The need to track disease outbreaks in livestock more effectively has led to new federal regulations for shipping horses – so before you leave the farm with a load of horses make sure you know what is needed to be compliant.
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has instituted the Animal Disease Traceability Program. Come next month, horses moving between states must be identified and accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. Additionally, the horses must be identified prior to movement and accompanied by an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection or other state-approved document.
All states now require an ICVI to accompany any horse entering their state. Officials say this should make for a smooth transition to the new traceability rule. This system is based on a previous recommendation you may already follow. It was voluntary, while this new regulation is mandatory.
Horses that are required to be officially identified under the new rules may be identified by one of the following methods according to USDA officials:
– A description sufficient to identify the individual horse including, but not limited to, name, age, breed, color, gender, distinctive markings, and unique and permanent forms of identification, such as brands, tattoos, scars, cowlicks, blemishes, or biometric measurements). In the event that the identity of the horse is in question at the receiving destination, the state animal health official in the state of destination or APHIS representative may determine if the description provided is sufficient; or
– Electronic identification (Animal Identification Number) that complies with ISO 11784/11785; or
– Non-ISO electronic identification injected into the horse on or before March 11, 2014; or
– Digital photographs sufficient to identify the individual horse; or
– A USDA backtag for horses being transported to slaughter as required by the Commercial Transport of Horses to Slaughter regulations.
– Animal Identification Numbers and microchips are an option, but not a requirement for horses.
There are exclusions to the new requirements for the following horses:
– Horses used as a mode of transportation (horseback, horse and buggy) for travel to another location that return directly to the original location.
– Horses moved from a farm or stable for veterinary treatment that are returned to the same location without change in ownership.
– Horses moved directly from a location in one state through another state to a second location in the original state.
– Horses moved between shipping and receiving states with another form of identification or documentation other than an ICVI, e.g., a horse infectious anemia test chart, as agreed to by the shipping and receiving states or tribes involved in the movement.
The new rule goes into effect on March 13, 2013. For more information, go to the USDA website.