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Animal Identification: Overview and Issues

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Livestock industry groups, animal health officials, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been working to establish a nationwide identification (ID) system capable of quickly tracking animals from birth to slaughter, in order to combat a serious animal disease and/or to satisfy foreign market specifications. Some consumer groups are among those who believe ID also would be useful for food safety or retail labeling purposes. Some producers oppose new programs, fearing they will be costly and intrusive. In the 110th Congress as of April 2007, one related bill (H.R. 1018) had been introduced; it would prohibit a mandatory program. Lawmakers could be asked to consider this or other measures on the topic, possibly as part of a 2007 farm bill.