There are many challenges that could arise in developing a national animal identification system, says Brett Marsh, DVM, Indiana State Board of Animal Health. An animal identification program could be a step toward improving homeland security, he points out.

Marsh offers these reasons for implementing a national animal identification program:

  • Improved food-chain safety.
  • Prevent or limit disease spread; improve epidemiology.
  • Reduce overall U.S. vulnerability and improve risk assessment.
  • Predictive modeling.
  • Improve monitoring of eight key foreign animal diseases.
  • Improve notification speed and accuracy by region and nationwide.

According to Marsh, new technology, herd and flock registration, and improved partnerships will be critical to the development and success of the identification program. He adds that there is a national animal development team in place, which is a joint effort between USDA and the animal-agriculture industry.

Marsh sees the stages to national ID adoption as: 1. Transition; 2. Individual ID; 3. Tracking.