The USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed a new rule that would require cattle and bison raised in the U.S. to have visually and electronically readable ear tags. Under the new regulations, these official ear tags would be required for interstate transportation.

What’s the goal? Faster, more accurate response to animal disease events, especially foot and mouth disease (FMD).

“We haven’t had a case of FMD in the U.S. since the 1920s, and there hasn’t been FMD in North America since the 1950s. We have a very naive herd that would be devastated by FMD, as would other hoofed livestock.” – Kent Bacus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association executive director of government affairs.

A new definition: The proposed rule would change the definition to EID (electronic identification) tags, instead of calling them all “radio frequency identification” (RFID) tags. This would allow for new technologies outside of radio to be utilized in ear tags.

So now what? APHIS is open for public comment on the proposed rule until March 22. It is unclear when the new rule would go into effect but it would require that EID tags are implemented within six months of the ruling.

Source: Magntic Ag 1/24/2023