sexually intact cattle or bison 18 months of

age or older. Adult breeding cattle moving interstate warrant

inspection, which must be documented on the ICVI, because their

longevity and contacts with other livestock make them a higher

 

[[Page 50093]]

 

risk for exposure to and transmission of disease.

Official identification numbers of cattle or bison moving

interstate would have to be recorded on the ICVI or other documentation

accompanying them, except under the following circumstances:

If the cattle or bison are moved from an approved

livestock facility directly to a recognized slaughtering establishment;

or

If the cattle and bison are sexually intact cattle or

bison under 18 months of age, or are steers or spayed heifers of any

age. This exception would not apply, however, to sexually intact dairy

cattle of any age or to cattle or bison used for rodeo, exhibition, or

recreational purposes.

We recognize that recording identification of feeder cattle and

bison in ICVIs and other documentation would significantly slow

commerce in those animals, which are often moved in large numbers. The

other requirements proposed for these animals will nevertheless improve

their traceability. Requiring official identification numbers for other

cattle and bison to be recorded on ICVIs is a priority given their

longer lifespans and increased opportunity for commingling with animals

at different locations.

Horses and other equine species moving interstate would have to be

accompanied by an ICVI or other interstate movement document as agreed

to by the States or Tribes involved in the movement. Equines being

commercially shipped to slaughter would have to be accompanied by

documentation in accordance with part 88. Equine infectious anemia

(EIA) reactors would have to be accompanied by documentation as

required by 9 CFR part 75. Under the existing regulations, equines

other than slaughter equines or EIA reactors generally are not required

to be accompanied by documentation for interstate movement. The more

comprehensive documentation requirements we are proposing here would

improve traceability by closing a major gap in the regulations.

Poultry moving interstate would have to be accompanied by an ICVI,

with some exceptions similar to those allowed for cattle and bison when

other safeguards are in place. Specifically, the proposed exceptions to

the ICVI requirements for poultry are as follows:

The poultry are from a flock participating in the NPIP and

are accompanied by the documentation required under the NPIP

regulations for participation in that program;

The poultry are moved directly to a recognized

slaughtering establishment;

The poultry are moved from the farm of origin for

veterinary medical examination, treatment, or diagnostic purposes and

either returned to the farm of origin without change in ownership or

euthanized and disposed of at the veterinary facility;

The poultry are moved directly from one State through

another State and back to the original State;

The poultry are moved between the shipping and receiving

States or Tribes with a VS Form 9-3 or documentation other than an

ICVI, as agreed upon by animal health officials in the shipping and

receiving States or Tribes; or

The poultry are moved under permit in accordance with 9

CFR part 82.

As we have noted previously, in the overview section of this

preamble, traceability-related requirements in our existing regulations

for some species of covered livestock, e.g., sheep and goats, swine,

and captive cervids, are already sufficiently comprehensive and

rigorous at this time. For that reason, this proposed rule would not

alter existing documentation requirements for sheep and goats, swine,

and captive cervids moving interstate. Sheep and goats moved interstate

would have to be accompanied by documentation as required by the

scrapie regulations in part 79. Swine moved interstate would have to be

accompanied by documentation in accordance with Sec. 71.19. Captive

cervids moving interstate would have to be accompanied by documentation

as required under part 77. Captive cervids moving interstate from an

accredited-free State would be subject to the proposed traceability

requirements and, therefore, would have to have an ICVI or other

movement document.

APHIS requests comment on the proposed requirement that covered

livestock being moved interstate be accompanied by an ICVI or other

movement documentation. In particular, we request comment on the

benefits of veterinary inspection in the cases described above when

ICVIs would be used. Will veterinary inspection, especially inspection

of large herds, yield substantial benefits? We request comment on

whether the proposal for veterinary inspection will impose costs on

businesses, particularly on small or very small businesses.

