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Keep the livestock industry healthy with RFID

Posted: 23 Apr 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RFID? industry livestock? losses economic?

Animal disease outbreaks are devastating to the meat production industry, can cause catastrophic economic losses, and affect the availability and prices of meats and animal products. Not only do large numbers of infected animals need to be slaughtered, but also the resultant scares can cause huge dips in consumer consumption.

Although brief, the latest wave of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom immediately brought up memories of the devastating outbreak in 2001 when a total of 6 million animals needed to be slaughtered, resulting in a total expenditure of more than 2.6 billion pounds. This number only considers the direct impact on the meat producing industry and does not include the subsequent shutdown of large areas of northern United Kingdom. The only way to control these outbreaks' cause is to quickly determine the source and prevent any further spread of infection. Thus, a means to rapidly trace the origins of a new disease outbreak is essential.

Facing the problem of slow and outdated tracing systems, more governmental institutions see the demand for a unified, electronic identification system to overcome the inefficiency of existing implementations. Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, the European Union will mandate the electronic identification of animals for sheep and goats. From this date forward, all newborn sheep and goats are required to be equipped and registered with an electronic ear tag to ensure proper traceability, identification and restriction of the spread of animal disease.

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