USDA believes the amendment of branding requirements would make Mexican cattle more identifiable and traceable in the event of a disease outbreak. They added that changes would reduce errors in terms of making brands easier to read and apply.
The Mexican government has had concerns with the branding requirement between the ‘Mx and MX’ brands used for spayed heifers and breeding cattle, which they described as “confusing”.
Other issues addressed by the government included size of the brands and the rejection of animals at port entries based on questions as to whether they were branded correctly.
The proposed rule would mean a change for branding with just an ‘M’ title for all cattle, which would be larger in size for better readability. To distinguish between feeder and breeding cattles, brands for breeding animals would be placed on the shoulder, while feeder cattle would continue to be branded on the back hip.
However, cattle imported from Mexico would still require an approved ear tag for traceability purposes.
USDA has recently received comments from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Farmers’ Union expressing their concerns over the battle for ‘fake meat’.