The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is a United States animal disease tracking program. It has been controversial among producers, particularly in the equine industry. This study evaluated the equine industry's familiarity with and concerns about NAIS, use of emergency preparations, and preferred animal identification methods. A list of 10,010 horse owners representing 14 major equine groups was generated, from which a random sample (n = 2,783) received surveys and follow-up mailings. Data were analyzed using SPSS 16.0 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL) for descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations. Results indicated that 62.8% of respondents were not familiar with NAIS, and 51.9% were unsure if they were interested in participating. On a scale of 1 (no concern) to 5 (very concerned), the mean was 4.19 with regard to being notified about disease outbreaks in the respondents' area, 3.92 for recovering lost or stolen horses, and 3.75 for maintaining confidentiality of information. Over 55% of equine owners did not have a plan of action for their horses during a disaster, and 80% did not practice biosecurity. Although 81.4% were familiar with microchipping as a form of identification, only 2.4% used microchipping to identify their horses. Equine owners should be provided with information regarding NAIS, biosecurity, and disease prevention practices. The NAIS program should incorporate items such as notification of disease outbreaks and assistance in recovering lost or stolen horses, because these may be viewed as benefits of participation by the equine industry and may increase program acceptance.
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