 

Performance Standards for Traceability

 

When livestock are found to be infected with or exposed to a

disease, we take action to prevent that animal from spreading it via

interstate movement. Because the infected or exposed animal may already

have had contact with other animals, however, we need to determine

which other animals have had contact with the sick or exposed

livestock, find them, and take appropriate actions to be sure they do

not spread the disease. To do this, we need to trace the prior

movements of the livestock found to be infected or exposed and then

trace the forward movements of animals with which they may have come

into contact. Our ability to monitor, control, and eradicate livestock

diseases is contingent upon our being able to trace livestock movements

forward and backward. Our focus in this rulemaking is on tracing

interstate animal movements.

Though we do not now have the data necessary to establish

performance standards for States and Tribes and are not proposing to

add any to the regulations at this time, in the paragraphs that follow,

we discuss our current thinking on the issue. Additional information

regarding performance standards is available on our traceability Web

site at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/. We welcome comments

from the public on all aspects of this issue. We propose to reserve a

section in the regulations for the performance standards that we plan

to establish through a future rulemaking.

To evaluate a State's or Tribe's ability to meet the traceability

performance standards, APHIS would make use of animals it selects as

``reference animals.'' APHIS could randomly select reference animals

for a test exercise or could select animals that were included in an

actual disease traceback investigation as reference animals. However,

animals would be eligible to be used as reference animals only if they

were moved interstate on or after the date they are required to be

officially identified and only if they are identified with an official

identification number issued on or after the effective date of the

final rule for this proposed rule. These eligibility criteria would

ensure that animals moved interstate prior to this rulemaking would not

be included in the pool of reference animals. States and Tribes would

be evaluated on their ability to trace animals moved in accordance with

the new regulations only.

As we currently envision the performance standards, States and

Tribes would have to be able to accomplish the four activities listed

below, which are necessary components of a trace investigation, within

a specified timeframe for any species covered under the traceability

 

[[Page 50094]]

 

regulations. These activities would measure a State's or Tribe's

ability to trace the movement of reference animals backwards or

forwards as necessary, depending on whether it is a shipping or

receiving State or Tribe.

The receiving State or Tribe of a reference animal

determines the State or Tribe in which the animal was officially

identified and notifies that State or Tribe of the reference animal's

official identification number.

The State or Tribe where a reference animal was officially

identified confirms that it has documentation that the official

identification number was issued within its jurisdiction and that it

has contact information for the person who received that identification

number.

The receiving State or Tribe of a reference animal

determines the State or Tribe from which the animal was moved

interstate into its jurisdiction and notifies that State or Tribe of

the reference animal's official identification number.

The State or Tribe that receives notification that a

reference animal moved interstate from its jurisdiction determines the

address or location from which the reference animal was shipped.

We intend to conduct baseline studies by collecting information on

States' and Tribes' abilities to carry out those four activities for

each species covered by these regulations. The data we collect will

enable us to establish firm measurements by which we could evaluate the

performance of States and Tribes.

 

Traceability Evaluations of States and Tribes

 

Because we have not yet finalized the performance standards, we are

not proposing at this time to add to the regulations a description of

the process we will use to evaluate States' and Tribes' performance or

requirements for conducting such evaluations. In the paragraphs that

follow, however, we discuss our current thinking on those issues. We

welcome comments from the public regarding the evaluation process. We

are reserving an additional section in the regulations for evaluation

requirements that we plan to establish through future rulemaking.

Regardless of the final form the evaluation requirements take, we

anticipate that Tribal lands within a State's boundaries would be

included in the evaluation of that State unless the Tribe has a

separate traceability system. To ensure equal treatment for Tribes, any

Tribe wishing to have a separate traceability system and be evaluated

separately from the State(s) in which its lands are located could

request separate consideration at any time.

As we currently envision the evaluation process, if a State or

Tribe did not meet all traceability performance standards for a

particular species but performed within what we determined to be an

acceptable range, the State or Tribe would have opportunity to take

corrective action without penalty. APHIS would reevaluate the State or

Tribe upon request of State or Tribal animal health officials. If the

State or Tribe did not request reevaluation or failed to meet all

traceability performance standards for the species after 3 years,

additional traceability requirements, which are described below, could

be applied to the interstate movement of the applicable species from

the State or Tribe. Animal movements from States or Tribes that fail to

meet performance standards may be associated with a greater risk of

spreading disease than animal movements from compliant States or

Tribes. For that reason, the need to trace animal movements from the

former category of States and Tribes may be more acute, necessitating

more stringent traceability requirements.

