The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to speed implementation of an enhanced national animal identification system to guard against foreign animal disease.

“It is critical that a uniform national premises and animal identification system evolves and moves forward rapidly to protect swine health and the financial viability of the U.S. pork industry,” states NPPC President Jon Caspers.

“The swine industry has had mandatory identification requirements since 1988,” says Caspers, a Swaledale, IA, pork producer. “Not having a coordinated across-species mandatory identification system has the potential to devastate the U.S. swine herd and cause incalculable costs. An enhanced system is needed to maintain and strengthen the health and biosecurity of the U.S. livestock herd by providing timely and effective tracing in case of a disease event.”

The system should be accurate, effective and affordable for U.S. pork producers, says Caspers, a member of a USDA national livestock identification development team. He adds NPPC is willing to work with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to further refine the system in place.

“Without an enhanced system in place, we remain vulnerable to disease and the threat of targeted bioterrorism aimed at harming U.S. livestock and reducing confidence in our food supply,” he comments.

For more information and to review the industry’s plan for a livestock identification system, go to www.animalagriculture.org.