A mandatory national animal identification system received strong endorsement at the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) annual meeting last month in San Diego, CA.

A draft plan forged by the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and a national animal identification development team promises several benefits: enhanced disease control and eradication capabilities, rapid (48-hour) containment of foreign and domestic animal disease outbreaks and better response time for biosecurity threats.

There is a 60-day comment period on the plan, which can be viewed at www.usaip.info. The program calls for all states to have a premises identification system in place by July 2004. By 2006, all group or individual identification systems should be in place.

The USAHA also passed a resolution that the U.S. will be declared free of pseudorabies two years after the release of the last quarantine and one year after all states have implemented disease management plans for feral swine.

Only four states — Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania and Texas have not achieved Stage 5 or “free” status in the eradication program. With all states in Stage 4 (surveillance) or 5, there are no known cases of PRV left in the U.S., adds Paul Sundberg, DVM, National Pork Board.