The United States Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that it has begun providing tens of thousands of RFID ear tags for use in state bovine tuberculosis control programs. The tags are part of the 1.5 million RF animal identification tags the USDA has purchased to support various animal disease control programs, all part of its recently introduced “Business Plan to Advance Animal Disease Traceability.”
RFID tags have already been used in beef and dairy operations for management and marketing purposes for several years. Now, the National Animal Identification System aims to put the technology to use in fighting disease outbreaks. The ultimate goal is to be able to trace any disease outbreak to its source herd within 48 hours.
Since 2002, bovine TB detections in six states have required the destruction of more than 25,000 cattle. The USDA has tested over 787,000 animals in response to TB outbreaks since 2004.