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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Speak Out Against NAIS

By Judith McGeary

Tags: food and agricultural policy, sustainable farms,

Horse's Mouth

The USDA has proposed a rule to require all farms and ranches where animals are raised to be registered in a federal database under the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) for existing disease control programs. The draft rule covers programs for cattle, sheep, goats and swine. It also sets the stage for the entire NAIS program to be mandated for everyone, including anyone who owns even one livestock animal (for example, a single chicken or a horse). Learn more about the legislation in The Truth About the Animal ID Plan.

It’s critical that the USDA and Congress hear from the hundreds of thousands of people who will be adversely affected by the NAIS program. This includes not only animal owners, but also consumers who care about local and sustainable foods, taxpayers who object to wasteful government programs and advocates for a safer food system.

STEP 1: Submit comments to USDA online or by mail. The comments must be received by the USDA by March 16, 2009. 

Submit comments on the federal regulations website (click on the yellow balloon under “add comments”). 

Or mail two copies of your comments to the USDA at the address below. Clearly state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096. (See the sample comments at the end of this post.)

Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS
Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238 

STEP 2: Send a copy of your comments to your representative and senators. 

You can find who represents you and their contact information at


The USDA has been working for over five years to force NAIS onto American animal owners. NAIS is designed to identify and track each and every individual livestock and poultry animal owned by family farmers, hobby farmers, homesteaders and pet owners across the country.

The USDA claims that NAIS is a disease tracking program, but has refused to provide any support for its claims. In reality, NAIS will:

NAIS does nothing to improve food safety for consumers or prevent animal diseases. This program is a one-size-fits-all program developed by and for big Agribusiness. NAIS will increase consolidation of our food supply in the hands of a few large companies and put the brakes on the growing movement toward local food systems with its high costs. 

Despite promises to the contrary, the USDA’s new proposed rule would make portions of the system mandatory for thousands of people in every state. Anyone who participates in federal disease control program for cattle, sheep, goats or swine will have their premises registered. The NAIS Premises Identification Number (PIN) will become the only form of premises identification acceptable for USDA animal health purposes, with no opt-out provision. 

The proposed rule would also limit official Animal Identification Numbers to the NAIS-compliant 840-numbering system, laying the groundwork for future regulations that would limit the types of tags that can be used. 

The proposed rule is not final yet. You can help stop NAIS by visiting the Federal Registry and making a comment. Visit their website and click on the yellow balloon under “add comments.” And don’t forget to send a copy of your comments to your elected officials, letting them know how you feel about NAIS. 

The grassroots movement has already successfully stalled the USDA’s plans for NAIS, which originally called for the entire program — premises registration, animal identification and tracking — to be mandatory by January 2009. The proposed rule is an opportunity to get thousands of objections in the formal record, and have an even greater impact. It is imperative that people speak up to protect our right to farm and our food supply! 


Go to or contact Judith McGeary, (512) 243-9404 or

Read more about NAIS and how it will affect small scale and sustainable farms in The Truth About the Animal ID Plan


Date: ____________________ 

Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096
Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS
Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238 

Re: Docket No. APHIS–2007–0096

I urge the USDA to withdraw its proposed rule to implement portions of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096.

I am a _____________________________________________________________________ 


[State who you are — for instance, are you a farmer, consumer, or horse owner — and why this issue matters to you.] 

The proposed rule mandates the NAIS Premises Identification Number (PIN) as the sole means of identifying properties for USDA animal health purposes. The proposed rule also mandates the use of the NAIS numbering system (i.e. the “840 numbering system”) for ear tags using official animal identification numbers. Tags using other numbering systems would be required to be linked to a NAIS PIN.

The draft rule is seriously flawed for multiple reasons:

The proposed rule is a significant step towards implementing the entire NAIS program. Thus, the agency should address the fundamental question of whether it should be implementing NAIS at all. In addition to the problems with the draft rule listed above, there are many additional objections to the entire NAIS program:

I urge the USDA to withdraw the proposed rule to implement portions of the National Animal Identification System, Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096.


Name: ___________________________________
Address: _________________________________
City, State Zip: _____________________________

Additional Comments: