By Shelley Mehlenbacher, Assistant State Veterinarian, Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
During the 2017 legislative session, state lawmakers modernized Vermont laws that regulate livestock movement in the State. The information in this letter will inform you of these regulatory changes and provide you with contact information and other resources necessary to effectively implement the new requirements. As with any new law or rule, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture (VAAFM) will spend considerable time educating and providing technical assistance to farmers and licensed dealers/transporters regarding these statutory updates, which became effective on July 1, 2017, prior to taking any enforcement action against violators of the new language.
These statutory changes are contained in Act 30, which can be viewed at the following link: http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT030/ACT030%20As%20Enacted.pdf
What are the requirements?
- Act 30 requires all livestock being transported within the State to satisfy the requirements for
official identification for interstate movement under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal Disease Traceability rule, 9 C.F.R. part 86 prior to leaving the property of origin, regardless of the reason for movement or duration of absence from the property. Livestock include dairy and beef cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and camelids. Examples of livestock movement within the state that this requirement applies to include transport from the farm of origin to a slaughter facility, movement to a new farm location, and transport to a fair or exhibit.
- There is already an existing requirement for animals to be officially identified for movement between states. Animal disease traceability, or knowing where diseased and at-risk animals are, where they've been, and when, is very important to ensure a rapid response when animal disease events occur. An efficient and accurate animal disease traceability system helps reduce the number of animals involved in an investigation, reduces the time needed to respond, and decreases the cost to producers and the government.
Any exceptions to the intrastate identification requirement?
- Livestock transported from the property of origin for purposes of receiving veterinary care at a hospital in Vermont are exempt from the ID requirements, provided that the livestock are returned to the property of origin immediately following the conclusion of veterinary care.
What is official identification?
- The definition of official identification does not include back tags.
- Official identification is defined as a nationally unique number that is permanently associated with an animal or group of animals and that adheres to one of the following systems:
1) National Uniform Eartagging System (NUES). NUES ear tags are generally metal and begin with an official state number followed by three letters and then four numbers. The official state number for Vermont is ’13’.
(2) Animal Identification Number (AIN). AIN ear tags begin with an official country code followed by an additional 12 digit for 15 digits in total. The official U.S. country code is ‘840’.
(3) Location-based number system.
(4) Flock-based number system.
- An educational handout illustrating the different types of official identification can be found at http://agriculture.vermont.gov/node/1371
What official identification methods are used in Vermont and how do I obtain official ear tags?
- Metal ear tags (NUES tags) and 840 ear tags (AIN tags) are commonly used in Vermont by livestock owners. For many years, VAAFM has provided metal NUES tags at no charge to farmers, veterinarians, and livestock dealers. Please call the Animal Health Section at (802) 828-2421 to request tags.
- AIN 840 tags may be purchased from most ear tag distributors.
What are the next steps?
- VAAFM strongly encourages all livestock farmers, dealers, transporters, market personnel and other industry partners to review Act 30 and contact the VAAFM Animal Health Office with any questions.
- VAAFM Animal Health staff will be working with impacted businesses and farms to ensure proper implementation of these new ID requirements for intrastate livestock movement.
- VAAFM staff can assist farmers with obtaining ear tags and answer questions about the requirements and official identification.
What resources are available?
- Animal Health Office – (802) 828-2421
- Official tag illustration - http://agriculture.vermont.gov/node/1371
- Act 30 - http://legislature.vermont.gov/assets/Documents/2018/Docs/ACTS/ACT030/ACT030%20As%20Enacted.pdf
- Federal interstate movement requirements - https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/SA_Traceability