Consumer awareness of potential health risks from animal diseases is growing. In response to this trend, the National Pork Producers Council is urging USDA to accelerate the implementation of an enhanced national animal identification system.

“It is critical that a uniform national premises and animal identification system evolves and moves forward rapidly to protect swine health and the financial viability of the U.S. pork industry,” says NPPC president Jon Caspers, a pork producer from Swaledale, Iowa. “The swine industry has had mandatory identification requirements since 1988. Not having a coordinated

across-species mandatory identification system has the potential to devastate the U.S. swine herd and cause incalculable costs. An enhanced system is needed to maintain and strengthen the health and biosecurity of the U.S. livestock herd by providing timely and effective tracing in case of a disease event.”

Caspers, a member of a national identification development team coordinated by USDA, says the system that is developed should be accurate, effective and affordable for pork producers.

“We have met with Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman and informed her that we are ready to work closely with USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to further develop and

refine the systems currently in place to enhance animal disease monitoring, surveillance and control and eradication in the U.S.,” he says. “Without an

enhanced system in place, we remain vulnerable to disease and the threat of targeted bioterrorism aimed at harming U.S. livestock and reducing

confidence in our food supply.”

For more information on the work plan for the national animal ID system, go to