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Maine implementing registration of livestock premises for national animal ID system
March 7, 2005
For Immediate Release Contact: Shelley Doak, 287-7610 email@example.com
AUGUSTA – Livestock farmers can now sign up for a unique "premises identification number" for their livestock facilities through the Maine Animal Identification System (MAIS).
Officials in the Maine Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health and Industry are in the process of identifying locations that manage or hold animals and assigning them a premises identification number through MAIS. This is an important first step to build a state and national animal identification system established through the United States Department of Agriculture.
"The goal of the national system is to be able to trace everywhere an animal has been within 48 hours of a disease outbreak," said Dr. Donald Hoenig, State Veterinarian.
The data will help identify animals that may have been exposed to a serious disease and determined where that exposure occurred. The information will help to ensure rapid disease containment and maximum protection of Maine’s animals.
Animal health incidents can have large economic, human health or food safety impacts. The impetus for a national identification and tracking system accelerated after a Canadian-born cow with (BSE) Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy was diagnosed in a Washington herd in 2003, the first case detected in the United States.
“Premises” includes farms and hobby farms; veterinary clinics; stables; livestock markets; livestock trucker and dealer premises where animals are kept; slaughter, rendering and dead animal plants; livestock exhibitions; and any other location where livestock is kept.
Eventually, Maine will require identification for all types of food animals, but for now the emphasis is on beef and dairy cattle. In the next few years, food markets will require ID all the way through the system to farm of origin.
Farmers will receive this unique identification number for farms and other property where livestock are kept. The number is assigned to a location, similar to an address.
The bottom line is protecting producers’ livelihoods by ensuring animal health, assuring consumer confidence and maintaining market access. “As soon as we can record animal movements from farms, auctions, ports of entry, slaughter facilities, and all other points of concentration, the ability to respond to disease outbreaks will be strengthened” said Dr. Hoenig.
Participation in premises registration is voluntary at this time, but the expectation is for the program to become mandatory in the future.
If you would like to register your premises or need further information on the MAIS, please contact Judy Perry, Animal Identification Coordinator at 287-4507 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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