With the USDA expected to issue a final rule on animal-disease traceability in the coming months, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) beat them to the punch, announcing their own requirements to take effect on January 1.

The rule states that at change of ownership, all sexually intact adult beef cattle 18 months and up, and Mexican-origin cattl, must have a TAHC-approved permanent identification. Nursing calves, steers, spayed heifers, bulls and heifers under 18 months are exempt (unless a heifer has calved). Ranchers also can move an animal directly from their premise to slaughter without an ID.

According to the commission, the state unofficially suspended brucellosis testing requirements, and the associated ear-tag requirements, in August 2011. That change left the TAHC without an effective means to trace cattle in a disease investigation. The new rule replaces the tagging requirement associated with brucellosis testing.

The TAHC expects the Texas rule will put the state’s beef industry in compliance with the anticipated USDA Animal Disease Traceability rule for interstate movement.