Azerbaijan is counting sheep; not to go to sleep, however. The South Caucasus country, known for its strong taste for lamb, is corralling its sheep and all other livestock into a national database, complete with personal profiles.
The sheep files will contain information on ownership, pedigree and disease history. The sheep themselves will be fixed with electronic identification devices, a novelty for the region. The microchips with ID numbers will be inserted under the animals’ skin to help locate lost sheep.
While local herders maintain that no two Azerbaijani sheep look alike, the radio signals emitted by their microchips will make tracking them down easier when the animals go astray.
“Right now, we have a huge database with hard copies,” Azer Guliyev, deputy head of the National Veterinary Service told the Russian news channel Mir. “It is a lot of work to pull a file from the archive. The new system will make things easier.”
The National Veterinary Service says that Azerbaijani herders will be able to track their animals' whereabouts as of next year. Social networking, no doubt, will just be a matter of time.