Any national swine identification (ID) system must build on the pork industry-state-federal effort that has been in effect since 1988, according to the president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

The pork industry supports its current, effective swine ID system, modeled after the one used in the successful pseudorabies eradication program, Nebraska pork producer Joy Philippi testified at a hearing of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture. The species-specific approach is in line with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent animal ID announcement.

“Pork producers are comfortable with the current level of recording and reporting, and we already have accepted the costs of this system,” she explained. “We are working with the USDA to continue enhancing our current swine identification system within the standards put forth by the USDA for its National Animal Identification System (NAIS), but we don’t want additional costs or reporting put on pork producers.”

The hearing was called to review a plan for privatization of NAIS, favored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Philippi said the NPPC could not back privatization plans. “Requiring the pork industry to participate in a new, private, multi-species database would be redundant and costly,” she observed.

The pork industry has formed a swine ID implementation task force comprised of industry stakeholders and government officials to begin planning needed enhancements to the existing swine ID system.

Among the enhancements the pork industry supports:

  • Mandatory premises registration, to include owner and location data, by 2007;
  • Mandatory animal IDs for groups/lots by 2008; and
  • Mandatory individual animal IDs for market breeding swine and show pigs by 2008.

The current swine ID program requires ID for swine moved in interstate and international commerce, and the information recorded in federal and state databases.

“The existing system has proved it can meet the goal of 48-hour traceback. With modifications, it will be even more effective and efficient,” Philippi said.