The pork industry still supports a mandatory national identification system, according to David Kempen, Poteet, TX, pork producer who spoke at a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) listening session held recently in Austin, TX.

“Until animal identification is made mandatory and all premises are registered, it will never have the intended effects of improving the animal health infrastructure, aiding in the control and eradication of highly contagious foreign and domestic animal diseases and, ultimately, protecting the U.S. livestock industry, its producers, processors and hundreds of related businesses and more than a half million mostly rural jobs for Americans,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the National Pork Producers Council and Texas Pork Producers Association, Kempen addressed these concerns about USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS):

--The cost of the NAIS would be minimal and would far outweigh the cost of not having the ability to quickly identify, control and eradicate an animal disease.

--The infrastructure and operating costs of the NAIS should be funded through federal funding.

--As far as data privacy, no data would be required by such a system that is not currently available through a telephone directory, farm records required by USDA’s Farm Services Agency or state and local permits.

--There is no increased liability from program participation.

--States need more funding to register premises.

--Recording and reporting all animal movements is too rigorous, too expensive and not necessary to achieve program goals.

In 1988, the U.S. pork industry established a swine ID system used to help eradicate pseudorabies from commercial swine herds.

Since that time, the system has been improved and made consistent with the NAIS. More than 54,000 or 80% of swine premises are registered.

Premises registration data includes the physical location of a farm, a contact phone number and other publicly available information.