ISO 11784/85 Update - WG3 meeting in Wageningen

The meeting opened at 13:00h on 13 September, 1999, in Wageningen, Holland. At the Opening and Welcome the Swedish and Chilean delegates requested permission to record the meeting--on audio tape and video respectively. The requests were denied.

Subsequently, the Canadian delegate, Mr. John Vrolijk requested clarification of whether parliamentary proceedings would be used in the meeting, with items to be moved, seconded and voted on (as per Henderson's Parliamentary Guide) and made a motion to the effect that Henderson's Parliamentary procedure be used. The motion was not accepted by the Chairman. The Chairman questioned the need for parliamentary procedure, and after consultation with Mr. Zens (who was in attendance) and who indicated that there was no set procedure stating that some working groups were conducted according to parliamentary procedure while others were conducted on the basis of consensus. At that point, the Chair decided that WG3 works "on the basis of consensus." He stated that there would however be votes on issues if it was found that consensus was not possible. Throughout the meeting various issues were raised, some from the Chair, others from the floor. At no time was consensus sought or were any items voted on.

There was no democratic process regarding discussion of items on the agenda or new items brought forward from the floor. Motions from the floor were called out of order.When the Chairman tabled the agenda item "Approval of the draft agenda", the representative from Sweden requested that the discussion regarding the modification of ISO 11784/85 be dealt with right after approval of the minutes and before the TWG items because the TWG proposal is dependent on what modifications are made to ISO 11784/85. The Swedish delegate's request was accepted. When the Chairman tabled the agenda item "Approval of the minutes of the last meeting in Lugano" (doc. N219), the Russian delegate stated that the minutes of the Lugano meeting had to be corrected, specifically the item concerning implementation of ISO 11784 and 11785 around the world. Russia's report that ISO 11784'85 is not being implemented due to serious flaws was not recorded in the minutes.

Mr. Gary Burch of New Zealand stated that the outcome of the TC28 vote (joint Australian and New Zealand committe for animal RFID) was incorrectly recorded. The Australia-New Zealand joint committee had in fact rejected ISO 11784/85 in their May vote.

Mr. John Vrolijk of Canada stated that the deliberation that took place in Lugano regarding the suggestion that ISO 14223 be rolled into ISO 11784/85 in order to prevent confusion and to simplify implementation, a point raised by Ms. Emmeninger of Datamars, was not recorded in the minutes. Subsequently, Mr. Ingo Grotewahl, the Swedish delegate, requested that the count of nations on N139 (tally of votes on Gosstandard Motion) be revised. Sweden has previously advised Mr. Zens in writing that the Swedish vote is to be recorded as "Favouring revision of ISO 11784/85", and that consequently the tally should be 13:12 in favour of revision.

Mr. Burch of New Zealand pointed out that the New Zealand vote was fraught with difficulties because of the wording of Mr. Zens' request accompanying the ballot. New Zealand had previously advised Mr. Zens several times to correct the allocation of the New Zeland vote as "supporting the addition of the new item of work" and "prepared to participate in the development of the project." Mr. Burch requested that the New Zealand vote be deleted from the column of nations opposing the work item and counted as favouring the revision and willing to work on the standard. He stated that the resulting tally of nations is in fact 14 to 11 in favour of revision of ISO 11784/85 rather than 12:12.

Neither statement was challenged in the meeting. Mr. Zens, who was present, stated that he was unaware of the complaints and that he will not change the ballot.

Attendees from Slovakia, Czech Republic, Russia, Chile, Austria and Iceland were present, some for the first time; it appears that these nations are not adequately informed as to the workings of WG3 and therefore were not able to contribute as they may otherwise have done. Nor did they receive information relating to how WG3 worked nor were they ever advised of where minutes of past meetings would be available. The Czech delegate stated that he was concerned that delegates and national institutes from the Eastern European countries (i.e. Russia, Slovak Republic etc.) did not receive invitations and documentation for this meeting in time, or in fact at all.

