Advocacy in action

NAIS and the swine veterinarian

A rapid response to an animal-health emergency requires that officials know where animals and resources are located and that they be able to identify the animals and track their movements. To address these challenges, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

NAIS is designed to:

  • Increase the United States’ disease response capabilities
  • Limit the spread of animal diseases
  • Minimize animal losses and economic impact
  • Protect producers’ livelihoods
  • Maintain market access

Veterinarians serve a key role in the NAIS, both as promoters of the need for an animal identification system, encouraging their clients to participate, and as principle participants in the implementation of the program. The AASV has joined with the National Pork Board (NPB) and the USDA to educate swine veterinarians about the importance of NAIS and the veterinarian’s role in the system.

The NAIS comprises three main components: premises registration, animal identification, and animal-movement tracing. The USDA is currently concentrating on the first phase, premises registration. The effectiveness of the system relies on knowing where livestock are housed and the location of other vital resources, such as veterinary clinics and processing facilities. The USDA is working with NPB and other commodity groups to encourage livestock producers to register their premises through their state’s animal health agency.

Pork producers strongly support the NAIS and have developed the Swine ID Plan as the swine-specific identification program that conforms to the NAIS guidelines. Thanks to the hard work of NPB, swine producers have the highest proportion of facilities registered of any of the commodity groups. Currently, over 75% of all swine premises are registered. Additional information about the Swine ID Plan can be found on the NPB website at

The AASV Board of Directors adopted a position statement in 2007 urging veterinarians to register their clinic premises and encouraging our members to work to insure their clients register their livestock premises as well. Registering your clinic insures that officials can contact you with important information during an animal-health emergency.

Registration is voluntary and the basic information collected is confidential. Following registration, each individual premises will be assigned an official Premises Identification Number (PIN).

Why is premises registration important?

  • Premises registration facilitates locating clinics and livestock facilities during an animal-health emergency.
  • Premises registration enables rapid communication to veterinarians and livestock owners during an animal-health emergency.
  • State and federal animal-health officials will likely start requiring a PIN on official forms including Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (Health Certificates) and laboratory submissions.
  • Packers and livestock markets will likely begin requiring a PIN on shipments of incoming animals.

To learn more about premises registration in your state, contact your state animalhealth official or visit the USDA’s NAIS web site at There you will find an interactive map that will take you directly to your state’s animal identification Web site for further information.

What is the veterinarian’s role in NAIS?

  • The veterinarian is the first line of defense to prevent and control the spread of disease.
  • Veterinarians have close contact with livestock producers and are viewed as trusted and knowledgeable resources regarding animal health issues.
  • State and federal animal-health officials will likely require premises registration numbers on official forms including Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (Health Certificates) and laboratory submissions.
  • Packers and livestock markets will likely begin requiring PINs on shipments of incoming animals.
  • The accredited veterinarian will be called on to aid local, state, and federal response efforts during an animalhealth emergency.

To learn more about the veterinarian’s role in NAIS, USDA has developed an online publication entitled A Veterinarian’s Toolkit, which provides an introduction to NAIS and a reference guide that explains how NAIS works. The toolkit also includes factsheets and conversation-starter tips to help accredited veterinarians deliver information about NAIS to their clients. The online toolkit can be found on the NAIS website at

Thanks to funding from the NPB, we will be promoting NAIS in 2009 and educating our members about the veterinarian’s responsibilities in the program. The AASV encourages you to learn more about the system and your role. And remember to register your premises, it’s the right thing to do!

-- Harry Snelson, DVM