The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has responded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) new livestock traceability rule, which was announced Dec. 20, 2012.

“The AVMA applauds APHIS for developing a new framework for animal disease traceability in the United States that establishes identification and documentation requirements for livestock moving interstate,” says Ron DeHaven, DVM, AVMA CEO and a former APHIS administrator.

While the AVMA is pleased that new safeguards are in place, the association continues to support a mandatory, uniform national disease traceability and identification system that is consistent from state to state. This would more broadly protect the nation’s food supply and food animal populations. Such a program, Dr. DeHaven says, would be the most effective way to accurately and promptly trace large numbers of animals moving during a large disease outbreak.

“The AVMA believes this new rule will lay the foundation to further strengthen U.S. animal disease prevention and response capabilities,” DeHaven says. “It is our hope that this will lead to a more comprehensive, electronic system that will result in even greater improvements and more rapid animal traceability in the event of a disease outbreak. While it doesn’t go as far as we would like, the new rule is a step in the right direction, and we are pleased that it is official.”

The AVMA, founded in 1863, is one of the oldest and largest veterinary medical organizations in the world, with more than 82,500 member veterinarians worldwide engaged in a wide variety of professional activities and dedicated to the art and science of veterinary medicine.