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Lack of national ID system for U.S. livestock could cost billions

A study commissioned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) says losses from the lack of a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) could as great as US$13.2 billion annually due to reduced export market access.

The comprehensive benefit-cost analysis on NAIS was completed by Kansas State University, with assistance from Colorado State University, Michigan State University and Montana State University.

The release of the study today coincides with the current “swine flu” scare which has disrupted international in pork.

 “I think given the current state of events we’re seeing how fragile markets are and how they can be impacted and affected,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told Reuters.
“We’ve always known what the traceability benefits of NAIS are, and now, with this study, we can better delineate the economic benefits and costs of adopting NAIS,” APHIS acting administrator Kevin Shea said in a release.

The study says the cattle industry cost represents 91.5 per cent of the total cost of NAIS; the swine, sheep and poultry industries account for the rest.  Identification tags and tagging cattle represent 75 per cent of the cattle sector’s annual adoption cost.  Estimated tag and tagging costs vary among cattle producers with 50 head from $3.30 to $5.22 per animal, depending on current identification practices.

The study says average cost per animal marketed is  $5.97 for cattle, $0.059 for swine and $1.39 for sheep.  For poultry, the average cost per animal is $0.0195 for layers, $0.0007 for broilers and $0.0020 for turkeys.

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