Brussels: livestock identification
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CTA. 2004. Brussels: livestock identification. ICT Update Issue 15. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Following the recent outbreaks of livestock diseases in Europe, the identification and registration of individual animals has become an essential element of the EU´s livestock management programme.
Following the recent outbreaks of livestock diseases in Europe, the identification and registration of individual animals has become an essential element of the EU´s livestock management programme. The European Council has put into place regulations that stipulate that all animal products consumed in Europe shall be traceable from birth to slaughterhouse. These have far-reaching consequences for both EU Member States and meat-exporting ACP countries, which will have to comply by introducing fail-safe tracking systems for all their livestock. ICTs, and particularly electronic identification devices, will be essential components of such systems. On the EU side, the European Commission has shown an interest in using ICTs for livestock identification purposes since the early 1990s. In 1998, the Commission approved a large-scale project called IDEA (Identification Electronique des Animaux). As part of IDEA, one million farm animals were electronically identified, involving more than 6000 farms and 70 slaughterhouses in six EU countries. Between 1998 and 2001, the project examined the performance of three electronic tagging systems - ear tags, the stomach bolus and injectable transponders - for cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats. The IDEA project showed that electronic identification devices are far more efficient and cost-effective than traditional methods, and would improve livestock management systems. Based on the final report of the IDEA project, in 2002 the Commission submitted a draft proposal for a Council regulation: ´Establishing a system for the identification and registration of ovine and caprine animals´ (COM(2002)729). This regulation seeks to establish a mechanism for the permanent tagging of sheep and goats throughout Europe. This is a first legislative step towards the adoption of electronic identification for all farm animals. Meat-exporting ACP countries are also showing interest in electronic tracking systems for their livestock. In Botswana, for example, the Ministry of Agriculture has introduced the Livestock Identification Trace-back System (LITS) for the identification of millions of cattle to be exported to the EU (see elsewhere in this issue). In line with the IDEA project´s findings, the ministry decided to opt for electronic tagging instead of traditional identification methods in order to comply with the regulation currently in force (1760/2000) on beef labelling. LITS is likely to set a standard for the effective, daily use of ICTs in livestock identification procedures, and its progress will be closely watched by the cattle industry in the rest of Africa and, indeed, the EU. mailto:email@example.com Christophe Korn is part of the European Commission´s Joint Research Centre, http://idea.jrc.it/" text="Institute for the Protection and Security of the Citizen" / . For more information about the IDEA project see http://dbs.cordis.lu/fep-cgi/srchidadb?ACTION=D&SESSION=29002003-12-8&DOC=1&TBL=EN_NEWS&RCN=EN_RCN_ID:20199&CALLER=EN_NEWS Cordis, and for details of EU beef labelling rules see http://europa.eu.int/comm/agriculture/foodqual/beef/label_en.htm europa.eu.int/.
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