Privacy and Animal ID

US - Privacy has been a central issue in the debate over whether to make a national animal identification system mandatory or voluntary.
calendar icon 19 January 2007
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“It's a legitimate concern,” says Doug O'Brien, a staff attorney at the Drake University Agricultural Law Center in Des Moines, Iowa. But O'Brien, who also works at the National Agricultural Law Center at the University of Arkansas, says the issues are not straight-forward black and white ones. Instead they are colored in shades of grey. And many could be addressed in the drafting of new legislation that could be written to implement a national system.

“It's fairly complicated,” O'Brien says of an ID program. “The ground is shifting on this.” But in the debate over a mandatory vs. a voluntary plan privacy has been a driving factor, O'Brien concedes.

John Clifford, USDA's chief veterinary officer at the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), agrees that privacy has been a central issue.

“Confidentiality is definitely a concern to the private sector,” Clifford says. “We will have the premises identification database, which is nothing more than information from a phone book. Federal law will protect the confidential information from disclosure. We will have access to that data in the event of an occurrence.”

But O'Brien says that concern could be addressed in a mandatory system.

Source: Farm & Ranch Guide

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