Speaking at the National Institute of Animal Agriculture's Animal Identification/Information Exposition 2006 in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns encouraged participants to continue working toward full participation in a national, voluntary system of animal identification.
"Don't let naysayers dampen your enthusiasm," Johanns said in a speech to the group. Other countries have animal-identification systems, and they are using the fact that their livestock are traceable as a marketing tool, Johanns said. The U.S. also should have a system for tracing livestock to stay competitive.
The USDA just keeps pushing this issue. The claim is still that it will be voulantary which I completely agree with. Johanns has also said that if 100% voluntary participation isn't reached it will be mandatory. Keep your eyes on this. Never let up the vigilance.
Can I ask a reasonable question? What is stopping there from being a tracing system now? If it will make us so much more competitive why does the USDA or the Government need to get involved? If this were going to help say Tyson sell more beef overseas or in the US why don't they just require it. All Tyson would have to do is say they will no longer slaughter beef that doesn't have a trace back to birth involved with it. Then, if there is such a demand for it they can just sit back and rake in the money, pure and simple. No government involvement, no mandating it under penalty of law. Just a producers decision whether they want to participate or not and letting the market decide. SIMPLE.
There has to be much more involved in this since the meat packers aren't just doing this. You want to know what it is? There isn't the demand out there and there is no profit in it for them to source ID their meat. So if there is no profit in it for them, why should I do it at a loss just to please them. Show me the money and I will show you the tag.
An ear tag never stopped a disease, but it sure has the USDA hopping through the meat packers hoops pushing it.