Senate adopts Warnick bill to modernize animal disease traceability

20150309_160729crBeginning in 2011, the Washington State Department of Agriculture implemented the Animal Disease Traceability to better track animals and locate instances of disease. Senate Bill 5733, sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, was approved in a nearly unanimous vote Monday. The measure would implement an electronic livestock transaction system.

“We are using technology to increase safety in our food supply and possibly make the process easier for our farmers,” said Warnick, R-Moses Lake. “The Washington State Department Agriculture is working on final implementation to have timely information regarding the transfer of ownership and traceability in the event of a disease outbreak.”

The legislation allows licenses to electronically report cattle transactions as an alternative to mandatory cattle inspection requirements currently in place. This information is already collected through the mandatory program but the electronic system is viewed as a more efficient approach to collecting data related to transactions.

“This bill makes information about transactions more accessible, more complete, and producers will have that information available. This does not require producers to submit movements to the Department of Agriculture but helps keep records in the event there are issues with livestock health.”

“The Washington Cattlemen’s Association appreciates the efforts and focus that Senator Warnick has made to see that Animal Disease Traceability is able to be implemented in Washington State,” said Jack Field, Executive Vice President of the Washington Cattleman’s Association.

ADT is an important tool that will assist the cattle industry and animal health officials in the event of an animal health event. The cattle industry has worked closely with the WSDA to ensure that all necessary information is captured for ADT. Senate Bill 5733 is a component of ADT and will need to capture the same quality of information that a field inspection captures for the WSDA Lid Program.