Livestock tagging may open market for RFID

DALLAS - Some think that Brian Bolton's company, a leading maker of electronic animal identification tags, stands to make a killing if the government requires farmers to tag every cow and pig.

He considers that notion, well, hogwash. It's far more lucrative to sell radio frequency identification, or RFID, devices for the millions of items that flow through retail distribution systems than it is for livestock, he and others say. Retail use will always dwarf animal use – even if you add in emus, they say.

"There is enormous variation between the supply chain industry vs. the relatively small tagging of animals inside developed countries," said Mr. Bolton, president and chief executive of Allflex USA Inc., based near Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

"There are 100 million cattle in the U.S.," he said. "Compare that to the number of parcels Wal-Mart would handle in a year.

"Livestock is a good industry. It's a solid industry. It's a growth industry. But it's not the same by the simple level of the numbers."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is still trying to decide how to best tackle the problem of animal identification.

While much of the discussion for cattle has centered on RFID devices – attached on or in the ear – working groups for other animals are studying methods ranging from implants to lip tattoos.

Source: Dallas News
calendar icon 16 February 2006
clock icon 2 minute read
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