If an evaluation were to show that a State or Tribe's performance

was not within a defined acceptable range for a species, the

Administrator would notify the State or Tribe in writing that

additional traceability requirements would apply to the interstate

movement of the applicable species from the State or Tribe beginning 60

days from the date of notification. The State or Tribe could appeal the

decision in writing within 15 days of receiving notification. The

appeal would have to provide all of the facts and reasons the State or

Tribe believes that the Administrator should consider in rejecting the

results of the evaluation and ordering a new one. The Administrator

would grant or deny the appeal in writing, as promptly as circumstances

allow, stating the reasons for the decision.

Any additional traceability requirements for States or Tribes not

performing within an acceptable range would be established by the

Administrator in each case, taking into consideration the results of

the traceability evaluation, in order to enhance traceability of the

species for which the performance standards are not being met. The

additional requirements could include, but would not be limited to,

requirements to apply or record official identification that would

otherwise not be required under the regulations, or requirements for

supplemental documentation, such as movement permits. APHIS would

reevaluate the State or Tribe at the request of State or Tribal animal

health officials. So that the public would be informed, APHIS would

announce the imposition or removal of any additional traceability

requirements through documents published in the Federal Register.

 

Preemption (Sec. 90.8)

 

Our proposed traceability regulations would preempt State, Tribal,

and local laws and regulations that are in conflict with them, with

certain exceptions. In keeping with our objective of allowing States

and Tribes to develop the traceability systems that work best for them,

we would allow them the latitude to impose some additional requirements

for the movement of animals into their jurisdictions, so long as those

additional requirements are consistent with our traceability goals and

do not interfere with the right of another State or Tribe to determine

what kind of traceability system to employ. Specifically, we would

allow States and Tribes to require that covered livestock moving into

their jurisdictions be officially identified even if those covered

livestock are exempt from official identification requirements under

these proposed regulations. The State or Tribe of destination could

not, however, specify an official identification device or method, such

as an RFID tag, that would have to be used by the shipping State or

Tribe. Nor could the State or Tribe of destination compel the shipping

State or Tribe to develop a particular kind of traceability system or

change its existing system in order to meet the requirements of the

State or Tribe of destination.

 

Changes to 9 CFR Part 71

 

The addition of the new traceability part would necessitate some

changes to part 71, which contains general provisions pertaining to the

interstate movement of livestock. In Sec. 71.1, we would revise the

definitions of animal identification number (AIN), group/lot

identification number (GIN), livestock, official eartag, official

identification device or method, and premises identification number

(PIN) so that they would match the definitions we are proposing in our

traceability regulations. We would also replace the existing

definitions of moved (movement) in interstate commerce and United

States Department of Agriculture backtag, respectively, with our

proposed definitions of move and United States Department of

Agriculture (USDA) approved backtag and add to Sec. 71.1 the

definitions of flock-based

 

[[Page 50095]]

 

number system, flock identification number (FIN), National Uniform

Eartagging System (NUES), and official identification number that we

are proposing to include in part 90. We would remove and reserve Sec.

71.18, which pertains to the identification of cattle aged 2 years and

over for interstate movement, and Sec. 71.22, which addresses the

removal and loss of official identification devices. Both sets of

requirements are addressed in the proposed new traceability part.

Finally, we would make some minor editorial changes to Sec. 71.19, so

that the terminology used therein would be consistent with that of

proposed part 90.

 

Changes to 9 CFR Parts 77 and 78

 

Adding the proposed traceability requirements to the regulations

also necessitates some changes to the existing regulations pertaining

to tuberculosis, in part 77, and brucellosis, in part 78. For species

other than cattle and bison, the proposed traceability regulations, in

most cases, refer the reader to the appropriate existing regulations

for those species; for cattle and bison, however, the proposed

traceability regulations will impose additional and, in some cases,

slightly different requirements. To avoid potential conflicts with the

traceability requirements, we are therefore proposing some amendments

to the tuberculosis and brucellosis regulations. In both parts 77 and

78, we are proposing to amend certain definitions. We are also

proposing to amend the regulatory text in parts 77 and 78 to

incorporate the new and amended definitions and to ensure that the

requirements in those parts pertaining to official identification of

animals moving interstate and documentation of such movements are

consistent with, when not more stringent than, the requirements in the

proposed traceability part.

