New cattle registration rule could help track animal disease - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

New cattle registration rule could help track animal disease outbreaks

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CALDWELL, W. Va (WVVA)-- A new rule that will soon take effect will require intra-state cattle to be marked with US tags on their ears.

The tags are available for beef producers to purchase, and can be either electronic or metal.

Animal Health Technician Jason Garrett works for the West Virginia Department of Education. He said this rule is all about protecting the industry, as well as consumers.

"Beef prices will go up if [if there's an outbreak] and no one will even want to buy it because there will be such a scare," said Garrett. "And we wouldn't be able to ship any of our meats or anything overseas, it would just put a hold on everything."

Garrett said if that happens, the industry could take a big hit.

"If there was an outbreak, it would just cripple the agriculture industry. And the sooner we can address the problem, the sooner [the producers] can get back to business."

Once registered with the new tags, the cow will be added to a database.

From there, the Department of Agriculture can track the spread of a disease from when the infected cow is sold to where it ends up, and hopefully nip that process in the bud.

The rule is nation-wide but it's up to individual states to decide exemptions to it, said Garrett. West Virginia's department of agriculture will start enforcing theirs on March 11th.

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