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Animal tagging


Specific Objectives

- To evaluate the performance of electronic identification devices and the necessary organizational structure in a real European Union livestock scenario, covering a period of 4 years and involving 1 million animals;
- To give input to the EU decisions makers concerning implementation of electronic identification to all livestock of the European Union (approx. 300 million of animals).
Planned Deliverables

Specific deliverables to DGs:

- Conformity, compatibility and performance study of RFID devices;

- Assess feasibility of the electronic identification devices (optimal electronic tag
and reader types). Certification of equipment;

- Determine best technique of application of transponder and reading types;

- Assess feasibility of transponder recovery;

- Determine necessary organizational structure at administrative and technical levels;

- Determine information flow between holding and
central database;

- Evaluate Data Base management and electronic identification data process.

As a result of the research:

- Procedures for the full implementation of the electronic identification system in livestock;

- Standardized test benches for quality control and performance profile of equipment (conform with ISO 11784/11785 and IEC and EN standards);

- Contribution to the Commission Report on electronic identification;

- New RFID projects in other countries (Argentina, Croatia);

- New RFID projects including DNA analysis for full traceability from birth to the end consumer;

- Cooperation with ICAR for testing and test procedures development;


The prolongation for 1 year was agreed by DG AGRI, which brings the conclusion date of the project to April 2002;

Summary of 2001 Deliverables: 30/09/2001

- 830 000 animals tagged;

- Quality control of new and recovered tags used by the contractors is completed;

- 89 Electronic identification devices are certified;

- Electromagnetic immunity, study of certified stationary readers is completed;

- Data Analysis started;

- DBase fully operational;

- Preliminary report on sheep and goats submitted to IDEA Board (DG Agri + DG Sanco)

Output Indicators and Impact

Incorporation of recommendations and conclusions of the IDEA project into Commission directives and regulations pertaining to electronic animal identification.

Recognition of TEMPEST laboratory activities by ICAR (International Committee for Animal Recording).
Summary of the project

The IDEA Project will evaluate the feasibility of electronic identification for farm animals and validate identification systems in real field conditions. One million animals of four species in 6 EU Member States, are being identified applying 3 different types of electronic tags, usually named transponders. Data about application, readings and recovery are being collected in a central database. The project covered initially a period of three years and was launched by the Directorate General for Agriculture (DG AGRI) in 1998. It was extended with another year and should be concluded in early 2002. The Joint Research Centre gives the technical support in terms of performance and conformity testing of electronic identification devices, quality control of equipment, definition and establishment of the central database, data transmission and recording during the project and global evaluation of the results. The analysis and evaluation of the results will allow to determine if electronic identification is a feasible system to trace animals individually from birth to slaughterhouse, and to identify which technology (in terms of electronic tag and reader types) could be suitable for full scale implementation to all livestock in the EU.


The identification systems currently used in livestock for fraud control and sanitary purposes (ear tags, tattoos) present the inconvenience of losses, breakage, slow data recording and large number of mistakes due to the manual data transcription. The increase in direct aid to cattle, sheep and goat farmers introduced by the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) requires greater efficiency in the management of existing premium schemes.

The implementation of an appropriate animal health surveillance scheme together with the strengthening of measures against animals diseases, and in particular against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), have underlined the need to improve the veterinary monitoring of animals. The Directive 92/102/CEE about the identification and registration of animals, and the recent Council Regulation 820/97 about the registration and identification of bovine and the establishment of a labelling system for bovine meat state in Article 10 and 4, respectively, that the Commission is examining the possibility of introducing electronic identification devices for the identification of the animals.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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