We are proposing to amend Sec. 77.2, which contains definitions

applicable to all of part 77, to revise the definitions of animal

identification number (AIN), livestock, official eartag, officially

identified, and premises identification number (PIN), remove the

definitions of certificate, moved, moved directly, and premises of

origin identification, and add definitions of directly, interstate

certificate of veterinary inspection (ICVI), location-based numbering

system, location identification (LID) number, move, National Uniform

Eartagging System (NUES), official identification number, recognized

slaughtering establishment, and United States Department of Agriculture

(USDA) approved backtag as discussed above. In Sec. 77.5, which

contains definitions applicable to cattle and bison, we are proposing

to remove the definition of approved slaughtering establishment and add

a definition of recognized slaughtering establishment in its place.

The existing definition of officially identified in Sec. 77.2,

referred to earlier under our discussion of official identification

devices and methods for captive cervids, allows for the use of official

eartags, tattoos and hot brands as means of official identification. We

propose to define officially identified in Sec. 77.2 as identified by

means of an official eartag. As noted previously, eliminating tattoos

and hot brands as means of official identification in part 77 would

avoid a potential conflict between our tuberculosis regulations and our

proposed traceability requirements.

Many of the amendments we are proposing to the remainder of part 77

are intended to incorporate the revised or new definitions into the

regulatory text. Throughout part 77, sections listing interstate

movement requirements (for cattle and bison, Sec. Sec. 77.10, 77.12,

77.14, and 77.16; for captive cervids, Sec. Sec. 77.25, 77.27, 77.29,

77.31, 77.32, 77.35, 77.36, 77.37, and 77.40) contain references to

certificates and/or approved slaughtering establishments. Wherever

those terms occur, the text would be amended to refer to ICVIs and

recognized slaughtering establishments instead.

We are proposing some additional changes to make the regulations

clearer. Current Sec. 77.8 states that cattle and bison originating in

an accredited-free State or zone may be moved interstate without

restriction. Even under the existing regulations, that provision is not

entirely accurate, since cattle over 2 years of age must meet the

requirements of Sec. 71.18 to move interstate. We therefore are

proposing to amend Sec. 77.8 to state that cattle and bison from an

accredited free State or zone may be moved interstate in accordance

with proposed part 90 (as noted earlier, proposed traceability

requirements for cattle and bison would replace the existing ones in

Sec. 71.18) and without further restriction under the tuberculosis

regulations.

Other proposed changes to part 77 are intended to eliminate

possible conflicts with the proposed traceability regulations while

also streamlining the existing ones. Under current Sec. 77.23, captive

cervids from an accredited-free State or zone may be moved interstate

without restriction. We are proposing to amend that section to state

that captive cervids may move interstate from an accredited-free State

or zone in accordance with the traceability regulations, (i.e., as

noted previously, they would no longer be exempted from official

identification and documentation requirements) and without further

restriction under the tuberculosis regulations. In a number of places

the tuberculosis regulations allow for interstate movement of cattle

and bison to slaughter (Sec. Sec. 77.10, 77.12, 77.14) without the

USDA approved backtags required under the proposed traceability

regulations or for interstate movement of captive cervids (Sec. Sec.

77.25, 77.27, 77.29, 77.32, 77.35, 77.36, and 77.37) either to

slaughter without backtags or to other destinations without the

official identification required under the proposed traceability

regulations. We are proposing to amend these various sections to

indicate that animals moving interstate under the tuberculosis

regulations must, at a minimum, meet the traceability requirements of

proposed part 90, e.g., have backtags if being moved to slaughter, and

meet any additional conditions that apply under the tuberculosis

regulations. Where the existing regulations allow premises of origin

identification in lieu of official identification, e.g., in Sec. Sec.