When the document entitled "Draft report of the ad hoc committee" was presented by Mr. Mans Jansen, head of TWG, his treatment of Mr. Anisimov (the Russian delegate) during his presentation was acusatory and intimidating. Mr. Jansen intentionally distorted the proposal put forward by Gosstandard in its submission to WG3, particularly those concerning the requirement for code uniqueness in the standard in order to embarrass the delegate. Without requesting permission, he got up, walked across the room and positioned himself inches away from the Russian delegate thrusting papers in his face while speaking in a heated, accusatory tone. The chairman allowed this to continue at length and did not call Mr. Jansen to order.

Mr. Vrolijk, a member of the 7-member ad hoc committee, asked why the ad hoc committee was not consulted in the creation of the TWG document, as the proposal entitled "draft report of the ad hoc committee" was in fact prepared in its entirety by TWG. The chairman did not at any time have the ad hoc committee evalute and discuss the work item. The ad hoc committee was never convened and no discussion happened telephonically or by fax or by any other means of communication. The ad hoc committee was merely requested to "approve" (i.e. rubber stamp) the conclusions set out in the TWG report.

Mr. Vrolijk also pointed out that the report dismissed out of hand the proposals made by three countries that sent contributions, and did not reflect the concerns of those nations that were not given the opportunity to participate.

Mr. Burch of New Zealand made the point that TWG consists of manufacturers who have explicitly stated in writing that they are "not willing to continue to discuss" modification of ISO 11784 and ISO 11785. Mr. Burch referenced these companies' "Joint Statement of the Manufacturers" which was submitted to SC19 in March of 1998, and by which they have effectively disqualified themselves from further work on the standard.

The chairman stated that there were only two responses: from Italy and from Russia. John Vrolijk stated that there were actually three, since Brazil had also submitted a report. He also stated that insufficient time was given for a response by interested SC19 member nations. The time for submission of proposals was only one month from the date of the Lugano meeting, which is not enough time to develop a comprehensive response at the national level. The document entitled "Procedure to update ISO 11784 and 11785" was in fact only circulated by the chairman after the deadline for contributions had passed.

Mr. Vrolijk was chastised by the Chairman for taking it upon himself to invite participation of SC19 member nations who had stated on their ballots that they were prepared to participate in the work process. When it was pointed out that Mr. Vrolijk's invitations were in fact the only invitations ever sent out by anyone on the ad hoc committee, and when asked why he had not issued a formal invitation himself, as Chairman of the ad hoc committee, the Chairman stated that he didn't get around to it because of his father's illness.

The WG3 press release regarding ISO 11784 and ISO 11785 was presented in both a long and short version. It was pointed out that the long version of the press release clearly states that the standard ISO 11784/85 cannot guarantee ID code uniqueness. However, the proposed short version of the press release omits this crucial information. In fact, the word "unique" is prominent in the first sentence, thereby communicating that the uniqueness of coding is assured under ISO 11784/85. This incorrect short version was defended by its framers against objections made by a number of delegates, to the effect that it is O.K. not to tell the truth because it would help the industry, irrespective of the fact that it might be detrimental to users.

There was a brief discussion of ISO readers. The Chairman stated that only readers capable of reading FDX and HDX transponders (both types) are ISO-conforming. Only one reader was shown which could read both FDX and HDX transponders (a Destron product). However, the reader read a range of glass encapsulated transponders at a rather limited range, which is insufficient for most livestock applications.


The meeting was conducted in an undemocratic manner. The chairman
1 Would not allow any motions to be put forward
2 Would not allow voting of any kind
3 Never asked for or received a consensus on any of the issues presented at the meeting
4 Allowed very little discussion on any of the issues presented at the meeting.
5 Dissent on any issue was not allowed.

