USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has announced it is seeking public comment on a proposal to approve only Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags for cattle moving interstate.
In November, the agency released a statement saying, “We continue to believe that RFID devices will provide the cattle industry with the best protection against the rapid spread of animal diseases, as well as meet the growing expectations of foreign and domestic buyers.”
APHIS is also seeking comment on a proposed timeline for implementation, which would require producers to use the tags by Jan. 1, 2023. Animals with metal tags in place before that date would be grandfathered into the regulation and would not require RFID tags.
Comments will be accepted until Oct. 5 and can be submitted at federalregister.gov by searching for Docket ID 85 FR 40184.
Upon USDA’s announcement, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF) immediately denounced the proposal.
“This is certainly not a time the USDA should be imposing significant added production costs on the U.S. cattle industry and not the time to be enriching foreign manufacturers at the expense of domestic manufacturers while the entire domestic cattle and beef supply chains are reeling from the effects of the pandemic,” said R-CALF Animal Identification Committee Chair Kenny Fox.
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