APHIS Outlines Next Steps for Animal Disease Traceability
October 5, 2018

Throughout FY 2018, APHIS provided metal serial or flock ID ear tags to sheep and goat producers free of charge. Last week, APHIS announced that due to significant increases in the cost of metal tags, Veterinary Services will only provide metal serial tags in FY 2019 and limit the number of free tags available to producers in order to keep costs within budget.

Producers and other entities may receive up to 100 metal serial tags every 2 years. Markets will continue to get the number of metal serial tags they require.

In response to industry's request to have the metal tags stand out better on white ears, APHIS will provide orange metal serial tags (versus white) going forward. Slaughter-only metal serial ear tags will continue to be blue. ASI remains dedicated to working with APHIS to address this situation and ensure producers have access to the tags they need.

"The Scrapie Eradication program has been the most aggressive and most successful such program in the world," said ASI executive director Peter Orwick. "A lot of that success is due to the assistance we've been able to provide producers through ID tags and recordkeeping. ASI will continue to work with USDA and appropriators in Congress to ensure the continued success of this program."

This week, ASI's Animal Health Committee met and discussed the announcement identifying future meeting opportunities with USDA/APHIS, state animal health and industry partners to pursue appropriate policy on sheep identification.