Official ID: Unwise to remove

Today, thousands of animals will be transported across the country switching homes, owners, and possibly even tags or other forms of identification (ID). Whether animals are moved in-state, across state lines, or even out of the country it is important to maintain the integrity of all forms of official ID from RFID tags to metal ‘brite' tags to backtags or American ID tags. In recent years, the livestock industry has voiced many concerns about how official ID is being handled when animals are moved to and from the owner's property. In some cases, owners have reported sending their animal tagged with official ID to a sale only to have that tag cut out upon arrival. The same scenario has been seen when truckers come to pick up animals for market, having official ID removed before loading the livestock onto the trailer. No matter what the scenario is, the consequences of removing official ID before an animal is at a processing facility are enormous not only from a traceability and animal health perspective, but also from a management perspective. "From a Dairy Herd Information (DHI) perspective the issue of removing official ID from dairy animals severs the ability to positively identify an animal with her production records," says Tom DeMuth, Manager of DHI Services with AgSource Cooperative Services. "This is especially disappointing when attempting to transfer her current and historical production to a new owner. Another huge loss would be if a tag has been removed on a heifer calf eliminating the link to her sire and dam, thus no genetic data." "Breed registries have integrated official ID tags into their programs with the goal of establishing a "one number, one animal" system to meet not only the registry program requirements for ID, but also National and State animal health and traceability initiative," said Adam Griffin, Dairy ID Programs Manager with Holstein Association USA, Inc. "Removal of official ID tags not only complicates the ability to track animals through commerce, but can also impact the registration status of an animal and make it difficult to transfer performance data from one owner to another." 06.27.2011