associate a given animal with birth record [and] feed lot as it processes into the slaughter facility. By having a registration using RFID or bar-code AIDC media, the animal can be tracked from ranch to sales, to feed lot, county of origin and into the slaughterhouse."

RFID can be placed inside a cow's stomach, which is an ISO standard, or on its ear. It can also be injected under the animal's skin, but the stomach RFID tag is the only one that cannot be pulled off or replaced easily by an unscrupulous individual. The read distances on all are approximately the same.

What's Next?

Though the United States is still working to get a national tracking system in place, Canada is enhancing its system, said the CCIA's Stitt.

"We're adding geographical information systems, zoning capabilities and birth date records to the database," she said. "The whole system was built very scalable, so we can add onto it at any point."

Adding GIS is in the works, Stitt said, and the CCIA has a template to incorporate the information. Different initiatives going on throughout Canada must be brought together so information can be accessed in the most practical way during an animal health emergency, she said.

As far as the United States is concerned, there's still work to be done, Fourdraine said.

"It's going to take the effort of many entities, and there will be opportunities for many entities to play a role in this thing," he said. "We have to get it off the ground at some point. Hopefully if the funding becomes available, we can get started this year."

Jessica Jones  |  Managing Editor