77.10, 77.12, and 77.14, we would eliminate the premises-of-origin

alternative to bring our tuberculosis requirements into line with our

proposed traceability requirements. In some cases, the sections being

amended in part 77 would undergo some limited reorganization, in order

to avoid unnecessary repetition. For example, we would remove some

paragraphs that focus specifically on identification of animals moving

to slaughter and instead refer to those requirements in amended

introductory text. The changes we are proposing to part 77 would ensure

that in all cases, the identification requirements in the tuberculosis

regulations would, at a minimum, be equivalent to our proposed

traceability requirements.

We propose to amend Sec. 78.1, which defines terms pertaining to

the regulation of brucellosis, in a manner similar to our proposed

changes to Sec. 77.2. Specifically, we would revise the definitions of

animal identification number (AIN), dairy cattle, directly, market

cattle identification test cattle, official eartag, and recognized

slaughtering establishment, remove the definitions of certificate,

official identification device or method, and rodeo bulls, and add

definitions of commuter herd, commuter herd agreement, interstate

certificate of

 

[[Page 50096]]

 

veterinary inspection (ICVI), location-based numbering system, location

identification (LID) number, National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES),

official identification number, officially identified, and rodeo

cattle.

The existing definition of market cattle identification test cattle

in Sec. 78.1 defines such cattle as cows and bulls 2 years of age or

over which have been moved to recognized slaughtering establishments,

and test-eligible cattle which are subjected to an official test for

the purposes of movement at farms, ranches, auction markets,

stockyards, quarantined feedlots, or other assembly points. The

definition further states that such cattle shall be identified by an

official eartag and/or United States Department of Agriculture backtag

prior to or at the first market, stockyard, quarantined feedlot, or

slaughtering establishment they reach.

We are proposing here to define market cattle identification test

cattle as cows and bulls 18 months of age or over which have been moved

to recognized slaughtering establishments, and test-eligible cattle

which are subjected to an official test for the purposes of movement at

farms, ranches, auction markets, stockyards, quarantined feedlots, or

other assembly points. Under the proposed definition, such cattle must

be identified with an official identification device or method as

specified in the proposed traceability requirements prior to or at the

first market, stockyard, quarantined feedlot, or slaughtering

establishment they reach. These proposed changes to the definition

bring it into line with our proposed traceability requirements by

lowering from 2 years to 18 months the age of the cattle to which the

requirements apply. By referring the reader to the traceability

requirements for official identification devices and methods, rather

than specifying the tags to be used, as in the existing definition, we

would eliminate the option of using a backtag as official

identification for such cattle, further aligning our brucellosis

regulations with our proposed traceability requirements.

Our proposed definition of rodeo cattle--cattle used at rodeos or

competitive events--takes the place of the existing definition of rodeo

bulls and reflects current usage. Current Sec. 78.14 contains

requirements for the interstate movement of rodeo bulls. We propose to

amend Sec. 78.14 by replacing the term rodeo bulls wherever it is

used, including in the section heading, with rodeo cattle.

Other proposed changes in part 78 align the terminology used in

that part with that of the proposed traceability regulations.

References to certificates in Sec. Sec. 78.2, 78.9, 78.12, 78.14, and

78.20 would be replaced wherever they occur with references to ICVIs.

Current Sec. 78.9(a)(3)(ii), (b)(3)(iv), and (c)(3)(iv) describe

interstate movements that would be covered under our proposed

definitions of commuter herd and commuter herd agreement but do not use

those terms. To achieve greater consistency in our regulations, we

propose to amend those paragraphs by incorporating into them the

commuter herd language used in the proposed traceability regulations.

As noted above, definitions of commuter herd and commuter herd

agreement would be added to Sec. 78.1.

As in part 77 of the existing regulations, there are a number of

provisions in part 78, e.g., in Sec. Sec. 78.5, 78.6, 78.9, 78.12,

78.20, 78.21, 78.23, and 78.24, that, as currently worded, could give

the reader the mistaken impression that the interstate movements

referred to in those provisions are either not restricted or subject to

restriction only under the brucellosis regulations. In all such

instances, we are proposing to amend the text to indicate that the

interstate movements referred to must also meet our proposed

traceability requirements.

