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USDA starts new program to track farm animals

  • This July, 2012, photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, shows a cow with ear tags at a dairy farm in Lake Mills, Wis.  The federal government has launched a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials to quickly track livestock in cases of disease. In most cases, farmers and ranchers are likely to use ear tags that assign a number to each animal.  (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Laurie Lawrence)

    This July, 2012, photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, shows a cow with ear tags at a dairy farm in Lake Mills, Wis. The federal government has launched a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials to quickly track livestock in cases of disease. In most cases, farmers and ranchers are likely to use ear tags that assign a number to each animal. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Laurie Lawrence)

  • This July, 2012, photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, shows cows with ear tags at a dairy farm in Lake Mills, Wis.  The federal government has launched a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials to quickly track livestock in cases of disease. In most cases, farmers and ranchers are likely to use ear tags that assign a number to each animal.  (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Laurie Lawrence)

    This July, 2012, photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, shows cows with ear tags at a dairy farm in Lake Mills, Wis. The federal government has launched a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials to quickly track livestock in cases of disease. In most cases, farmers and ranchers are likely to use ear tags that assign a number to each animal. (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Laurie Lawrence)

  • This July, 2012, photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, shows a cow with ear tags at a dairy farm in Lake Mills, Wis.  The federal government has launched a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials to quickly track livestock in cases of disease. In most cases, farmers and ranchers are likely to use ear tags that assign a number to each animal.  (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Laurie Lawrence)
  • This July, 2012, photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, shows cows with ear tags at a dairy farm in Lake Mills, Wis.  The federal government has launched a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials to quickly track livestock in cases of disease. In most cases, farmers and ranchers are likely to use ear tags that assign a number to each animal.  (AP Photo/U.S. Department of Agriculture, Laurie Lawrence)

New system for
tracking livestock

The federal government has started a new livestock identification program to help agriculture officials quickly track livestock in cases of disease. The program applies only to animals being shipped across state lines and gives states flexibility in deciding how to identify animals. A spokeswoman for the federal Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says the program is important because it lets officials quickly identify animals that must be quarantined.

The Associated Press

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