President Trump promised as part of his deregulation campaign to end bureaucratic “guidance” that dodges normal rule-making. Someone should tell the U.S. Department of Agriculture as it tries to impose burdensome new cattle-identification requirements.

To prevent the spread of diseases like bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis, the USDA needs to identify and track livestock. In 2013 the agency finalized a rule requiring identification for all cattle grazed, sold, bought or slaughtered across state lines. The regs allowed livestock producers to choose from a range of ID options, including brands, tattoos, metal ear tags or radio-frequency identification.

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