BATON ROUGE, La. – State animal health officials in Louisiana now have a state-of-the-art traceability system for livestock that will allow officials to identify a single animal if disease or terrorists threatens a state herd, a according to the Office of Animal Health and Food Safety.

“The Office of Animal Health and Food Safety is beefing up the capability of the highly successful Livestock Brand Commission to build a foundation to trace livestock as animals moves through the food chain,” said Mike Strain, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner and veterinarian said. “The system protects and supports the Louisiana producer in the case of disease outbreak and creates a quick reference log to track stolen or lost animals. The information collected will be managed separately from any federal system.”

Strain said the traceability system was tested at Dominique’s Auction Stockyard in Baton Rouge, La. The system uses software and hardware from Fort Supply Technologies, a Utah and Wyoming-based company. When livestock are dropped off at the auction, an industrial hand-held computer records the eartags, backtag, brand, sex, breed, color and owner information directly into the device and uploads the information to the official’s laptop computer. Numbers from a metal or electronic eartag that may be placed on the animal is also recorded.

The new tracking system also ties into Vet-Sentry, an electronic certificate of veterinary inspection program (eCVI). Vet-Sentry allows private veterinarians to produce an electronic health certificate to better facilitate interstate movement of livestock.

LDAF manages the collected information. Authorized users can immediately research key information about animals from any computer through a secure log-in to the LDAF database, said John Walther, assistant commissioner of Animal Health and Food Safety.

“A state authorized user could look up information on any animal that might have been reported sick, missing or stolen,” Walther said. “With this system, a potential problem could be resolved quickly. It also will minimize impact on a farm or ranch, their neighbors and livestock owners in any particular area in the event of a disease outbreak or contamination.”

Funding for the system came from a Department of Homeland Security grant.