Real ID Ltd, based in Mumbai, India has developed an electronic identification and management system for livestock, which they say can create national livestock registries and reliable global supply chain traceability for animals and animal products.

CSS Rao, the company’s managing director, presented a paper outlining the concept at the 2012 conference of the International Committee for Animal Recording (ICAR) earlier this year in Cork, Ireland. Rao says the system will provide secure electronic identification for individual livestock, irrefutably linked to their true ownership at any given time, for use in management, marketing, disease mitigation and prevention of theft.

The system would use electronic identification devices such as ear tags, implants or boluses, linked to an electronic ID smart card issued by government authorities to the owners and traders of livestock.

Rao says that ID systems around the world have developed methods for identifying individual animals, but have overlooked the importance and necessity of simultaneously identifying and registering their owners and the supply chain operators, using uniform global practices and codified systems, in order to complete the chain of identification.

According to Rao, livestock identification comprises two main requirements:

  • Private or management identification operated by individual farmers for their own needs
  • Official or national identification, mandated by a government authority, such as for animal health or food safety.

Individual countries or supply chains might also have additional traceability goals, such as for food labeling. Rao says the system provides a harmonized convergence of data to efficiently achieve all these needs.

The system, he says provides owner-centric livestock identification by dealing with livestock groups via a “Group Livestock & Farm ID System.”  For disease traceability, farm of source is vitally important and more relevant than tracing an individual animal, he says, so the system traces farm ownership and treats the entire farm as one entity.

If, for example, a ban is to be imposed on import of beef from certain jurisdictions by a given country, the system would reference the appropriate Identifier Groups in the 18-digit numbering system of the Group Livestock & Farm ID Card, directed at a given country, province or even specific farm which needs to be banned  or isolated.

The 18-digit numbering system for an individual livestock owner ID card, which would be linked to animal ID devices, would include:

  • Country code – three digits
  • Provence code – two digits
  • District code – two digits
  • ID card type – one digit
  • Farmer-specific code – five digits
  • Livestock species code – two digits
  • Year of commencement of livestock farming – two digits
  • Farmer rating – one digit

The Livestock Identity Smart Card would serve as the crucial operating interface between livestock owners, their livestock and the National Livestock Registry in a given country, which would be a government owned and operated centralized repository of all essential data pertaining to livestock and their owners. The livestock data stored on this national-level database, Rao says, serves as the foundational platform for implementing a unique system of supply chain traceability and e-governance via the permanent identity number linked to Livestock Ownership ID Cards issued to livestock owners and traders.

Details of the proposed system are available in Rao’s Power Point presentation or his full paper from the proceedings of the ICAR conference in Ireland.