Whether animals are moved in state, across state lines or out of the country, it is important to maintain the integrity of all forms of official identification, whether in the form of metal “brite” tags, radio frequency ID or American ID tags, say livestock experts.

The loss or removal of official animal ID has become a concern throughout the industry in recent years as animals move about the country. No matter what situation, the consequence of official ID removal is significant, not only from a traceability and animal health perspective, but also from a management perspective.

“Before considering the removal of an ear tag, your first question should be, ‘Is this a USDA-approved official ID tag?’ says Robert Fourdraine, chief operating officer of the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium. If you see a U.S. shield, the answer is ‘yes’ and this ID tag should never be removed since the ID number is linked to animal health programs and potentially various industry programs.