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Senator rounds fight federal RFID tag rule for livestock

Senator rounds fight federal RFID tag rule for livestock

By Scout Nelson

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota, introduced legislation to prevent the federal government from implementing a rule requiring electronic identification tags on cattle and bison. "South Dakota cattle producers don’t need D.C. bureaucrats telling them how to manage and track their livestock,” Rounds said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the final rule, which will be effective 180 days after publication in the Federal Register. The rule aims to help quickly pinpoint and respond to foreign animal diseases by using RFID (radio frequency identification) tags for rapid traceability.

“Rapid traceability in a disease outbreak will not only limit how long farms are quarantined, keep more animals from getting sick, and help ranchers and farmers get back to selling their products more quickly – but will help keep our markets open,” said Dr. Michael Watson, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service administrator.

The rule applies to all sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or older, all dairy cattle, cattle and bison used for rodeo or recreation events, and those used for shows or exhibitions. These animals must have ear tags that are visually and electronically readable for interstate movement.

Rounds argues that the rule represents federal government overreach and should be voluntary. Doris Lauing, executive director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, called the mandate a “violation of constitutional personal property rights” and an “unnecessary expense.” Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA, warned that mandatory ear tags would cost the industry tens of millions of dollars without any means of recovery from the marketplace.

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Categories: South Dakota, Government & Policy, Livestock

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