Madcow & RFID tag decision = interesting timing?

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Honeybee, Dec 31, 2003.

  1. Honeybee

    Honeybee Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    214
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Hello,

    I usually frequent the goat board and lurk a little here. When the madcow situation arouse I figured this would be the best place to get some common sense opinions. I was right :)

    I was wondering if anyone else here had noticed the timing of this madcow discovery as a little too convenient in light of the document and links below? Am I just being a little too suspicous or does it seem down right creepy that this is all happening at once? I mean if naturally 1 out of every million cows gets madcow disease then mathematically there must be several cases in the US every year. Why is this one case being hyped to such a great extent and not just handled like all the other cases that must surely exist?

    I suspect theres a reason. If the general public is scared enough they'll be in favor of the plan to tag every animal, license every animal owner and their land for "traceability" and to protect our food supply. Of course if this is true they won't stop to think that this will never eliminated the natural occurance of any disease and our food supply is already the safest in the world. AND they had no problem tracing this cow as things are right now.

    Does this make any sense or not? If I'm not understanding this correctly can someone straighten me out on these facts?

    God bless,

    Honeybee

    PS. Last day to send in comments to the addresses below is today 12/31/03


    Subject: Gov. ID Tags on EVERY Animals Ear - Even your HORSE!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    News Desk

    TSCRA News Update VOL. 25 • NO. 21• NOVEMBER 17, 2003

    · Comments on the draft U.S. Animal Identification Plan are being accepted through Dec. 31, 2003, from all interest individuals and groups. The plan defines the standards and framework for implementing a phased-in national food animal and livestock identification program. It was developed over the past year by 95 individuals representing several industry groups as well as state and federal animal health officials working collectively as the National Animal Identification Development team. A copy of the plan is available online at http://usaip.info/US_AIP_Plan_Draft_092903_Ver_4_0_Master_.pdf Comments may be e-mailed to Communication@USAIP.info - faxed to (719) 538-8847 or mailed to USAIP Comments, 660 Southpointe Court, Suite 314, Colorado Springs, CO 80906. —U.S. Animal Identification Plan

    www.USAIP.Info

    USAIP EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    Protecting American animal agriculture by safeguarding animal health is vital to the wellbeing of all U. S. citizens. It promotes human health; provides wholesome, reliable, and secure food resources; mitigates national economic threats; and enhances a sustainable environment. Essential to achieving this goal is an efficient and effective animal identification program. Building upon previously established and successful animal health and animal identification programs involving many animal industries, an industry-state-federal partnership, aided by the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) http://www.animalagriculture.org/ - was formed in 2002 to more uniformly coordinate a national animal identification plan. This resulting plan, requested by the UnitedStates Animal Health Association (USAHA) http://www.usaha.org/ and facilitated by USDA’s Animal and Plant HealthInspection Service (APHIS) http://www.aphis.usda.gov/, was formulated in 2003 for presentation at the October, 2003 annual meeting of the USAHA. More than 100 animal industry and state-federal government professionals representing more than 70 allied associations/organizations collectively assessed and suggested workable improvements to the plan to meet future U. S. animal identification needs. Fundamental to controlling any disease threat, foreign or domestic, to the nation’s animal resources is to have a system that can identify individual animals or groups, the premises where they are located, and the date of entry to that premises. Further, in order to achieve optimal success in controlling or eradicating an animal health threat, the ability to retrieve that information within 48 hours of confirmation of a disease outbreak and to implement intervention strategies is necessary. The USAIP is focused on utilizing state-of-the-art national and international standards with the best available and practical technologies. It is dynamic and flexible, and will incorporate new and proven technologies as they become available. States’ needs in implementing animal identification will receive priority within the uniformity provided by federal oversight. The USAIP currently supports the following species and/or industries: bison, beef cattle, dairy cattle, swine, sheep, goats, camelids (alpacas and llamas), horses, cervids (deer and elk), poultry (eight species including game birds), and aquaculture (eleven species). Implementation will be in three phases: Phase I involves premises identification; Phase II involves individual or group/lot identification for interstate and intrastate commerce; and Phase III involves retrofitting remaining processing plants and markets and other industry segments with appropriate technology that will enhance our ability to track animals throughout the livestock marketing chain to protect and improve the health of the national herd. Initial implementation will focus on the cattle, swine, and small ruminant industries. In transition, the USAIP recommends that: all states have a premises identification system in place by July, 2004; unique, individual or group/lot numbers be available for issuance by February, 2005; all cattle, swine, and small ruminants possess individual or group/lot identification for interstate movement by July, 2005; all animals of the remaining species/industries identified above be in similar compliance by July, 2006. These standards will apply to all animals within the represented industries regardless of their intended use as seedstock, commercial, pets or other personal uses. It is well acknowledged that costs associated with the USAIP will be substantial and that a public/private funding plan is justified. Significant state and federal costs will be incurred in overseeing, maintaining, updating, and improving necessary infrastructure. Continued efforts will be required to seek federal and state financial support for this integral component of safeguarding animal health in protecting American animal agriculture.

