Publications: Animal Identification & Tracing


Cattle Traceability: Potential Legal Implications

Elizabeth Rumley, National Agricultural Law Center
Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

As the cattle industry considers implementation of a farm-to-fork traceability system, concerns about the legal implications consequential to that system have been raised. This paper will outline those concerns, including privacy concerns as well as potential legal theories under which cattle producers and finishers may either be protected or held liable. Download this articlePosted 8/31/18

States’ Animal Identification Statutes

Elizabeth (Springsteen) Rumley Staff Attorney National Agricultural Law Center

On February 5, 2010, the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, announced the abandonment of the National Animal Identification System (“NAIS”), which was a voluntary federal program meant to identify and trace the movement of animals throughout their life cycle.  NAIS was implemented in order to facilitate the quick identification of animals that had been exposed to a potential disease threat.  Instead of NAIS, Secretary Vilsack explained that a new approach would be taken, with states and tribal governments bearing responsibility for their respective identification programs.  Since the programs are now state-based, they will necessarily be governed by state-specific laws as well.  This compilation of States’ Animal Identification Statutes provides the statutory text of each state’s laws dealing with animal identification programs, along with the date of its possible expiration. The primary aim of this compilation is to provide the researcher with easy and free access to a state’s statutory language by simply clicking on the state’s image in the map provided.      Download this compilation. Posted: July 21, 2010

Approaching Liability with Animal Identification

Eric Pendergrass Attorney at Law

This article addresses prominent legal liability issues associated with the development and implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). In particular, the article addresses legal issues associated with warranties theory and several states’ approaches to limiting producers’ potential liability under the warranties theory. The article also focuses on strict liability and negligence theories in the NAIS context.    Download this article. Posted: July 12, 2007

A Comparison of International Animal Identification Programs

Eric Pendergrass Graduate Assistant National Agricultural Law Center

As with many international issues that are addressed by the countries individually instead of on a global basis, the animal identification programs and their application varies widely between nations.  This article discusses the programs that have been implemented by certain countries.  Within this discussion, issues are addressed when information was available, including a brief history of the program, its stated purpose, how the program addresses producer liability and confidentiality, and who bears the cost burden of the program’s implementation.    Download this article. Posted: April 23, 2007

Varying State Approaches to Confidentiality with Premises and Animal Identification Systems

Eric Pendergrass Graduate Assistant National Agricultural Law Center

A major issue surrounding the National Animal Identification System is whether the information gathered under the system will be confidential.  This article explores how different states have addressed this issue in state law as categorized in three different approaches:  (1) Non-acting; (2) Reliance on current law; and (3) Passage of specific exemptions.    Download this article. Posted: January 4, 2007

State Identification Statutes: Confidentiality Provisions Relating to Animal and Premises Identification

Eric Pendergrass Graduate Assistant National Agricultural Law Center

This publication provides a table of state statutory citations for state laws that involve the National Animal Identification System.  In Particular, the table includes cites regarding premises identification, animal identification, and confidentiality.    Download this article. Posted: January 4, 2007

Animal Identification and the Next Farm Bill

Doug O’Brien Research Assistant Professor and Interim Co-Director National Agricultural Law Center, University of Arkansas School of Law Staff Attorney, Drake University Agricultural Law Center

A somewhat nontraditional area that Congress may address in the next Farm Bill is animal identification.  The effort to create a national animal identification program received a considerable push in late 2003 after a cow in Washington State was diagnosed with bovine spongiform encephalitis.  Since that time, USDA, state animal health officials, and private industry have begun to implement the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).  This article looks first at how the NAIS is designed and then at some federal and state laws that affect the NAIS.  It then examines federal legislation that has been proposed to amend the NAIS and concludes by highlighting some of the issues that might arise during the farm bill debate. Download this article Posted: October 26, 2006

Legal Issues in Developing a National Plan for Animal Identification

Michael T. Roberts, Director
Harrison M. Pittman, Staff Attorney The National Agricultural Law Center

The recent discovery in the United States of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, commonly referred to as mad cow disease, has accelerated efforts to implement a national identification program for animals.  This is no easy task, as funding, logistical, and legal concerns need to be resolved.  This article briefly reviews the efforts to develop a national animal identification program and frames the legal issues raised by some producers to such a program.    Download this article. Posted: Feb. 4, 2004