(Host) Vermont’s top agriculture official is recommending that the state follow only part of a proposed national animal identification system.
The federal proposal calls for the registration and tracking of every farm animal. It also calls for the locations of farms animals to be registered for a so-called “premises ID”
Supporters of the federal measure say it will control outbreaks of animal diseases, like avian flu.
Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Vermont Agriculture Secretary Steve Kerr said he supports only premises registration for Vermont:
(Kerr) “We are not proposing individual animal ID, and we are not proposing that third piece, which is called traceback capability. USDA is moving toward traceback capability, as have other countries. We’re simply saying, No, we don’t need that information. We don’t need the individual animal identification for animal disease management purposes. But we do need the location of where livestock are kept.”
(Host) Kerr said the draft rules for Vermont require commercial farms to register for a premises ID by the end of this year, and allow backyard farmers till June of next year to do the same.
He said the predicted arrival of avian flu in North America makes the timing critical:
(Kerr) “There is a risk in waiting. Viruses and diseases do not care about our timeline or our politics. They will come when they come. I’m just guessing, based on what CDC is telling us, that we have about a year to get this done.”
(Host) Four public hearings are planned for June to discuss the proposed rules for premises ID in the state.