A rapid response to an animal health emergency requires that officials know where animals and resources are located and that they be able to identify the animals and track their movements, writes Harry Snelson of the AASV.
To address these challenges, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed the National Animal Identification System or NAIS.
Joined with the National Pork Board
Veterinarians serve a key role in the NAIS both as promoters of the need for an animal identification system (encouraging their clients to participate) and as principle participants in the implementation of the programme. The AASV has joined with the National Pork Board (NPB) and the USDA to educate swine veterinarians about the importance of the NAIS and the veterinarian's role in the system.
The NAIS is comprised of three main components: premises registration, animal identification and animal movement tracing. USDA is currently concentrating on the first phase, premises registration. The effectiveness of the system relies on knowing where livestock are housed and the location of other vital resources such as veterinary clinics and processing facilities.
The AASV Board of Directors adopted a position statement in 2007 urging veterinarians to register their clinic premises and encouraging AASV members to work to insure their clients register their livestock premises as well. Registering your clinic insures that officials can contact you with important information during an animal health emergency.
Pork producer support
Pork producers strongly support the NAIS and have developed the Swine ID Plan as the swine-specific identification program that conforms to the NAIS guidelines. Over 75% of swine premises are currently registered.
To learn more about premises registration in your state, contact your state animal health official or visit the USDA's NAIS web site. To educate veterinarians about their role in the NAIS, USDA developed an online publication entitled A Veterinarian's Toolkit which provides an introduction to NAIS and a reference guide that explains how NAIS works.
• National Pork Board