IABRN — Animal identification in beef cattle is still a hot issue, almost 20 years after being brought forth by segments of industry, government and consumer groups who wanted it for a number of purposes.
The technology of visual ear tag reading has moved to electronic identification, called RFID, to newer, high frequency readers similar to ones that read your car on a toll road.
But growers are not moving that fast and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is not either.
The latest approach would keep all animals under 18 months of age out of the program. That is the stocker and feeder sector, and the most transported portion of the cattle herd.
Animal health advocates, who are looking at ways to control the spread of disease, think all cattle must be tracked as they leave the premises of their birth.
There is an upside to tracking your cattle and using the data for your purposes, but many producers are seeing the downside of consumer activists using the data to damage a producer or the entire industry.