During a keynote address at the National ID/Info Expo U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns voted for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
He assured cattlemen that the adoption of a NAIS would not come at the price of their privacy, and he acknowledged an I.D. system is more complex than originally thought given the vast number of animals raised in the U.S. coupled with the controversy about costs and confidentiality.
NAIS would only be used to tracing an animal and the meat from that animal, quickly in the event of a livestock disease outbreak, like bovine spongiform encephalopathy, he stressed.
NAIS would help stop the spread of such diseases and minimize the economic and social impact of an outbreak, because exposure could be limited by isolating hot spots.
The goal of NAIS is to limit the financial losses after a B.S.E.-like outbreak by quickly identifying an infected animal.
Johanns also said pursuing a national identification program is a critical response to pressure from other countries using their I.D. systems to gain export market share by promoting traceability as a marketing tool, for example.