Brazil to Use Bio-Thermal Umbilical Chip to Track Hoof and Mouth Disease

Digital Angel Corporation, an advanced technology company in the field of rapid and accurate identification, location tracking, and condition monitoring of high-value assets, announced today, April 25, that it has entered into an agreement with the Brazilian Agriculture Research Corporation (Embrapa) to conduct a joint pilot program to fight Hoof and Mouth Disease (HMD).

On Wednesday, April 26, Digital Angel President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin McGrath will meet with Brazil’s Minister of Agriculture Roberto Rodrigues in Brazil to inaugurate the program.

The pilot program includes the continued development of a bio-thermal (temperature sensing) RFID umbilical chip that will assist in identifying Hoof and Mouth Disease in the Cebu cattle population in Brazil. 

The bio-thermal RFID umbilical chip being developed is based on the Bio-Thermo RFID chip currently sold by Digital Angel in Europe and South Africa. 

The initial pilot program in Brazil, which is expected to proceed over the next six months, will involve tagging up to 175 cattle with an electronic RFID tag, a visual tag, and a bio-thermal chip located in the umbilical cord.  In addition to temperature sensing, this will provide for visual and electronic identification of the cattle.

During the research and following the successful completion of the pilot program, Embrapa will make available all development information to Brazilian universities, technical schools, the scientific community, and the Cattle Raiser Association, and will demonstrate during "Field Days" to all interested cattle ranchers.  All research could also be shared with other Latin American countries in the HMD Control Program.

"This cooperative effort with the Brazilian Government to eradicate Hoof and Mouth Disease in Brazil is very important to Digital Angel," McGrath said.

"We have been working with the government in Brazil for several years to help it enhance its livestock herd management, and we have learned a great deal and gained considerable respect for its commitment to this very important program. This is an excellent example of the innovative thinking of Embrapa and we are pleased to be able to expand and strengthen our cooperative agreement with them."

Minister Rodrigues recently discussed the importance of eliminating Hoof and Mouth Disease so that Brazil and the countries of Mercosur, (a trading zone of South American Countries) can increase their participation in the world’s beef markets. 

Minister Rodrigues also said that the eradication of Hoof and Mouth Disease in South America is a major priority of the Mercosur countries, which include Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile. 

In this effort, the Mercosur countries are negotiating a financing of more than US$ 100 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for joint actions to eradicate Hoof and Mouth Disease in the next three years.

McGrath will also discuss with Minister Rodrigues Digital Angel’s plans for investing in tag production in Brazil, including production of visual tags, RFID cattle tags and RFID umbilical chips.

When scanned with an RFID scanner and used in conjunction with a database program, the bio-thermal chip can, in addition to sensing temperature, provide immediate access to specific information such as the identity of the animal, its age, medical history, where it has been, and its contacts with other cattle. 

Once such a system is implemented in Brazil it would be the first country to use an umbilical sensor to fight Hoof and Mouth Disease, which could become the standard for other countries.

Brazil is the largest cattle exporting country in the world with a herd of more than 180 million cattle, which could double in the next 10 years. According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), the geographic area devoted to the cattle industry is more than 1,802,500 square miles.

Digital Angel Corporation’s products include identification and monitoring of humans, pets, fish, poultry and livestock through its patented implantable microchips; location tracking and message monitoring of vehicles and aircraft in remote locations through systems that integrate GPS and geosynchronous satellite communications; and monitoring of asset conditions such as temperature and movement, through advanced miniature sensors.

Digital Angel Corporation – www.digitalangelcorp.com

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