George Luker from his blog. .
Australia’s National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is adding more value and purpose beyond its original intent of tracking cattle diseases. Identifying cattle and livestock that have wandered off of farms is being done, quickly and efficiently since they are tagged with RFID ear tags.I know if something similar happened here in Canada. I would be able to eventually get my stock back, because of the RFID tags. Canada is one step ahead of our cattleman friends to the south by making this mandatory. Now all of our beef is identified by herd of origin and by age. This has started to open up new markets for us.
Cyclone Yasi that hit and went through north Queensland last week caused so much destruction in the small town and rural area. In the path of destruction are many farms, which have had fences and posts damaged by the cyclone. With the added damages all around, are wandering livestock in the streets and on properties of fellow farmers and neighbors.
The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) is helping in the recovery of wandering and stranded livestock, which now roam freely along streets, fields, and farms. Since all livestock like cattle and sheep have mandatory RFID ear tags, it is making identification of individual animals that much easier, and livestock are being returned to their rightful owners and farm of origin.
RFID ear tags provide tamper proof identification, which cannot be manipulated, providing secure and reliable identification of livestock. Cattle and sheep have typical EID button tags, while horses have an implanted microchip for equine identification. All these different type of RFID tags provide the exact same purpose, unique identification.
With natural disasters like cyclone Yasi that has hit Australia, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology along with a national database is proof that the system works. Australian cattlemen begin to round up livestock after cyclone Yasi.
With the cattle recovery in process, this opens a Pandora’s Box on a possible animal disease epidemic. State veterinarians will be monitoring all livestock closely over the next few months for signs of diseases in cattle and sheep.
Although I do think everyone involved in the meat industry should have shared the initial costs. It is good to see our governments pitching in for the upgraded technology so that the costs are not just handed down to the producer.
Canadian beef producers are very fortunate that we have not been placed in a situation where large numbers of stock have to be identified and returned to their owners. I know that it was scary in the beginning with the Canadian Identification Agency being formed and who would own all of this information. But I think this is one mandatory program that is going to work out for the best.