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What is RFID Ear Tag

An ear tag is a plastic or metal object used for identification of domestic livestock and other animals. If the ear tag contains an RFID module conforming to ISO 11784 & 11785, then it is called an Electronic Ear Tag.

Sheep with rfid visual ear tag

An ear tag usually carries an individual identification number or code for the animal, or for its herd or flock. This identification number (ID) may be assigned by some national organisations (usually in the form of Property Identi?cation Code, or PIC), or they may be handwritten for the convenience of the farmer ("management tags"). The National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) of Australia regulations require that all cattle be fitted with a RFID device in the form of an ear tag or rumen bolus before movement from the property and that the movement be reported to the NLIS. However, if animals are tagged for internal purposes in a herd or farm, IDs need not be unique in larger scales. The NLIS now also requires sheep and goats to use an ear tag that has the Property Identi?cation Code inscribed on it. These ear tags and boluses are complemented by transport documents supplied by vendors that are used for identification and tracking. A similar system is used for cattle in the European Union, each bovine animal having a passport document and tag in each ear carrying the same number. Sheep and goats in the EU have one or two tags carying the official number of their flock (however, individual numbers are to be introduced from the end of 2009).

An ear tag can be applied with an ear tag applicator (also called pliers), however there are also specially-designed tags that can be applied by hand. Depending on the purpose of the tagging, an animal may be tagged on one ear or both. If there exists a national animal identification programme in a country, animals may be tagged on both ears for the sake of increased security and effectiveness, or as a legal requirement. If animals are tagged for internal purposes, usually one ear is tagged. Australian sheep and goats are required to have visually readable ear tags printed with a Property Identi?cation Code (PIC). They are complemented by movement documents supplied by consignors that are used for identification and tracking.

Very small ear tags are available for laboratory animals such as mice and rats. They are usually sold with a device that pierces the animal's ear and installs the tag at the same time. Lab animals can also be identified by other methods such as ear punching or notching (also used for livestock; see below), implanted RFID tags (mice are too small to wear an ear tag containing an RFID chip), and dye.

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