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 May 15, 2005
U.S. Considers Plan to Track All Livestock
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The U.S. government is considering a plan to force farmers, feedlots, and packinghouses to track every cow, pig, and chicken from birth to slaughter by 2009, the Associated Press reported.

The plan was prompted by discovery of the brain-wasting condition dubbed "mad cow" disease in a Washington state Holstein cow in December 2003. The goal of the new system would be to identify an exposed animal within 48 hours, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns told a news conference on Thursday.

Johanns said the proposal wasn't written in stone and could be changed based on response from the livestock industry and others, the AP reported.

Meat producers, concerned about privacy issues, have resisted a mandatory government-run identification system, the wire service said. They prefer the idea of a voluntary database to which state and federal officials have limited access.

Another sticking point may be who pays for the program. A U.S. Agriculture Department official said states and the livestock industry should split the cost, the wire service said.


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