Depending on how you perceive it, animal disease traceability is either an idea that’s too important to abandon in spite of all the complications, or a nuisance that just refuses to die. The federal Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) system, with its limited scope, has operated for five years. From the start, many believed the system would need to expand to become truly effective, but the UDSA has taken a cautious and deliberate approach toward expanding the program to cover more producers and more classes of cattle.
The time might finally be right for the U.S. livestock industry to support and implement a comprehensive system for rapidly tracking emerging animal diseases and containing them before they cause serious damage. We’ve seen the consequences of international outbreaks of foot and mouth disease, avian influenza, African swine fever and others, and here in the United States, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus. We’ve also come to increasingly depend on exports to support our markets for meat and dairy products. At the same time, radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology has advanced over the past 15 years to new levels of convenience and affordability.