Current Sec. 78.2(b)(1) charges the APHIS representative, State

representative, or accredited veterinarian responsible for issuing a

certificate with the task of forwarding a copy of the certificate to

the State animal health official in either the State of origin or the

State of destination. If the APHIS representative, State

representative, or accredited veterinarian issues a permit, he or she

must forward a copy to the State of destination. We propose to amend

that paragraph to require the APHIS, State, or Tribal representative or

accredited veterinarian issuing an ICVI or other interstate movement

document used in lieu of an ICVI or a permit to forward a copy of the

ICVI, other document used in lieu of an ICVI, or permit to the State

animal health official of the State of origin within 5 working days.

The State animal health official of the State of origin must then

forward a copy of the ICVI, other interstate movement document used in

lieu of an ICVI, or permit to the State animal health official of the

State of destination within 5 working days. As discussed earlier, this

proposed change is intended to aid State officials in conducting both

traceback and trace-forward investigations, should they become

necessary.

Finally, we are proposing to add to Sec. 78.5 a statement that

cattle moved interstate under permit in accordance with the brucellosis

regulations are not required to be accompanied by an ICVI or owner-

shipper statement. This proposed addition will help prevent unnecessary

duplication of documentation or confusion about what documents are

required.

 

Executive Order 12866 and Regulatory Flexibility Act

 

This proposed rule has been determined to be significant for the

purposes of Executive Order 12866 and, therefore, has been reviewed by

the Office of Management and Budget.

We have prepared an economic analysis for this rule. The economic

analysis provides a cost-benefit analysis, as required by Executive

Orders 12866 and 13653, and an initial regulatory flexibility analysis

that examines the potential economic effects of this proposed rule on

small entities, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act. The

economic analysis is summarized below. Copies of the full analysis are

available by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

CONTACT or on the Regulations.gov Web site (see ADDRESSES above for

instructions for accessing Regulations.gov).

Based on the information we have, there is no reason to conclude

that adoption of this proposed rule would result in any significant

economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. However, we

do not currently have all of the data necessary for a comprehensive

analysis of the effects of this proposed rule on small entities.

Therefore, we are inviting comments on potential effects. In

particular, we are interested in determining the number and kind of

small entities that may incur benefits or costs from the implementation

of this proposed rule.

We are proposing to establish general traceability regulations for

certain livestock moving interstate. The purpose of this rulemaking is

to improve APHIS' ability to trace such livestock in the event disease

is found. The benefits of this rulemaking are expected to exceed the

costs overall.

While the rule would apply to cattle and bison, horses and other

equine species, poultry, sheep and goats, swine, and captive cervids

(referred to below as covered livestock), the focus of this analysis is

on expected economic effects for the beef and dairy cattle industries.

These enterprises would be most affected operationally by the rule. For

the other species, APHIS would largely maintain and build on the

identification requirements of existing disease program regulations.

 

[[Page 50097]]

 

APHIS requests comment on this determination. We invite comment on

whether the proposed rule would have significant effect on the poultry

industry or other affected industries. We particularly welcome any

quantified estimates of impacts that the proposed rule might have.

Costs for cattle producers are estimated in terms of activities

that would need to be conducted for official animal identification and

issuance of an ICVI, or other movement documentation, for covered

livestock moved interstate. Incremental costs incurred are expected to

vary depending upon a number of factors, including whether an

enterprise does or does not already use eartags to identify individual

cattle. For many operators, costs of official animal identification and

ICVIs would be similar, respectively, to costs associated with current

animal identification practices and the inshipment documentation

currently required by individual States. Existing expenditures for

these activities represent cost baselines for the private sector. To

the extent that official animal identification and ICVIs would simply

replace current requirements, the incremental costs of the rule for

private enterprises would be minimal.

Certain animal disease traceability requirements would be

implemented in stages, thereby lowering near-term costs of the program.

