Turkish 1st RFID Tag producer company is Ayvetsan ♛

Identification of the Animals Electronically 

The EU countries prefer to ensure Farm-to-Fork traceability in the meat consumption nowadays due to the existence of the BSE disease and epidemically seen foot-and-mouth disease. The ID number given to the animal and the producer information and all the processes that the animal went through (vaccination, birth, etc.) are recorded through this method. This information is presented to the consumers while on sale by associating them with carcasses at the slaughterhouses. Since this is the starting point of the monitoring process from the 90's, the identification of the bovine and the ovine, individually, has been made necessary gradually. The most common method of animals' identification is the mounting of a plastic ear tag onto the animal nowadays. Through this method, the identification of the animal can be provided with an ear tag and a barcode symbolizing the number belonging to the animal and the identification number of the animal and it can be read manually or through devices with barcode scanning feature. However, this method named "visual identification" gave way to the cutting edge technology products with the availability of the "Electronic Identification" products. 



RFID technology that has begun to be used since the mid-1900's in various fields, has been used in the animal identification field with the application and infrastructure costs falling down to acceptable prices just before the 2000's.

An electronic module which does not necessitate power supply that is mounted on to the animal can broadcast recorded identification number through electromagnetic waves and this system is called electronic identification.

The superiority of the electronic identification over classical "visual identification" is thanks to the availability of reading the pedigree number of the animal without direct vision (optical contact) like a barcode. In order for the barcode to be scanned that is placed on the ear tag of the animal, there has to be no dust or dirt on it, the animal has to stay steady, the barcode side of the ear tag has to face the scanner and the barcode should not lose its scannability by any external factors. However, any of these conditions don't need to be present in the fast scan process of the electronic identification. When compared to the ear tags with a barcode, the individual identification number of the animals can be obtained extremely faster, without getting affected by the location of the ear tag and free from the external factors. Infrastructure of the facilities for the automated feeding, milking, weighing procedures are provided as an added value at the same time. 

The features of these electromagnetic waves spread by these modules for the animal identification are designated by the international standards. According to these standards, the working frequency of the RFID modules is 134.2 KHz. This wavelength has been made necessary with the directive of the European Commission’s (EC) 21/2004 and with the recommendation of the ISO 11785 standard. Since this frequency wavelength is in the low frequency (LF) category, it does not have any effects over the human and animal health. Another feature designated with the ISO 11785 standard is the communication technology of the identification information that is preserved on the electronic modules, which is applied to the animals. According to this, the identification information of the animal can be carried with the technologies that have the modulation of the HDX (Half Dublex) and the FDX (Full dublex).

The most essential difference between these technologies is their permitting of one or two way (scanner-module-scanner) communication. While a module with the FDX technology can respond to a signal as soon as it receives the identification information from the scanner, a module with the HDX technology waits until the signal ends in order to respond. FDX technology is superior over the HDX for the low cost and the usage prevalence. Moreover, when assessing the FDX and the HDX, the most important element is that the FDX technology being "open standard", that is, it does not have any patent rights. The usage of the HDX technology in the animal identification has a private company's patent rights and its cost.



The information type and form of the RFID modules that are mounted onto the animals are designated with the ISO 11784 standard. According to this, the modules have to possess a unique 15 digit identification number. The usage of this 15 digit is as follows:

1 – 3. Digits

The first three digits of the 15 digit identification number can be used in two ways:

a. Manufacturer Code

The manufacturer codes in between 900 and 998 are designated by testing the products of the electronic identification and their suitability to the ISO standards by the ICAR (The International Committee for Animal Recording). The usage of the manufacturer code in the first three digits of the 15 digits identification number in a country's animal recording system is obligated with some requirements. According to this, the assigning of the animal identification numbers by the manufacturers all throughout the country, the first three digits can be used for manufacturer codes. If the system that has already been used all throughout the country necessitates the animal identification numbers to be designated centrally (like that of Turkey), the manufacturer code is not written in the first three digits, and instead "The Country Code" is written.

b. The Country Code

The Country codes that are in between 001 and 899 are designated by the ISO 3166 standard for each country. As mentioned above, in a system where the animal identification numbers are designated by a body centrally, the first three digits have to be the country code in a 15 digits identification numbers. The three digits country code for Turkey is 792. 4 – 15. The Digits

The other 12 digits (left out of the first three) that are out of that 15 digits identification number are separated for the animal identification number. The format of the animal identification numbers is left to the initiatives of the countries of their own and in the ISO 11784 standards, it is asked from the countries to not to duplicate the identification numbers.

If the 12 digits system uses more than necessary amount of numbers in identification of the animals in a given country, necessary amount of '0' (zeros) can be used after the 4. digit. For example, when an animal recorded in the existing system of Turkey with the TR1234567 pedigree number, the format below will be used while identifying the animal electronically.

The usage of 12 digits animal identification number is left to the initiatives of the countries, which enable different application methods worldwide. Even the countries with the maximum amount of animals use a 9 digit identification number. As a result, they used the rest of the digits for different purposes, rather than just putting '0' (zeros).  The foremost area of utilization is the 2 digits "National Ear Tag Manufacturer Code" application and 1 digits "animal type code" application where in countries multiple variety of animals are recorded (i.e. "1" for sheep, "2" for cattle etc.). For an example, where the “National Ear Tag manufacturer code” is 15, the format will be as in below for a "cattle" with the TR1234567 pedigree number produced by a company. However, in our country 2 digits "city code" is necessary in animal identification numbers just as it is in the existing electronic identification system. Because of this, instead of the "national ear tag manufacturer code" two digits "city code" must be used.



Chiefly, the electronic identification is made in three different ways in the world depending on the identification product. Whatever products are used, if the purpose is the identification of the animals electronically, the electronic modules in the animal identification equipment have to be suitable for the standards that are designated for this process. However, the requirements that need to be met other than electronic modules of the each product type, have to be examined further.

I. Ear Tag

Since they have been used in visual identification for many years, the knowledge and the experience over the ear tags is a lot. A variety of physical conditions and environmental factors and different requirements that arose due to the regulations are centered on a sole solution. Electronic identification with the ear tag is provided by adding an electronic module on top of this solution.

According to this, first of all, the ear tags that will be used in electronic identification: as an ear tag should be manufactured by the plastic raw material that wouldn't harm the animal and the human health; they should be not more than 7 gr. especially for the ovine to carry them easily; shouldn't allow in any way more than one use; an animal recognition number and a barcode symbolizing this number should be written with a laser on top of it; designed without any sharp or pointed parts that could harm the animal after being mounted onto them; the female and the male parts that are mounted to each other should be resistant to the physical intervention. As an electronic ear tag they should also:

  • Carry a 15 digits identification number suitable for the ISO 11784 standard;
  • Should be scannable by the ISO 11785 standard scanners;
  • The scanning distance should not be less than 12 cm for the standard suitable scanners;
  • The 15 digits electronic identification number and the number written on top of the ear tag with laser should exactly be the same.