BCI hosts Canadian livestock traceability expert

By Shelby Mettlen, communications  and marketing specialist

The Beef Cattle Institute (BCI) at Kansas State University hosted Anne Brunet-Burgess, general manager of the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA), at the Innovation Center at K-State’s Research Park on May 17. Her presentation coincided with a discussion on livestock traceability in the United States among the BCI, Kansas Livestock Association, Kansas Department of Agriculture and private industry stakeholders.

The CCIA provides oversight for the Canadian Cattle Identification Program, Canada’s industry-initiated and -established trace-back system designed for the containment and eradication of animal disease. The program is led by a board of directors representing livestock producers, auction markets, livestock dealers, feedlots, veterinarians and processors.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requires all regulated species –– beef and dairy cattle, bison, sheep, and goats –– to have RFID indicators.

“The intent is all about health,” Brunet-Burgess said, “At the end of the day, our mandate is to have that information in the event of a disease outbreak.”

“We appreciated the opportunity to have Ms. Brunet-Burgess join us in Manhattan for a discussion on Canada’s implementation of a disease traceability system,” said Cassie Kniebel, BCI program manager. “As we (beef industry stakeholders) evaluate the potential infrastructure for a system in Kansas and across the country, understanding current systems and their role in resuming and maintaining commerce in the event of a disease outbreak is important.”

While the concept of traceability is not new, Dr. Brad White, BCI director, noted a mindset shift in recent years.

“Historically, concerns about technology, privacy and economic costs have challenged the development of a cattle disease traceability system,” he said. “Today, industry stakeholders recognize the need for a viable end-to-end cattle disease traceability system which provides critical tools to manage a disease outbreak and may provide opportunities to add value to the industry.”