Saturday, May 29, 2021

Things To Come: Chipping Technology Advances Into Human Use

USDA Hitting Food Supply Chain With Cattle Surveillance & A Level-4 Animal Disease Laboratory

Remember the days when you thought chipping a cute little kitten you rescued from an animal shelter was super convenient, in case the little guy ever strayed? How innocent it all seemed. It was such a grand idea that “activists” pushed so hard for. Fast forward a couple decades and it’s easy to see where this was all headed, and right now, the cattle are being targeted and humans aren’t far behind. Coincidentally, RFID (radio frequency identification) chips were piloted on cattle in three states, one of which is about to get a level-4 biosafety laboratory.

Microchipping pets was introduced in 1986, though DARPA had long been working with microchips prior to that. By 1996, ISO standards were created so that all microchips would be compatible with the same scanner. So in 2003, when a single cow was determined to have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in Washington state, the USDA set out to develop a national identification program by 2008-2009. That following year, APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) launched NAIS, a program between state and local government and the livestock industry to trace, manage and eradicate animal disease. To date, there have only been 6 cases of mad cow in the US, but that could all change with a new BSL-4 laboratorybeing built in Kansas.

Things were moving quickly in the world of microchipping. In 2004, the FDA approvedan implantable RFID chip with a 16 digit identification number, to access medical records. The Verichip, manufactured by Applied Digital Systems, provides access to a persons medical records, personal information, family contact info, and insurance. By 2006, the Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee to the Secretary and the Chief Privacy Officer of the Department of Homeland Security prepared a report on ‘The Use of RFID for Human Identity Verification,’ concluding that they had “concern that the deployment of RFID-enabled systems represents the potential for widespread surveillance of individuals, including US citizens, without their knowledge or consent.” Certainly, this administration will have differing views on that since tracking and surveillance is the name of their game.

In 2007 the USDA approved Digital Angel’s RFID chip for equine use. The Bio-Thermo LifeChip contains a passive transponder that can be read by an ISO-compliant reader. That same year, the USDA purchased $600,000 worth of RFID tags for cattle, from Digital Angel.

Despite the RFID tags being a voluntary program at that time, Michigan decided to make it mandatory “to aid efforts in eradication of bovine tuberculosis,” though it is so rare today, it only occurs 7 times per 1 million cattle herds on an annual basis.

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