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SO. ST. PAUL, Minn. -- 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 that its European distribution partner, Merial, has ordered more than 50,000 of the company's proprietary implantable RFID (radiofrequency identification) microchips for pets in response to a surge in demand due to a recent rabies incident in the Bordeaux region of France. Atlanta-based Merial is one of the world's leading animal healthcare companies.
The rabies incident was triggered by an infected dog transferred illegally into France from Morocco through Spain that had multiple contacts with people and other animals before it was isolated by French authorities. The French government quarantined part of the Bordeaux area and decided to take several precautions against any unidentified or unvaccinated stray pet in the area, including the possibility of euthanasia, creating a spike in demand among pet owners for RFID microchips to identify their animals.
"This incident has led to an incredible demand for RFID microchips in Bordeaux and surrounding areas," said Digital Angel CEO Kevin McGrath. "Ironically, the European Union is already advocating a rigorous animal identification program designed to prevent the spread of pet borne diseases into the EU and among member states. We are working closely with Merial to respond quickly to this and any other incident causing increasing demand anywhere in Europe."
The European Union (EU) has declared an October 1 deadline for compliance with the EU Pet Passport Program which mandates all companion pets to have a passport bearing the animal's microchip or tattoo number for identification as well as records of all vaccinations, clinical examinations and other data before being allowed entry to a member country. European Union regulations also require that electronic scanners that can read implantable microchips be placed at all ports of entry to EU countries.
Other countries in Europe have experienced excellent results with their pet identification campaigns and the use of electronic identification of pets is rapidly growing in popularity throughout the world. In June, the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture announced that the country's estimated 2 million dogs will be "chipped" and the data entered into a national database by 2007.
Source: Digital Angel Corporation