Metal swine identification tags, long a bane of the industry, may soon be a thing of the past. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach swine veterinarian James McKean said the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has developed a new plastic version as a replacement for metal tags. This will be good news for many producers.
"The tags are available from Iowa practicing veterinarians and are considered official ID for both intrastate and interstate transport of swine," he said. "The plastic tags should be easier to apply and retain for show pigs, feeder pigs and others that may be moved."
The new tags, manufactured by All-Flex, are triangular in shape, approximately an inch and a half from top to bottom and from side to side at the widest point.
America's beef supply is safe, current safeguards from BSE are working
In other livestock news last week, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey released the following statement regarding the announcement April 24 by USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford that a case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) was detected in a dairy cow from central California. BSE is also known as "Mad Cow" disease. The animal was never presented for slaughter for human consumption and as a result is no threat to the safety of the food supply. Samples from the animal were tested at the USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames.
Secretary Northey's statement follows here: "This discovery shows that the current safeguards in place to protect consumers and the food supply are working. Beef consumers in the U.S. and around the world should have tremendous confidence that Iowa and U.S. beef remains wholesome and safe."
USDA assures consumers that existing safeguards protected food supply
Following is a statement by USDA Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. John Clifford regarding detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States.
Assures Consumers That Existing Safeguards Protected Food Supply; Reiterates Safety of Consuming Beef Products
USDA Chief Veterinary Officer John Clifford today released the following statement on the detection of BSE in the United States:
"As part of our targeted surveillance system, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has confirmed the nation's fourth case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in a dairy cow from central California. The carcass of the animal is being held under State authority at a rendering facility in California and will be destroyed. It was never presented for slaughter for human consumption, so at no time presented a risk to the food supply or human health. Additionally, milk does not transmit BSE.
"The United States has had longstanding interlocking safeguards to protect human and animal health against BSE. For public health, these measures include the USDA ban on specified risk materials, or SRMs, from the food supply. SRMs are parts of the animal that are most likely to contain the BSE agent if it is present in an animal. USDA also bans all nonambulatory (sometimes called "downer") cattle from entering the human food chain. For animal health, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ban on ruminant material in cattle feed prevents the spread of the disease in the cattle herd.
"Evidence shows that our systems and safeguards to prevent BSE are working, as are similar actions taken by countries around the world. In 2011, there were only 29 worldwide cases of BSE, a dramatic decline and 99% reduction since the peak in 1992 of 37,311 cases. This is directly attributable to the impact and effectiveness of feed bans as a primary control measure for the disease.
"Samples from the animal in question were tested at USDA's National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa. Confirmatory results using immunohistochemistry and western blot tests confirmed the animal was positive for atypical BSE, a very rare form of the disease not generally associated with an animal consuming infected feed.
"We are sharing our laboratory results with international animal health reference laboratories in Canada and England, which have official World Animal Health (OIE) reference labs. These labs have extensive experience diagnosing atypical BSE and will review our confirmation of this form of the disease. In addition, we will be conducting a comprehensive epidemiological investigation in conjunction with California animal and public health officials and the FDA.
"BSE is a progressive neurological disease among cattle that is always fatal. It belongs to a family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. Affected animals may display nervousness or aggression, abnormal posture, difficulty in coordination and rising, decreased milk production, or loss of body weight despite continued appetite.
"This detection in no way affects the United States' BSE status as determined by the OIE. The United States has in place all of the elements of a system that OIE has determined ensures that beef and beef products are safe for human consumption: a mammalian feed ban, removal of specified risk materials, and vigorous surveillance. Consequently, this detection should not affect U.S. trade.
"USDA remains confident in the health of the national herd and the safety of beef and dairy products. As the epidemiological investigation progresses, USDA will continue to communicate findings in a timely and transparent manner."More information on the announcement and about BSE can be found at www.usda.gov.