In response to a statement by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack last week, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is reaffirming its call for a strong, national animal disease traceability program to help maintain and improve the health of U.S. livestock.
Vilsack announced that the USDA is creating a new strategy for animal disease traceability. This comes in reaction to a public comment period in which the program in place was heavily criticized for being too stringent.
"The USDA is planning to create a new, national animal disease traceability system that is administered by the states and tribal nations,” says Ron DeHaven, chief executive officer of the AVMA. “If each state is allowed to develop and implement its own program, important questions arise concerning communication and coordination.
“Clearly, the USDA must create a system that allows for quick and accurate trace-back across state borders in an animal disease emergency, or there is no point in the new system,” he adds. “There are many unanswered questions that must be addressed as this new animal disease traceability program is being developed. For that reason, the AVMA cannot consider endorsing this concept at this time."