In fact, the individual agenda items were summarised on transparencies that were shown at the conclusion of each agenda item. These colour, computer-generated transparencies had been prepared in advance of the meeting, prior to the deliberation of said agenda items. It was clear that whoever prepared the transparencies already "knew" what the conclusions were to be prior to the meeting even taking place. At the end of the meeting several participants of the meeting have stated their objections to the way the meeting was conducted on the record and also objected on the record to the press release and the "Conclusion" on ISO 11784/85 which the Chairman proposes to forward to SC19.
• WG3 published a statement flatly contradicting the stated wishes of the majority of SC19 P-member nations, who had expressed their concerns with the unsuitability of the standard by voting to have it revised. The statement of purpose reads: "The approved ISO standards 11784 and 11785 as published are suitable for their intended applications and are the basis for additional standards for advanced transponders as they are in consideration in the new work item." The chairman proposed that an ad hoc committee be appointed to examine the proposals for revision that were to be submitted.
• The ad hoc committee was never convened and no discussion happened on the mandate to revise ISO 11784/85.
• The ad-hoc committee appointed by the chairman had 7 members: 6 were from nations that had voted against revision of the standard; only 1 member was from a nation in favour of revision.
• SC19 member nations were never advised by the chairman of WG3 that their input was desired.
• No action was ever taken by the chairman to advise anyone that proposals for revision of ISO 11784/85 were being solicited.
• The time for submission of proposals was one month from the date of the Lugano meeting: too short for any nation to develop a comprehensive response at the national level.
• The document "Procedure to Update ISO 11784/85" was circulated only after the deadline for submissions had passed. The only action taken by the chairman was to e-mail the TWG report to ad hoc committee members and asking ad hoc committee members to "approve" (ie.. rubber stamp) them.
• The TWG report dismissed all suggestions the three SC19 P-member nations submitted out of hand and recommended that ISO 11784 and 11785 be retained in their present form.
• There have been three counts of the P-member votes by SC19 and still there are discrepancies, as pointed out by the Swedish and New Zealand delegates. The vote in favour of revising ISO 11784 and 11785 is 14 to 11, and not 12 to 12, as stated in the back-dated document N139 rev.1.Some of the delegates travelled for over 36 hours to attend this meeting. They were made to listen to a minority group and a group of manufacturers dictate what the conclusions of WG3 were to be with no chance for input into the meeting. It is clear that interested parties are attempting to manipulate the meeting, and that the people controlling the proceedings are not concerned with having a standard that will work, only having a standard that can be used to market products under false pretences.
In order to ensure the integrity of the process on the revision of ISO 11784 and 11785, and to respect the expressed wishes of the majority of SC19 P-member nations, (1) The ad hoc committee must consist of delegates from nations that have stated they are in favour of revising ISO 11784/85 OR that they are prepared to participate in development of the project. (2) TWG must be excluded from the process. TWG has no legitimate role in the process as TWG's sole mandate is to discuss a new draft standard: ISO 14223. Furthermore, most TWG members are employees of manufacturers who have gone on the record to state that they do not want to discuss revising ISO 11784/85 See Manufacturers' Letter to SC19 There is a conflict of interest between TWG members are therefore contrary to those of the majority of SC19 P-member nations, and TWG has to be excluded on the basis of conflict of interest. (3) All those SC19 P-member nations stating that they are prepared to participate in development of the project must be given an opportunity to do so: sufficient time must be allowed for the nations to develop their responses; and formal invitations must be sent to all SC19 P-member nations that returned their ballots stating they "support the addition of the new work item to the programme of work" OR "are prepared to participate in the development of the project." (4) The responses of SC19 P-member participants should be reviewed by the ad hoc committee that was appointed to do the job. The responses should be given serious consideration and not be dismissed out of hand.


Mr. Hassan Sade stated his concern that in a discussion of the problems affecting ISO 11784/85, persons might conclude that the ID codes in Datamars transponders can be changed. Mr. Masin responded that, Datamars transponders conforming to ISO 11784/85, as long as they are read-only transponders, are not reprogrammable. The problem with ISO 11784/85 is that read-only, one-time-programmable (OTP) and write-many/read-many transponders (WMRM) are all encompassed by the standard. As a result, the code numbers of ISO 11784/85-compatible read-only transponders can be duplicated by other read-only, OTP and WMRM transponders. Also, the numbers in WMRM transponders can be changed at will. Databases allowing registration of ISO 11784/85 transponders are compromised, because there can be an unlimited number of transponders in the field "pointing" to a particular registration in the database. As far as the database is concerned, transponder number 762098100132313 is the ID number of a 3-year old German shepherd called "Hasso." The database can provide no assurance that a given German shepherd with that ID number is in fact the original "Hasso." Please click here for more information.

Source Documents to be referenced:
Manufacturers' Letter to SC19
Procedure to update ISO 11784 and 11785