USDA Approves Injectable Transponder for Animal ID System

The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced Oct. 11 its approval of the first injectable transponder for use in animal identification. The device, manufactured by Digital Angel, carries an official animal identification number (AIN), which is used to identify individual animals as part of the USDA's proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

"With efforts to register premises under the NAIS continuing to build momentum, we are looking ahead to the next phases of the program," said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. "The approval of additional identification devices provides producers with important options for participating in the voluntary NAIS and increasing animal disease traceability in the United States."

Injectable transponders have been used for many years for proof of ownership, identification, and management purposes in a number of animal species.

Digital Angel of St. Paul, Minn., is already an approved manufacturer of visual RFID tags for livestock and now adds the first approved injectable transponder. The transponder is approved for use in horses, alpacas, and llamas. The Equine Species Working Group, comprised of industry and government representatives, has recommended that NAIS use International Organization of Standards (ISO)-compliant injectable transponders as the preferred method of electronic ID in horses.

With this addition, there are now eight approved NAIS-compliant identification devices (across all species included in NAIS) from five manufacturers. Other approved manufacturers include Allflex USA, Inc., Global Animal Management/Gissler Technologies, Leader Products, and Y-Tex Corporation.

The USDA stated that it is technology neutral and supports a range of NAIS-compliant identification methods.

The NAIS is intended to identify premises and livestock, and to record certain livestock movements for the purpose of disease management and control. The program, which is voluntary at the federal level, consists of three parts: premises registration, animal identification, and tracing. So far, more than 416,178 premises across the country have been registered as part of the program, and producers with registered premises have obtained more than 1.6 million AIN devices.

Only APHIS-approved AIN manufacturers are authorized to manufacture official animal identification devices, which include RFID devices and other methods. For more information on NAIS, a list of approved AIN device manufacturers and information on how to become an approved manufacturer, visit  

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