For example, beginning on the effective date of the final rule,

official identification requirements would apply only to sexually

intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or over, dairy cattle of any

age, and cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo, exhibition, or

recreational purposes. Beginning 1 year after APHIS has established

that the official identification requirements for those classes of

cattle and bison to which the requirements would apply in the initial

stage are being implemented effectively throughout the production chain

and that there is a 70 percent rate of compliance with those

requirements, initially exempted cattle and bison under 18 months of

age would need to be officially identified as well, but the

identification numbers of these younger animals would not need to be

recorded on the ICVI.

There are two main cost components for the proposed rule, using

eartags to identify cattle and having certificates for cattle moved

interstate. Approximately 20 percent of cattle are not currently

eartagged as part of routine management practices. Annual incremental

costs of official identification for cattle enterprises are estimated

to total from $12.5 million to $30.5 million, assuming producers who

are not already using official identification would tag their cattle as

an activity separate from other routine management practices. More

likely, producers who are not already using official eartags can be

expected to combine tagging with other routine activities such as

vaccination or de-worming, thereby avoiding the costs associated with

working cattle through a chute an additional time. Under this second

scenario, the total incremental cost of official identification would

be about $3.5 million.

All States currently require a certificate of veterinary

inspection, commonly referred to as a health certificate, for the

inshipment from other States of breeder cattle, and 48 States require

one for feeder cattle. Annual incremental costs of the proposed rule

for ICVIs are estimated to range between $2 million and $3.8 million.

If States currently requiring documentation other than ICVIs, such as

owner-shipper statements or brand certificates, continue to accept

these documents in lieu of an ICVI, as permitted by this proposed rule,

the ICVI requirement in this proposed rule would not result in any

additional costs.

The combined annual costs of the rule for cattle operations of

official identification and movement documentation would range between

$14.5 million and $34.3 million, assuming official identification would

be undertaken separately from other routine management practices; or

between $5.5 million and $7.3 million, assuming that tagging would be

combined with other routine management practices that require working

cattle through a chute.

Currently, States and Tribes bear responsibilities for the

collection, maintenance, and retrieval of data on interstate livestock

movements. These responsibilities would be maintained under the

proposed rule, but the way they are administered would likely change.

Based on availability, Federal funding would be allocated to assist

States and Tribes as necessary in automating data collection,

maintenance, and retrieval to advance animal disease traceability.

Direct benefits of improved traceability include the public and

private cost savings expected to be gained under the proposed rule.

Case studies for bovine tuberculosis, bovine brucellosis, and bovine

spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) illustrate the inefficiencies currently

often faced in tracing disease occurrences due to inadequate animal

identification and the potential gains in terms of cost savings that

may derive from the proposed rule.

Benefits of the proposed traceability system are for the most part

potential benefits that rest on largely unknown probabilities of

disease occurrence and reactions by domestic and foreign markets. The

primary benefit of the proposed regulations would be the enhanced

ability of the United States to regionalize and compartmentalize animal

health issues more quickly, minimizing losses and enabling

reestablishment of foreign and domestic market access with minimum

delay in the wake of an animal disease event.

Having a traceability system in place would allow the United States

to trace animal disease more quickly and efficiently, thereby

minimizing not only the spread of disease but also the trade impacts an

outbreak may have. The value of U.S. exports of live cattle in 2010 was

$131.8 million, and the value of U.S. beef exports totaled $2.8

billion. The value of U.S. cattle and calf production in 2009 was $31.8

billion. The estimated incremental costs of the proposed rule for

cattle enterprises--between $14.5 million and $34.3 million, assuming

official identification is a separately performed activity, and between

$5.5 million and $7.3 million, assuming official identification is

combined with other routine management practices that require working

cattle through a chute--represent about one-tenth of one percent of the

value of domestic cattle and calf production. If there were an animal

disease outbreak in the United States that affected our domestic and

international beef markets, preservation of a very small proportion of

these markets would need to be attributable to the proposed animal

disease traceability program in order to justify estimated private

sector costs.

Most cattle operations in the United States are small entities.

USDA would ensure the rule's workability and cost effectiveness by

collaborating in its implementation with representatives from States,

Tribes, and affected industries.

 

 
Home Contact

 

              Page Updated: Saturday August 13, 2011 03:23 AM  Pacific


             Copyright klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2011, All Rights Reserved