Narrator: This is Science Today. In light of recent outbreaks of exotic Newcastle disease in California poultry, mad cow disease in Canada and tuberculosis in Mexico and Texas, U.S. government livestock scientists and officials are looking into proposals to set up a mandatory national animal identification program. Beef cattle management specialist, John Maas of the University of California, Davis, says proponents such as the USDA, want a reliable ability to trace animals, reduce the spread of disease and minimize losses.
Maas: For beef cattle and dairy cattle, for that matter, it could be fantastic if it's done right or it just could be an added expense that creates confusion.
Narrator: Maas says the program should be put on the table for industry and consumer review to better ensure its chance of success.
Mass: We're rushing pretty fast with a program that may cause us more trouble than it solves problems. I think a lot of people are very comfortable with the concept of ID, but it's like anything else - when the details get to be known, we may have a different story.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.