Animal Disease Traceability

The ability to rapidly trace movements of diseased animals or at-risk animals exposed to disease is essential for a prompt response to an animal disease event. Animal disease traceability does not prevent disease, but is an indispensable element for ongoing disease control programs and for emergency response disease investigations by animal health officials. Federal and state animal health officials, in cooperation with livestock industry stakeholders, developed an animal traceability framework to enhance the ability to trace the movement of livestock. The United States Department of Agriculture has the authority to regulate and promulgate regulations for the interstate movement of livestock.

NOTICE: On April 1, 2017, changes to animal disease traceability regulations, including requirements for movement of cattle, identification, documentation, and specific livestock diseases, went into effect. The regulation changes can be found in Chapters 2 and 7, Division 2 of Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations. These includes the requirement that:

  1. All dairy cattle born after January 1, 2017 must be officially identified prior to leaving their birth premises, unless moving directly to an approved tagging site.
  2. All dairy cattle changing ownership require official identification unless moving directly to:
    • An approved tagging site
    • A recognized slaughtering establishment with a USDA approved backtag
    • No more than one approved livestock marketing facility (that is an approved tagging site), and then to a recognized slaughtering establishment with a USDA approved backtag
  3. Non-virgin bulls less than 18 months of age and all bulls 18 months of age and over must bear individual official identification prior to change of ownership (unless moving directly to a recognized slaughter facility or on a Bull Slaughter Agreement).
  4. Non-virgin bulls less than 18 months of age and bulls 18 months of age and over changing ownership/moving interstate as breeding bulls must be accompanied by a negative trichomonosis PCR test result taken within 60 calendar days prior to sale/move.
  5. Bulls, when trichomonosis tested, require both official individual ID AND a trichomonosis approved color-coded eartag; the official identification of each bull must be recorded and accompany the trichomonosis sample to the laboratory (the trichomonosis tag is not an official identification tag because it does not including the “Official eartag shield” and is removal/replacement during testing).

Additional information on the Trichomonosis program can be found on the Trichomonosis page.

Notice: Animal Disease Traceability Rule — Effective April 1, 2017

The Department of Food and Agriculture, Animal Health Branch, proposed various changes to Division 2 of Title 3 of the California Code of Regulations. The changes will implement specified requirements (cattle and bison) of the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal Disease Traceability rule (9 CFR Part 86), which establishes official identification and documentation requirements for the traceability of livestock moving between all states, and modifies those requirements as necessary to facilitate movement and husbandry practices unique to California's beef and dairy cattle industries.

Additionally, the regulation changes relocate existing importation, movement and identification regulations for cattle and bison pursuant to specific livestock diseases (bovine brucellosis and tuberculosis, and trichomonosis) into those proposed new animal disease traceability requirements; and deletes outdated requirements, replacing them with updated requirements to reflect current industry practices to enhance existing prevention, control and eradication disease programs.

For Veterinarians

We encourage the use of electronic technology for animal disease traceability purposes, which includes Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID), RFID readers (wands), Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), electronic Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVIs), and USDA's Mobile Information Management (MIM) software. Use of electronic technology for animal disease traceability increases the ease, efficiency, and accuracy of data used for daily herd management, movement, routine veterinary services, and in the event of disease outbreaks.

Timely submission and accurate completion of required forms and information by accredited veterinarians to the Animal Health Branch is critical for animal disease traceability and disease surveillance.

Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVIs) and accompanying documents (e.g., lists of official identification numbers, test results) must be forwarded to CDFA within seven (7) calendar days from date of issue. Common errors in issuing Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVIs) include:

  • Missing official identification (ID) information,
  • Missing Coggins (EIA) test information for equids,
  • Missing permit numbers if required, and
  • Delayed submission of CVI and documents to CDFA-AHB.

Veterinarians are responsible for verifying entry requirements of the destination state before moving livestock and poultry to ensure that shipments comply with interstate movement laws and regulations.

Veterinarians or facilities distributing official identification ear tags must report this distribution to CDFA-AHB on a quarterly basis. Use the form "Report of Official Ear Tags Distributed or Applied " (AHB Form 76-210) and send to or the local CDFA-AHB district office within seven (7) calendar days following the end of each reporting quarter, even if no tags were distributed. Reporting quarters end in March, June, September, and December of each year.

  • If a veterinarian (or other person) distributes a series of RFID tags or silver tags, or applies tags that are not associated with an official requirement, the tag numbers should be reported to CDFA-AHB on the "Report of Official Ear Tags Distributed or Applied" or electronically.
  • If a veterinarian (or other person) applies or uses RFID tags for any official requirement (e.g., tuberculosis testing, brucellosis testing, brucellosis vaccination, CVI), the tag numbers should be reported to CDFA-AHB electronically (not on a paper form) with that official report.

Note: Trichomonosis tags don't need to be reported to CDFA-AHB; the bull's official identification number should be included on the submission form when a sample is submitted for trichomonosis testing.

For more information on the use of Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFID) as the official ID tags for brucellosis vaccination, including the methods of reporting RFID tag numbers to CDFA-AHB and relevant regulations regarding official ID in vaccinates, please see this factsheet:

Use of RFID as Official Identification for Brucellosis Vaccination

Please contact CDFA-AHB headquarters or your local district office if you are interested in incorporating electronic technology for animal disease traceability in your practice.

Interstate Movement Requirements

It is important to verify entry requirements of the destination state before moving livestock and poultry; some states may have additional regulations and requirements.

Please visit the following websites to determine entry requirements for each state:

Identification of Premises

Identification of premises involved in animal agriculture is an asset to achieving an efficient and effective animal disease traceability program. Producers voluntarily contribute to the effectiveness of the program by obtaining a Premises Identification Number (PIN). Producers who have a PIN are able to order official AIN (840) tags. To obtain a PIN, visit, call 866-325-5681, or email us at