One of the USDA’s overarching goals for increasing traceability is to advance the electronic sharing of data among federal and state animal health officials, veterinarians and industry. Sharing basic animal disease traceability data with the federal Animal Health Events Repository (AHER) allows state animal health officials and the USDA to quickly trace sick and exposed animals to stop the spread of disease and importantly rule out which animals are not exposed. Currently, sharing information to AHER is voluntary for the states and other systems collecting it.

While in agreement that necessary information should be available to proper authorities in times of an emergency disease event, the Producers Traceability Council recently examined concerns from across the livestock industry about privacy and where data should be stored. Council members discussed and asked questions around the issue of who else may have access to data available to AHER, as well as what information is necessary and how that information is collected and by whom .