Frequently Asked Questions - Animals

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Q: Why identify property and livestock animals?

A: Livestock are constantly moving, which means potential exposure to disease. For rapid and efficient response that limits the impact and reduces economic strain, state animal health officials need to know where animals are and where they've been.

Q: Is the Federal Government involved?

A: USDA is working with state and tribal animal health officials on a traceability system that has maximum flexibility, gives states ownership of data and more control, and doesn't over-burden producers. The federal system will not be mandatory unless animals are moved interstate. USDA support is focused entirely on animal disease traceability and encourages use of lower-cost technology. The Code of Federal Regulations rule will contain performance standards, protocols, and compliance factors.

Q: How does that relate to me, a producer?

A: Animal disease outbreaks mean losses - in animal numbers, restrictions on animal movement, inability to buy and sell - all which affect the bottom line. If a disease outbreak can be contained quickly and efficiently, producer losses are minimized. That translates to increased consumer confidence and the ability to compete in today’s global market.

Q: Does that mean I need a PIN or a LID?

A: USDA-issuedpremises identification numbers (PINs) OR state-issued location identifiers (LIDs) are required for interstate movement. Also, a number of county fairs and the Colorado State Fair require a PIN.

Q: Why aren't brands enough identification for traceability?

A: Brands denote ownership of an animal and help protect owners from loss of animals due to theft, straying, or misappropriation. Not all states have brands or brand inspection laws; not all livestock species are branded, and brands are not nationally unique. While brands definitely assist with traceability, brands cannot effectively identify individual animals or trace a diseased or exposed animal nationally through multiple animal movements.

Q: Do all animals have to have eartags?

A: No. Species-specific working groups, which continue to provide input to USDA, are aware of traditional methods of identifying animals and will not recommend methods that are contrary to current practices. The goal is to provide valid identification without compromising other needs of a given species.

Q: Scrapie Flock numbers are official ID, right?

A: Scrapie flock numbers identify a unit of animals, and premises identification is assigned to a physical location where animals are housed. If a producer moves his flock to a new location, the flock identification number will remain the same; however, the producer will need to get a new PIN or be identified with an existing PIN for that location.

Q: Who has access to my information?

A: Personal information and other specific details of livestock operations gathered for traceability are protected under the Livestock Information Security Act (C.R.S. 35.57.9). The collected data is part of the CDA all-hazards security system.