Congressman Steve King has lost another round in his bid to get a livestock I.D. system up and running in the U.S. before requiring labels on meat to show its country of origin. King’s proposal was defeated on the House floor last (Wednesday) night, but he is optimistic his idea will ultimately gain approval. “We need to be able to trace animals back to their premise of origin, know where they’ve been and what animals they’ve been commingled with so we can eradicate disease.” King says. “I argued last night on the appropriations bill for agriculture that our cart was ahead of our horse, that we need to do the animal identification system first.” King says the C-E-O of any company would establish the I.D. system first because it’s important to be able to track the origin of the meat, not just print on a label that the meat came from the U.S. or some other country. King was in Australia this winter to study that country’s system for identifying livestock. King says calves, for example, are tagged when they’re born so the animal can be tracked by computer throughout its life. “They do it efficiently,” King says of the Australian system. He wants the U.S. to mimic that system.
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