The National Animal Identification System is a new plan being proposed by the USDA. While it purports to “enable 48-hour traceback of the movements of any diseased or exposed animal”, there are many alarming implications of the plan:
- Farmers will have to have GPS monitoring on their farms and electronic ID of every animal. They will have to pay for all of this chipping and monitoring, driving up their costs and dramatically increasing the cost of food at the market and the grocery store. Small farmers and homesteaders who simply raise their own food will risk heavy non-compliance fines if they do not purchase the expensive equipment or will be driven out of business. Yes, the USDA is offering up to 14.3 million dollars in funding to aid with the first phase of compliance – but that is not nearly enough to cover the costs to register all of the facilities in this country.
- The NAIS plan also covers animals that are raised for purposes other than food, such as llamas and horses. This is in direct contradiction to the stated goals.
If the government really wants to implement new legislation to protect consumers, they might address: the importation of animals from outside the US and the unhealthy but still legal practices in factory farms such as housing many animals together in small spaces, giving them lots of antibiotics, and feeding animal waste and slaughterhouse byproducts back to animals. It is these practices that will allow for the rapid spread of diseases such as bird flu (and other super-germs) and mad cow disease.
For a more in depth look at the implications of NAIS, please read Walter’s excellent Sugar Mountain Farm blog. Then, and most importantly, please help spread the word about this harmful legislation! Write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Write to your local and federal representatives and senators. Like much of the more sinister legislation that is being proposed, the backers of NAIS are trying to get it passed without any media coverage or public comment.
Note that the NAIS is a Federal plan that has not been passed yet. Wisconsin has already passed similar legislation. We must speak up before this becomes a nation-wide law.
Editor’s Note: Walter Jeffries has established a website to keep up with NAIS-related information around the country.