Animal Traceability Information
The Tennessee beef cattle industry is one of the leading agricultural commodities in the state. Animal traceability plays an essential role in overall marketing of Tennessee cattle. In the marketing of beef, the capability to quickly respond to a livestock disease and trace an animal back to its origin is essential to safeguard public and animal health. An efficient and accurate animal disease traceability system reduces the number of animals involved in an investigation, and thus reduces the time needed to respond and decreases the cost to producers and the government.
In Tennessee, the Animal Disease Traceability Program is administered by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture. The focus of the voluntary program is animal traceability. It is funded by the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program (TAEP) and by a cooperative agreement with USDA. Through the traceability program, identification information is entered directly from participating livestock markets and accredited veterinarians into the Tennessee animal health database via a website.
New Traceability Rule for Interstate Livestock Movement
Beginning in March 2013 a new traceability rule for livestock moving interstate went into effect. The most noticeable changes in the new traceability rule were for cattle and bison. Interstate movement requirements for equine remain the same. Identification of sheep and goats continue to follow the Scrapie program requirements.
General requirements for livestock moving interstate are:
- Must have a certificate of veterinary inspection ("health certificate")
- Must be officially identified (USDA metal eartags or 840 RFID tags or tattoo)
Official identification requirements for cattle and bison moving interstate are:
- All sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months of age or over
- All female dairy cattle of any age and all dairy males (bulls and steers) born after March 11, 2013
- Cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo, recreational events, shows and exhibitions
Beef cattle under 18 months of age are exempt from the official identification requirements and "direct to slaughter" cattle have the option of using USDA backtags in lieu of official ID.
Electronic Health Certificate Program
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture provides a free electronic health certificate system for Tennessee veterinarians. This service is for large and small animal practitioners. Veterinarians can call the department at (615) 837-5120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an account.