USDA, for all appearances, has abandoned their National Animal Identification program, placing the responsibility squarely with the states. South Carolina’s Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers says having animal ID within the State’s realm is probably going to be better. Weathers it’ll be more effective with the adjustments that USDA’s made, the state departments of agriculture and the state veterinarians are held with a little more regard, and if we inform producers that the animal doesn’t count until it’s sold into commerce--that’s when that animal counts, it’s a little different than a total inventory, but we’ve got to overcome some bad feelings.
NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says it’s really not going to be a big deal, just business as usual for NCDA. The state’s have been doing the majority of the work since Day One. He thinks it will be more confidential if held at the state level. The bad news is that without a national interface Troxler doesn’t’ see it doing a lot of good. There’s going to be some flaws in the program, and without it being mandatory, he doesn’t know how good it will be
Troxler goes on to say that pork and poultry operations within the state are in good shape on the ID front, the sticky wicket, so to speak, is cattle. The big stickler has been cattle and BSE, and countries have been using BSE to keep beef products out of their country. Without an ID system, and if we did have a BSE outbreak, we could really loose a lot of world trade.
Weathers sees keeping lines of interstate commerce open being one of the paramount issues to any new system. Weathers says he's hoping the state’s will have some consistency, if the southeastern states, for example, get together on some standards, crossing state lines might not be that big of an issue. He goes on to say that we don’t want to interfere with interstate commerce, of course.