ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) will begin enforcing new animal identification requirements for those entering animals into fairs, show and exhibits this season. The move will bring the state’s exhibitors into full compliance with the USDA’s Animal Disease Traceability regulations that were adopted last February and phased in over the last year.
During shows and exhibits, large numbers of animals – such as cows, pigs and sheep – are gathered closely together. If one is sick, the possibility of the disease spreading to other animals and even humans is significantly higher at fairs and shows than on the farm. Animal illnesses can impact animal industries and some illness can be spread from animals to humans. The new rules – which generally impact swine, cattle, sheep and goats — help ensure that all animals are clearly identified and their movements traceable in an animal health, public health or food safety event.
The new rules require all animals (except rabbits) to have an official MDA or USDA identification tag before entering exhibitions. The tag must identify which farm or premise the animal came from.
Brands or tattoos on cattle and recognized breed ear notches or tattoos on swine are no longer acceptable as official identification in Maryland exhibitions. All sheep and goats must be officially scrapie-identified with USDA-approved ear tags, tattoos or microchips.
The new exhibition rules impact animals moving within the boundaries of the state and animals being moved into or out of Maryland. For complete guidelines.
Official identification tags may be requested from MDA by calling 410-841-5810 or emailing email@example.com.
Call 1-866-USDA-TAG (866-873-2824) to be connected to your local Veterinary Services Area Office and request that a scrapie premises identification number and Flock ID be assigned to your flock. Producers or veterinarians who have questions about the rule should contact MDA Animal Health Inspectors Dave Shinham or Melissa Foster at 410-841-5810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MDA’s Animal Health Program works to safeguard Maryland’s animal industries and public health at Fairs and Shows by enforcing these requirements.
Source: Maryland Department of Agriculture