Two New Animal Identification Devices Approved

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service today announced the approval of two new animal identification devices: a visual tag with radio frequency identification (RFID) from Leader Products and the first approved injectable transponder from Digital Angel.
calendar icon 16 October 2007
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“The ability to successfully trace an animal disease to its source is critical to the health and viability of the livestock and poultry industry in the United States,”

Bruce Knight, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs.

The devices carry an official animal identification number (AIN), which is used to identify individual animals as part of USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS). USDA is technology neutral and supports a range of NAIS-compliant identification methods. All NAIS-compliant RFID devices are ISO-compliant and therefore, an ISO-compliant reader would read any of them.

“The ability to successfully trace an animal disease to its source is critical to the health and viability of the livestock and poultry industry in the United States,” said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. “With efforts to register premises under the NAIS continuing to build momentum, we are looking ahead to the next phases of the program. The approval of additional identification devices provides producers with important options for participating in the voluntary NAIS and increasing animal disease traceability in the United States.”

Leader Products is a company based in Australia that also provides tags for the Australian animal identification program. Their tag will be marketed in the United States by EZID of California. The tag is approved for use with bison, cattle, deer, elk and swine.

Injectable transponders have been used successfully for many years for proof of ownership, identification and management purposes in a number of animal species. Companies are now developing injectable transponders to meet NAIS specifications.

Digital Angel of St. Paul, Minn., is already an approved manufacturer of visual RFID tags and now adds the first approved injectable transponder as a NAIS compliant identification device. The transponder is approved for use in horses, alpacas and llamas. The Equine Species Working Group, comprised of industry and government representatives, has recommended that NAIS use injectable transponders as the preferred method of electronic ID in horses.

With these additions, there are now eight approved NAIS-compliant identification devices from five manufacturers. Other approved manufacturers include Allflex USA, Inc., Global Animal Management/Gissler Technologies and Y-Tex Corporation.

USDA encourages industry to develop NAIS-compliant devices but the Department is “technology neutral,” meaning it does not support one type or brand of device over another. The intent is to enable producers to have a wide variety of choices when it comes to choosing what will work best for their individual operation.

NAIS is a modern, streamlined information system that helps producers and animal health officials respond quickly and effectively to animal health events in the United States. The program, which is voluntary at the federal level, consists of three parts: premises registration, animal identification and tracing. So far, more than 416,178 premises across the country have been registered as part of the program, and producers with registered premises have obtained more than 1.6 million AIN devices.

Only APHIS-approved AIN manufacturers are authorized to manufacture official animal identification devices, which include RFID devices and other methods. For more information on NAIS, a list of approved AIN device manufacturers and information on how to become an approved manufacturer, please visit

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