Posted February 14, 2014
 
The Washington Department of Agriculture is developing an animal traceability system to make searching cattle records easier in the event of a disease outbreak, according to a Capital Press article available here.
 
Leonard Eldridge, a retired state veterinarian, emphasized the need to fill information gaps during recent meetings.  He said the “state realized it needed a better traceability system after bovine spongiform encephalitis was discovered in a cow in 2003.”  That cow was found to have been exposed in Canada, but the department could not find all the cows that ate the same feed at that facility.
 
Currently, there are “exemptions for female dairy cattle to be traded in the state without telling the Department of Agriculture,” said Eldridge.  “It’s still a gap today we need to fix.  We need to go to the whole industry and say, ‘Tell us how to do this.’”
 
A WSDA official said the department is removing the exemption and will announce a rule change in February or March. 
 
Additional information on the state’s new “Animal Tracks” program is available here.
 
For more information on animal traceability and food safety, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here and here.