Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Sparks announced that in response to the January 11 positive result for BSE in Canada (the second in that country in two weeks), the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries has accelerated the Premises ID Registration program. “I want to reassure the farmers and consumers of Alabama that the Department of Agriculture and Industries is taking steps to be proactive to protect animal and human health,” stated Sparks.
While announcing the development of the Alabama Premises Registration System, Sparks noted that livestock producers from all areas of the Alabama livestock and poultry industry can now sign up for a unique “premises identification number” for their particular livestock facility. “This is the first step in implementing a national system for quickly tracing livestock and poultry for disease investigations or during a disease outbreak or animal health emergency,” Sparks said.
The long-term goal of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI), in cooperation with the USDA and the livestock industry, is to establish a system that can identify within 48 hours all premises and domestic disease of concern. “This is a monumental but reachable goal. We must develop a practical yet comprehensive program that keeps up with animal movement and a premises registration system is vital to this effort,” Sparks continued.
State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Frazier and his staff will direct this program. “Initially, the program will focus on gathering information about livestock premises, markets, slaughter plants, veterinary clinics, etc. A Premises Registration form will be available at Stockyards, vet clinics, county agents offices or through our office. It will also be on our website at
www.agi.alabama.gov. Simply fill out the two-page form and mail or fax it to our office. The information will then be entered into the national premises number allocator. Through this allocator, which verifies the submitted address, a single premises number will be produced. This unique alphanumeric number will then be reported to the submitter. Within the next 6-8 months, this information may be submitted directly over the internet and the premises number given directly to the producer,” stated Dr. Frazier.
To protect data in regards to premises and animal identification, the USDA, state agencies like ADAI and livestock organizations and associations such as the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association (ACA), are seeking national legislation from Congress to protect data from public release or access. “Regulatory agencies need specific information about livestock such as species type, age and farm of origin,” said Sparks. “We do not need or want access to production data.”
Emerging diseases such as BSE and those foreign to this country, such as Foot and Mouth Disease, have greatly intensified public interest in developing a national animal identification program to protect animal and human health. Now Alabama livestock producers can participate in this necessary component of protecting our nation’s agricultural infrastructure. “The sooner animal health officials can identify infected and exposed animals and premises, the sooner they can contain the disease and stop its spread,” stated Commissioner Sparks.
For more information on the Alabama Premises Registration System, please contact Dr. Tony Frazier at (334) 240-7253.