Dec. 4 Deadline for USDA Comments

December 2, 2009 Editor — Brad Headtel, National Assn. of Farm Animal Welfare. Ag.Ed@nafaw.org

Cattle raisers across the nation are allowed only a few hours to submit comments about changes in the bovine tuberculosis (TB) program. The deadline for submission is Friday, Dec. 4. Opposition to this new enforcement is offered a comment period, but very little time to respond.

The Notice of Availability of a Bovine Tuberculosis Program Concept Paper was posted in the Oct. 5 Federal Register for those carefully hunting each new government action in the fine print

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is seeking comments to change the cooperative federal-state-industry effort to eradicate bovine tuberculosis from cattle in the United States. Since the program’s inception in 1917, significant progress has been made, and TB is almost eradicated. However, several challenges impede eradication including the refusal of state and federal wildlife herds and their lack of health management.

Cattlemen have expressed concern that this program may lead to the implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). USDA uses a number of quasi health issues to invoke mandatory NAIS. This appears to be one opportunity for a segment mandatory enforcement.

The Sec of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack authorized listening sessions to review opinions about NAIS during the past Summer. Over 95% of respondents opposed any type of NAIS tax or enforcement. This poorly thought-out USDA concept is not popular among any livestock producers, in any form.

To submit comments electronically, go to http://www.regulations.gov/.
Search for the docket using the keyword “APHIS-2009-0073.”

Comments can also be sent by mail. Send two copies of your comments to Docket No. APHIS-2009-0073, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.