USDA Issues New Cattle Standards

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Ken Scharabok, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
  2. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,605
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    Ken, over the next little while, you'll see good rules and dumb rules and the one thing they all have in common is that the government is trying to calm the consumer and they're all established too quickly to be as effective as they should be. The one thing that I wish our governments would both do is get their collective azzes together and get using the live test in conjunction with conventional testing to prove or disprove it's worth. We'd all be far better off if we could just test each and every animal on a farm without killing every last animal in both countries. When they start testing, you'll find yourself shocked at the number of casualties. Calves go down just cause they're on a cow and eventually they find out that the cow tests negative so the calf is negative too.
     

  3. PezzoNovante

    PezzoNovante Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    75
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas
    What's coming sooner than later is mandatory ID'ing. COOL was backing into this, but we'll see it put into place in the near future. Expect to see it also for lambs. As far as I know, they haven't published the rules in the FR yet.

    It's going to be a paperwork headache and very likely an insurance liability issue.
     
  4. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    May not be birth to death ID-ing for all cattle. Perhaps for dairy ones, but I suspect it would be tagging the first time they come through a stockyard or auction with tracking thereafter. It would be extra work for them, which they will pass on to the producer.

    I didn't see anything in the article on changes in feeding meat and bone meal.

    Ken s. in WC TN
     
  5. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    From an update to this referenced article:

    "Speeding creation of a national electronic animal identification system that would enable officials to respond faster to an outbreak of mad cow or other animal-borne illnesses. The cost of such a system is estimated to exceed $500 million in its first six years.

    She said USDA's actions should not impose any hardship on the dairy, cattle and meatpacking industries, or on consumers. ''I don't expect an increase in the price to consumers,'' she said. ''The number of cattle that enter the food supply currently as downer animals is very small.''

    Let's see. The consumer won't be paying for the tracking system. The food processor/retailers won't. It is unlikely the government will fund the program. Who then?

    The tracking system will create another government bureauracy. So, the consumer will pay for it through taxes in part that way I guess.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  6. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,605
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    We have a mandatory tagging program and it's not as good as one would hope. It's a good idea, in principal but I would think that microchiping might be a lot better. Our program came into existance a couple years ago and it's intended to indicate the herd the animal actually was born to, with the idea that animals could be easier traced forward from birth than backwards from the last known owner. The most obvious disadvantage of the sytem is the eartags themself, cattle in bush country tend to lose them and since on tag is designated to one animal, without a bar code reader, the current owner may not actually be able to trace the animal and replace the herd of origin tag. Cold weather cattle, have to have the tags placed deep in the ear or the same problems can arise. When the deadline came for all animals to be tagged, many have been tagged with the last owner's tag because there's a $500 fine for passing an animal through an auction without a tag. It's not a bad system, if it would have been left to sort itself out naturally, with all calves requiring ID tags each year and the old stock left to filter out. I think that the cost of the tags is about $5/tag or close to it and when you purchase, you're registering with the government. Another drawback is the fact that they are only sold in lots of 50 so you always end up with carry over because not too many breeders own cattle in exact lost of 50. It does get a bit complicated at tagging time for some, purebred breeders have always used a tag to indentify a cow and the calf that corresponds to the cow, then there's the fly tags and now the ID tag. I have to say, I'm not really keen on the government having a reasonable tally of how many cattle I have, by the number of tags I purchase but I guess that's just how it is and if it helps trace a problem, it's worth the extra few dollars but there's also another expense at the sale barn, because you pay to have the tag read, along with a brand inspection fee. We'll always see some tampering with the tags and they are as easy to remove as any ear tag and there are people making private sales and not tagging before the transaction is completed.
     
