U.S. user groups favour reader-based standard: Why is a reader-based standard preferable for companion animals?

There are a number of factors which are driving the push to reader-based standards in a number of countries.

  • User Demand. User groups in the United States requested and obtained multi-system readers for use in animal shelters. The goal was to assure full coverage of all microchipped animals, irrespective of the source of the transponder. User groups had stated in surveys conducted by AIM (the Automatic ID Manufacturers' association) that their main objective in standardisation was a reader capable of reading all transponders in the U.S. market, in order to protect the installed base of companion animals.
  • Backward compatibility. Only a reader-based standard ensures backward compatibility for all animals already microchipped, whereas a transponder-based standard introduces an entirely new and incompatible transponder into the market. A reader-based standard ensures 100% coverage for all participating systems. Trovan, Ltd. has recognised and supported the requirements of veterinaries and animal shelters for a multi-system reader.
  • Accordingly, Trovan, Ltd. went on record as early as 1992 with its offer to cross-license its reader interface to qualified and interested manufacturers for $1. In February, Trovan's U.S. distributors EID, Ltd. and Infopet Identification Systems have achieved an agreement with Avid for cross-licensing of reader interfaces, which will make available a multi-system reader capable of reading Trovan, Avid and Destron microchips.
  • Multiple sources of product. The multi-system reader supports a number of manufacturer's product lines, allowing users to select the system which best suits their requirements while choosing from a range of vendors.
  • Technological evolution is supported. New innovations in transponder and/or reader technology are accommodated, because readers need only be equipped with the new read protocol, if needed.
  • Data integrity is assured. In a reader-based standard, individual numbering schemes cannot be compromised, since each manufacturer continues to manufacture their own transponders and control their own numbering scheme to ensure unique ID numbers. A reader-based standard precludes fraudulent duplication of code numbers and overlapping number series provided by different manufacturers.
  • Does not require costly, bureaucratic, nationalised administration and distribution schemes by individual countries.

User response has been overwhelmingly positive to the announcement by InfoPet Identification Systems, EID Ltd. and AVID regarding the agreement to provide multi-system readers to shelters.

Mr. Ed Sayres, Director of Animal Protection Division, American Humane Association:

"We applaud the U.S. manufacturers of microchip technology and their collaborative efforts. Through their generous offer to provide universal scanners to all animal shelters, a monumental step has been achieved for returning lost animals to their owners."

Mr. Coy Willis, President of the National Animal Control Association:

"The National Animal Control Association and animal shelters across the nation are very excited about the agreement for common readers between the microchip companies., We will be happy to be able to recommend a technology that will greatly enhance animal identification."

Mr. Sherbyn W. Ostrich, V.M.D., President of the American Veterinary Medical Association:

"The American Veterinary Medical Association is extremely pleased that the North American manufacturers of identification chips have agreed to have a universal scanner that will be distributed to animal shelters across North America. With this technology now being uniform, the benefits to the animal owners will be enhanced, and the likelihood of finding a stray or stolen animal will be very much increased. The American Veterinary Medical Association applauds the manufacturers for their spirit of cooperation in order to benefit animals, and stands ready to help in any way possible."

The implementation of multi-system readers in animal shelters will create a standard which will serve the needs of the veterinary profession and which is in keeping with its professional standards and its interests. The reader-based standard precludes duplication of code numbers, protects the installed base of microchipped companion animals, while allowing users access to multiple suppliers who compete solely on the merits of their products. A reader-based standard is the preferred solution, favoured over a transponder- based standard, for markets where integrity of ID codes is essential (companion animal ID, identification of endangered species etc.), and where compatibility with an installed base is desirable.