    Go Here for Current Work Plan Draft (74 pages - pdf)
    http://usaip.info/US_AIP_Plan_Draft_092903_Ver_4_0_Master_.pdf

    FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
    Scott Stuart, USAIP Communication Subcommittee Co-Chair
    719.538.8843
    Communication@USAIP.info
    Communication@USAIP.info?subject=FromUSAIP.InfoWebsite

    http://usaip.info/faq.htm
     
  2. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    There is no science that say BSE occurs naturally at a rate of 1 in a million. CJD occurs in people at that rate (documented), but as far as science knows, BSE does not occur naturally at all. I think it does and that is my own personal, untried and unproven theory. Other people think the same thing, but there is nothing to back it up.

    IF it were true, then there would be other infected cows out there, but they have not yet been found (unless one was the angus cow from Canada last May). This is the first cow to EVER be identified with BSE in the US. That's why they are making a big deal out of it. There have been no others found, though I and probably a lot of people believe they are out there.

    Cattle ID has been in the works for quite some time and virtually everyone knows it will be here, just a matter of working out how. I don't know of anyone who is really against the idea, though I've heard some who are afraid of misidentification of their animals, giving up the information, etc. I'm not at all afraid. It is a needed thing that can only help. The sooner the better in my opinion.

    Tracing animals is not that easy. Much better records are kept on dairy cattle than on beef cattle. They got lucky there. In Canada, which has an ID system, they had to resort to DNA testing to find where that cow came from. She was an angus and they were able to trace her by her sire. What about all the scrub cows out there? No breed, no papers, no parentage to verify. Just heinz 57 cows in a field that came from a sale barn somewhere and then perhaps through several owners. Tracing a cow could be impossible or a nightmare.

    Jena
     

  3. Thanks for the reply and all the great info Jena.

    What you say makes a great deal of sense. Not sure I agree on the ID tags being a great thing from the homesteading point of view but I can understand it for large operations.

    Hope you all have a great new year.

    Honeybee
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,438
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Jena, I'd like to add to the tracking problems we had. The program was being phased in and we were given a grace period where those that sent their calves to auction were warned and the animal was tagged for them for a nominal fee. From there, it became a fineable offence and that was incorporated. It's always been our goal that the cattle will carry the tag of the breeder, thus allowing a simple trace backwards if a problem should arise. We are seeing some problems yet because of older cows. Anything that predates the spirit of the tagging program is likely carrying a tag of the last guy to run her through an auction. When we the angus cow turn up infected, it was a logistical nighmare. Some people brand but others don't so tracking her, complicating matters further. Our brand inspection system is provincial, meaning that two people could (in theory) have the same brand in the same location, as long as they don't live in the same province. We had inspectors working off travel manifests, that should have the brands of a cow listed, but it's not illegal to list a cow with several brands simply as a "red cow with various brands". Auction houses had to literally hand search thousands of sale documents in two provinces. I would take a tagging program, even if it's not the ultimate solution over no tracking system any day. If our system had been in place years sooner, it would have literally shaved months of tracking time and the needless testing of cattle that had no contact or common thread with a single infected cow. Thank god that DNA is as accurate and available as it is or we would still be muddling through the trace back phase of the investigation.
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    They would have still DNA tested the animals to eliminate the possability of tag tampering or illegal reuse. I support the system but have nagging doubts of its ultimate use. I do not support licensing farmers or livestock owners; but its coming, with or without national ID systems.