  7. SHELBY

    SHELBY Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    601
    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2003
    Location:
    CO
    okay I'm a little confused on this national ID tag thing. I have 22 bulls and heifers. Some of them we raise for meat and some we will be selling. I have all the paperwork from the auctions where I get them and use my own tagging system once they reach my barn. Now how is the government supposed to keep track of every calf born, or you might have lost due to illness... I know we need some different regulations and testing but whose business is it really how many cattle I have.. :rolleyes:
     
  8. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    National ID will definitely be here and I will welcome it, even if it costs a few bucks. We NEED it!!! We need it to contain disease outbreaks, we need it to trace back suspect meat, etc.

    I do think ear tags are not the best solution, but it would be a start. A big step in the right direction. If they go with chips, then they need to get the whole deal standardized so that one reader can read all chips. I don't blame the packers for not wanting to have to figure out what chip is used, which reader to have for that batch of animals, etc. One reader, one chip. In the meantime, ear tags will do.

    That was one of my biggest beefs with COOL. We were supposed to verify that our calves were born here, but without animal id, that makes it sort of difficult to do, yet they wouldn't institute animal id. Dumb.

    I don't care if the government knows how many cattle I have. They pretty much do anyways. I honestly report my income for taxes, I am following the environmental laws regarding the number of AU I have on the place, etc. Nothing to hide.

    I don't sell sick animals, I don't sell animals that should be waiting out a withdrawl and I'm not worried about a sick animal being traced back to me. If it is, then it is. If I've got something nasty and don't know it...then the problem needs to be solved. No, I would not enjoy seeing all my girls packed off to slaughter, but I don't enjoy watching the market go down limit daily either.

    I'm all for the ID...I wish they'd just get on with it.

    Jena
     
  9. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

    Messages:
    6,844
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    I don't think any ear tag system is going to be anywhere near ideal in terms of staying on. On my beef brood cows, 2-3 years is about all I can get out of even the best of them before they come up missing. They use to put in a metal tag at the livestock auctions with a Brucellosis test number. They stayed on better than the plastic/rubber tags, but I have found some out in the field where they have come off. Most of them were open, like they weren't secured properly when put in. Putting in an ear tag in a 1,000-ish pound animal which doesn't want to cooperate can be a challenge even with a good headgate.

    Remember, you are going to have to keep genealogy records on the cattle as well.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  10. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    16,605
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    SHELBY, I can only answer from what we're seeing up her and every animal has to have a tag. Private butcher shops can not accept an untagged animal without and if they're caught, their fine is bigger yet. If we're caught transporting untagged animals or they see a vet, they're obligated to report us for the offence. Of course those tags are backed up by our personal records, and as a purebred breeder, our records are excellent, so I've never had any problems that way. I did find that me fears of the government knowing my exact herd numbers is eased with the way the tags are sold. I guess they can figure out how many tags I buy each year but that's a give or take numer. It's not the ultimate system but I side with Jena, I have nothing to hide and anything to ease consumer confidence isn't a bad thing.
     
  11. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,489
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    I keep records of who was bred to who, who had who and when. My cows have tags from 1-100. Some have lost tags, but I replace them the next time they go in the chute.

    My calves are tagged with a three digit number....this year was 3-- for 2003. I start with the first calf as 301 and go from there. I write down the tag number in my little calf book as I tag them. I use pink tags because I'm a girl who is usually in mud to my knees, but pink tags remind me that I'm still a girl :)

    Whatever ID system they decide on, my record keeping will stay the same. I will write down their "official" number somewhere, but I will still use my tagging system to keep my records. I know all my cows by their numbers...don't want to have to "re-name" them all. If an ID'd animal needs checking, I would only have to compare official numbers to my tag numbers to provide whatever information is needed by authorities.

    I don't think it will add much to the record keeping I do now.

    Now my husband knows all his cows simply by looking at them or running them through his mind. He has simmentals, so they don't all look the same. He can tell you who had who (of retained heifers who are now cows) and who their daddy was just by looking at them. I got him to tag his calves this year (he uses blue...don't know what he had against my girly pink) for the first time. He needs to get all his cows tagged or at least translate his knowledge of them onto paper. Getting him to do this is...um...an ongoing battle, but it seems that the government will take care of it for me :)

    Jena