The Department of Agriculture has released an implementation plan for the National Animal Identification System, along with technical standards for the integration of private and state animal tracking databases.
Recent revisions to AVMA policy called for the rapid implementation of a mandatory NAIS. The USDA plan sets a timeline for implementing the NAIS by 2009, though the system remains voluntary.
The key components of implementation continue to be premises identification, animal identification, and animal tracking. The USDA has already registered more than 235,000 premises across the country, and the department recently issued guidelines for animal identification numbers.
Now the USDA has announced technical standards for animal tracking databases, which will enable integration of private systems into the NAIS. Private database owners may submit applications for system evaluation to the USDA and offer feedback as the department finalizes technical requirements. Then the department will enter into cooperative agreements with owners of databases that meet the standards.
The USDA expects to have the Animal Trace Processing System, also known as the metadata system, in place by early 2007. The metadata system will allow health officials to query the NAIS and private databases during a disease investigation.
Industry-specific working groups have been studying animal identification and will be making recommendations to the USDA through an advisory committee about how to tailor the program to meet industry-specific needs.
The NAIS implementation plan is available at www.usda.gov/nais. The AVMA policy is available at www.avma.org/issues/policy/.