R-CALF Seeks to Stop USDA RFID Ear Tag Mandate

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A lawsuit by R-CALF USA seeks to block the Department of Agriculture’s mandate of radio frequency identification, or RFID, ear tags for all animals required to have official identification. R-CALF and other groups filed the lawsuit last week seeking an injunction against Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Administrator Kevin Shae, who together issued the RFID mandate in April of this year.

Beginning January 1, 2023, USDA says all cattle and bison that are required to have official identification under current regulations must have official RFID ear tags. The lawsuit alleges that USDA’s mandate, along with the requirement that they obtain a premises identification number, and the elimination of all other animal identification options currently available to U.S. cattle producers, violate current traceability regulations.

R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard says the move by USDA shows “USDA is catering to special interests,” adding “the agency wants to gift RFID ear tag manufactures even more profits.”