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USDA Publishes Proposed Rule on NAIS

USDA has issued a proposed rule that would mandate NAIS premises registration and animal identification for several key animal disease programs.  If this rule is adopted, hundreds of thousands of people who own cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs will be forced to register their property and use only tags approved by the USDA for NAIS.    Individuals and organizations can submit comments until March 16, 2009. There are two ways to submit comments:

1.  Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2007-0096 to submit or view comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.

2.  Mail: Send two copies of your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Be sure to clearly state that your comment refers to Docket No. APHIS- 2007-0096.

After we have had a chance to analyze the rule fully, we will send out sample talking points to help people in submitting comments.

Here are some of the initial highlights:

1.  If the rule is adopted, the NAIS Premises ID Number (PIN) would be the ONLY form of premises identification allowed for official uses such as federal disease control programs.

2. The proposed rule states that it will still allow the use of the National Uniform Eartagging System.  But it would be linked to the NAIS PIN.  

3. USDA claims that it has determined that the proposed rule is "not significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866," which requires a cost-benefit analysis of federal regulations.  But the agency has refused to release its draft cost-benefit analysis on NAIS, despite a request filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

4. This would be the first time that any portion of NAIS was mandated in the Federal Register.  This is a huge step in the WRONG direction!

Excerpts from the Proposed Rule  

Below are a few excerpts from USDA's explanation of its proposed rule.  The full notice and proposed rule can be found at:

http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-353.htm

From p.1635:

"[W]e are ... requiring that all PINs issued on or after the date on which this proposed rule becomes effective would have to use the seven-character alphanumeric code format."  [Ed. note: the NAIS PIN]

"Identification eartags, as well as other devices or means of official identification, such as backtags and tattoos, that employ a premises-based numbering system that include a PIN could not be applied to animals 1 year or later after the date on which this proposed rule in finalized if the PIN does not employ the seven-character form."

"[T]his proposed rule would not require the use of the AIN.  Other animal identification numbering systems currently recognized in the regulations for use on official eartags, such as the National Uniform Eartagging System and premises-based numbering systems that combine a PIN with a producer's livestock production numbering system, will continue to be so recognized.  If the AIN is used, however, on an official eartag or other device (currently, it is only used on eartags and implants), only the format with the 840 prefix would be acceptable for use on animals tagged 1 year or more after the date on which this proposed rule in finalized."

From p.1636:

"Our proposed definition of official eartag would also require such eartags, including those that use the National Uniform Eartagging System, if issued or distributed in conjunction with a Federal disease program, to be correlated with the PINs of the premises to which they are issued, by means of the Animal Identification Number Management System (AINMS) or other recordkeeping systems approved by the Administrator. (Both the National Uniform Eartagging System and the AINMS are discussed in greater detail later in this document.) For this proposed requirement to be met, official eartags used in animal disease programs could only be issued, going forward, to registered premises that have PINs."

"Our proposed definition of official eartag would also require that when AIN eartags are used, the AINs would have to be correlated with the PINs of the premises to which they are issued, meaning that AIN eartags could only be issued to registered premises that have PINs."

From p.1637:

"The definition of official eartag in Sec.  79.1 would be amended to remove the option of using the National Uniform Eartagging System in the NSEP [National Scrapie Eradication Program]." 


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