According to the Wall Street Journal, BSE concerns of export markets for US beef, Japan included, have led to the formation of a non profit group, US Animal Identification Organization. The aim is to launch an ear tagging programme or some other identifying procedure to identify each animal with a bar code or radio frequency chip. The intention is to make it easier for health officials to identify animals in the event of a BSA outbreak. The plan will be voluntary.

The paper said that ranchers have been resisting the programme in order to avoid any liability for an animal from their ranch or feedlot but companies such as McDonalds are all in favour of such a system. The USDA will issue the codes and the US Animal Identification Organization will administer the programme.

A rancher activist group has a website encouraging donations and letters to congressman with the slogan ‘Remember, an ear tag, ID number, or premise ID, never stopped a disease, it just enslaves animal owners to the government.’