Alabama Senate passes BSE confidentiality legislation

The Alabama State Senate has passed HB 254 with a vote of 20-6. This bill will provide for the confidentiality of information initially gathered by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries as the department implements and maintains a database for Animal Identification in accord and consistent with the United States Department of Agriculture's National Animal Identification System.

Premises ID Registration has been implemented in the last year and Animal ID Registration is not far behind. The information on premises and animals, gathered at the request of Commissioner Sparks, is to protect the interest of public health, safety, and welfare.

“The Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries’ system will comply with any USDA policies and we will not implement an animal ID system that would hurt Alabama farmers whether they raise 2 animals or 2,000 animals,” said Sparks.

“I truly appreciate what the legislature has done for the farmers and consumers of Alabama.”

As of March 30, 14 locations and 44 movements of cattle had been examined with 39 of those being substantially completed. Additional investigations of locations and herds will continue. This process is to eliminate herds from the ongoing investigation.

A flow chart showing how the traceback process is progressing has been posted on the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries Web site . As the chart illustrates, the investigation has broadened to include many farms and stockyards. The farms are where the index cow may have lived previously or where her immediate family members may have lived.

The stockyards are places where investigators have reviewed records of transactions and conducted interviews. Each link is being thoroughly examined and then, based on the information collected the link will either continue on to another location or be closed Federal and state officials have stressed that it may not be possible to trace the index cow to her herd of origin due to the primitive traceback methods being used in the investigation. Eventually, leads in the case may be exhausted despite best efforts.

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