Livestock owners, don’t believe that
the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which was featured as a
February cover-wrap advertisement in Cooperative Living, is good for you
or your animals. First, remember that the rules for this plan come from
the United States Department of Agriculture and can be found on their Web
site at www.usda.gov/lpa/issues/nais/nais.html.
This program will not be free, by any
means. True, it doesn’t cost to enroll your premises, but RFID tags,
equipment to tag and database entries will all be expensive and
time-consuming. Oh, you didn’t know these items were coming with the
program? Yes indeed. Births, deaths, and notice of movements from the
premises and back again will be required, and someone will charge you for
these database entries. Who is going to profit from the sale of the
equipment, supplies and entries? Certainly not the animal owner.
NAIS proponents claim the program is
concerned with protecting health. What real health risks are we worrying
about? Yes, we have a few endemic problems at very low levels, but do they
really require the kind of program that the government is trying to sell
to you? The real health concerns of parasites, predators and poor
nutrition will not be dealt with. These will still be your problems. With
your premises ID (notice they are not calling it a farm ID), they want to
include all places that animals can be commingled. Let us take a possible
situation and what the effect might be with your premises ID. Say there is
an avian flu outbreak in a factory chicken house. Any and all backyard
farm flocks in the surrounding area that have premises ID, and therefore
can be located by the authorities, may be liquidated in fear of possible
contamination. Of course, you understand what “liquidated” means.
And the program supposedly will
protect you and Virginia from serious economic impacts. It seems to me
family farms and Virginia agriculture are falling to lower economic depths
each year, and an animal ID system would just put more of a financial
burden on us.
NAIS will, supposedly, be
confidential. As we speak, animal-species programs — for example, the
sheep and goat scrapie (a disease) program — are being downloaded to the
Feds without our knowledge. In
, where such a program exists, there are supposedly 11 million lost
animals, with animal costs over $20 per head. In
, where the program just covers cattle, we have found ID’d cattle in
’ auction markets illegally. This unworkable program purports to protect
your animal for life. I don’t think so. Protecting our animals is the
owner’s responsibility, not the government’s.
What is the real reason behind this
outrageous program? I contend it is corporate control of the beef
industry. Agricultural corporations control the feeding, processing, and
distribution of our beef supply, now they want control of the source of
the calves for complete domination of the beef industry. They already
control the poultry and swine industries. Corporate farming brings us
inhumane animal treatment and questionable food quality. I find it
dangerous to our future when corporate agriculture has complete domination
over our livestock and poultry.
Or is it the
government’s desperate need for control, along with more bureaucratic
jobs and abuses? Or the pursuit of profits to RFID chipmakers and
data-entry firms collecting mountainous fees? None of these are good
reasons or choices.
Here are some worrisome questions to
ask your state veterinarian. (1) What is the legal nature of the contract
that I enter into when I sign up for a U.S Premises Identification Number?
(2) If I want to, can I rescind that contract at any time? (3) Does the
U.S. Premises Identification Number “cloud” the title to my property?
(4) When I get a U.S Premises Identification number, does my farm become
subject to the regulations of the United States Department of Agriculture?
How many constitutional rights do I give up when I sign up?
Please think through what you are
getting into when you sign up for premises ID. There are many details that
we are not being told about. Those of us who have studied and opposed this
issue for the last 12 months have found out what is going on behind the
scenes and it is not pretty. The state of
has officially rejected the idea by not taking federal funds for the year
of 2007. They originally were going to be one of the first states to have
a mandatory premises ID program.
In the last 50 years our family farms
have been constantly reduced as has our national health. Here is another
expensive, burdensome bureaucratic program to make family farming more
difficult. Just say no to NAIS.
there are at least two sides to every issue. Do you have a different
view? This column is meant to provoke thought, so keep sending
comments. Each one is read with the utmost interest. Send e-mail to: [email protected],
or send written responses to the editor. Mail will be forwarded
to the author.