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Product title :

The development and use of electronic ruminal boluses as a vehicle for bovine identification

Author(s) : R.J. Fallon

Summary :

Traceability of meat to the farm of origin is becoming increasingly important to consumers and producers. Traceability systems would be greatly facilitated by electronic animal identification which, for example, would eliminate errors associated with the manual transcription of data. Additionally, the level of production supports provided to the bovine sectors within the European Union demands a high level of security in bovine identification within this region. An electronic rumen bolus provides a safe, tamper-proof method of electronic animal identification. The success of the electronic rumen bolus is facilitated by having an applicator for young calves which delivers the bolus directly to the rumen/reticulum, a bolus with a specific density of 3 g/cm3 or greater and portable or static readers which are capable of reading the passive transponder in the boluses. In Europe, the different methods of electronic identification are compared in a trial organised by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Ispra, Italy. The JRC has developed a list of approved boluses used to electronically identify cattle with a unique number on the transponder which cannot be changed. The choice between a rumen bolus and ear tag as a method of electronic animal identification will depend on the degree of security required. If tampering with ear tags is thought to be possible, the rumen bolus would offer a secure alternative method of electronic animal identification.

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