Minnesota Officials Pushing for Resuming NAIS Discussion

Minnesota Officials Pushing for Resuming NAIS Discussion

Vilsack asked to talk about implementation.

Two Minnesota agriculture officials are urging Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to set aside the bogged-down debate about the National Animal Identification System and resume the discussion about implementation. In a letter to Vilsack, Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson and Minnesota State Veterinarian Dr. Bill Hartmann suggested a greater emphasis on practical issues related to development of a modern, high-quality animal traceability system that respects producer privacy concerns while also providing animal health officials with timely information needed to fight animal diseases and foodborne illnesses.

 

The letter urged greater involvement of state animal health officials, citing their role as first responders to animal diseases. The officials said this role makes it vital for state responders to build and maintain accurate and updated information systems with producer contacts and livestock premises information. The letter points out that a less centralized system with greater state involvement may be easier for some producers to accept.

 

The letter states that while most parties can agree on the importance of improving animal traceability for food safety, animal health and marketing purposes, it seems very difficult to find consensus on how best to build workable systems to accomplish these goals. They wrote, "Rather than being drawn into the debates … take this opportunity to reshape the discussion with a focus on how we improve animal traceability."

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