The U.S. Department of Agriculture published its final Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) rule in the Federal Register Wednesday, making it effective March 11. The final ADT rule establishes regulations to trace U.S. livestock moving interstate.
Under the rule, unless specifically exempted, livestock moved interstate have to be officially identified and accompanied by an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection or other documentation. The final rule accepts brands, tattoos and brand registration if that documentation is accepted by the shipping and receiving states or tribes. Backtags will be accepted as an alternative to official eartags for cattle and bison moved directly to slaughter.
What is most important to cattle producers, according to Dr. Kathy Simmons, Chief Veterinarian for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, is the USDA announcement that a separate rulemaking process will take place for beef cattle under 18 months of age. Currently, unless animals are moved interstate for shows, exhibitions, rodeos or recreational events, the final rule exempts beef cattle under 18 months from the official identification requirement.