As of 1 January 2008 all sheep and goats in Europe will have to be tracked throughout their lives. Even for a small country like the Netherlands, that's an enormous task, given the large numbers of sheep and goats and the diversity of the sector. So a field pilot was set up to resolve any potential problems in advance. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality called in TNO.
An earmark with a chip in the ear or a bolus (small ceramic tube) with a chip in the reticulum, each with a radio-frequency (RF) means of identification, will soon be an inseparable part of each sheep and goat. Together with the requisite equipment and software, they will enable lifelong tracking. The data will be stored in a central database, and this will enable the proper response to be taken in the event of any outbreak of contagious disease amongst the animals.
The RF identification system signifies a radical improvement to the current registration system that has just one central inventory each year. This will ease the administrative burden for the sector and improve the battle against disease and for food safety and, in turn, compliance with the regulations.Click here for more information on the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality.