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Speak Out Against NAIS

2/13/2009 2:56:48 PM

Tags: food and agricultural policy, sustainable farms

Horse's Mouth
  ISTOCKPHOTO/ROYCE DEGRIE
Animal owners, consumers and taxpayers: NAIS ALERT! Protect your right to farm and to eat local food. Speak out against the National Animal Identification System!

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 www.congress.org

BACKGROUND

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:

  • Replace states’ existing, well-functioning disease response and brand inspection programs with an untested, expensive and unreliable system
  • Impose high costs and government surveillance on every farmer and animal owner for no significant benefits, and will likely force many small producers out of business 

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! 

FOR MORE INFORMATION 

Go to www.FarmAndRanchFreddom.org or contact Judith McGeary, (512) 243-9404 or Judith@FarmAndRanchFreedom.org.

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

SAMPLE COMMENTS 

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:

  1.  Does not substantiate the alleged benefits to animal health: The USDA makes general claims about the benefits of identifying locations where animals are kept, but the agency does not address the ability of existing programs to meet this purpose, nor how the proposed rule would improve the capability to identify locations.
  2. Ignores the costs and burdens: The proposed rule would substantially increase costs for livestock owners and taxpayers. Costs include the development and maintenance of a massive database; purchase of 840-numbered tags by animal owners; changes by state agencies to make existing programs consistent with the rule; and increased federal government intrusion into the lives and daily activities of farmers and other animal owners.
  3. Violates individuals’ religious beliefs: Amish, Mennonite and some other individuals have religious objections to the universal numbering system under NAIS.
  4. Creates disincentives for people to seek veterinary care for their animals and participate in existing disease control programs: The proposed rule lists four animal disease programs —tuberculosis , brucellosis, scrapie and Johne’s — and will also impact others. These programs include provisions for veterinary care through vaccinations and testing. Animal owners who object to NAIS may avoid participating in these programs, thereby increasing health risks to the public and farm operations.
  5. Adds to the confusion: This rule is the latest in a series of ambiguous and often contradictory documents that the USDA has issued on NAIS. This has created enormous confusion over the intent of the USDA and problems for both animal owners and state agencies.

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:

  1. USDA’s assertions that NAIS will provide benefits for animal health are not supported, and actually contradict basic scientific principles.
  2. High costs for animal owners and taxpayers: These costs include: (1) the development, maintenance, and update of massive databases; (2) the costs of tags, most of which will contain microchips; (3) the labor burdens for tagging every animal; (4) the paperwork burdens of reporting routine movements; and (5) the costs of enforcement on millions of individuals. 
  3. Impracticality: The databases to register the properties, identify each animal, and record billions of “events” will dwarf any system currently in existence.
  4. Waste of money: The USDA has already spent over $130 million on NAIS implementation, but has yet to develop a workable plan for the program.
  5. Diverts resources from more critical needs such as disease testing, disease prevention through vaccination and improved animal husbandry practices, and disease detection in currently uninspected livestock imports.
  6. Damage to food safety efforts: NAIS will not prevent foodborne illnesses, such as E. coli or salmonella contamination, because the tracking ends at the time of slaughter. Food safety is better served by focusing on programs such as increased testing for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or Mad Cow), improved oversight of slaughterhouses and food processing facilities, and increased inspections of imported foods. Programs such as NAIS that burden small, sustainable farmers will hurt efforts to develop safer, decentralized local food systems
  7. Discourages involvement in farming or animal husbandry: Because of costs and government intrusion, some people will choose not to stay in farming or go into farming. This will result in less competition, greater reliance in foreign imports and poor quality at higher prices.

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

Sincerely,

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

Additional Comments:



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Post a comment below.

 

Mike Murphy_3
5/23/2009 9:15:47 PM
Many farmers and ranchers are also veterans, and their voices are very hard for Congress to ignore once they speak out. Please post / email the link to this petition to anyone you feel would be able to inform veterans and their families so they can add their voices to the ones speaking out against NAIS. The petition will automatically notify your representatives based on your zip code and could not be easier. http://petition2congress.com/2/1903/veterans-against-nais/ Respectfully, Mike Murphy

Raymond James
3/11/2009 6:03:40 PM
How many people reading or posting on this article have read the proposed regulations? Visited the Dept. of Agriculture web site or your states agriculture dept. web site? When I talk to people that have read the proposed rules most agree with them. The people that disagree heard from someone what the proposed rules were about. My local veternarians are for the regulations. They believe that the rules will help them confine an outbreak such as foot and mouth disease. Not prevent or elimenate the risk of an out break but limit its scope.

LadyHawk Smith
3/7/2009 10:30:34 PM
This program is nothing more than the government, once again, trying to stick its nose where it does not need to be...our daily lives, our homes, our property and our freedom to make our own choices. I have a small property (5 acres) and I have 30 chickens...they are my pets, they are well cared for, they received medical attention when they need it and they receive regular preventative treatments. they produce the eggs that my household consumes and also provide eggs for friends. Considering the life span of most chickens these day due to wild predators, stray dogs and dog of irresponsible owners, this system would keep us constantly keeping nuisance records and notifying the FDA of changes. Frankly, it is invasive, serves no real purpose except to pad pockets and give the governemtn more control over our lives. I for one REFUSE to sign up for it and REFUSE to ever notify the FDA of anything tht happens with my chickens just as I do not notify them when something occurs with my dog. The FDA needs to concentrate on the real problem...the cattle producers, poultry producers and egg producers that are inhumanely caring for their animals and pumping them full of junk. I know what my animals eat and therefore, i know what I eat. Walk into a grocery store and you have no clue what is actually in the meat and eggs you purchase. So, to the FDA I say "Go away" and to the Government itself "Get your act together, stop invading our lives/privacy and stop attacking our freedom of choice! Fix the important stuff and leave us alone."

Arlene _1
3/3/2009 9:02:59 PM
I am afraid that we will not be able to buy beef that is hormone free and free of antibodics. My husband nearly died from Lymes Disease and from his doctor giving him too much antibodics, he now cannot eat meat with it added to it. We now have to go over to the Amish to by our meat. I hope they will be exempt from this stupid, dangerous and costly program. Instead, if they have so much money in the program to even try to empliment such a bill, they should use it to ban these stockyards or force them to rotate the pens each years.

TerryCady
3/3/2009 1:32:28 PM
Well, I went to the public comment site and filled out all the fields, required or not, wrote my comments, and clicked on the "Next Step" button. All it does is return me to the same page I just filled out. I have clicked this button at least 5 times and it won't go anywhere else. I'm not normally very paranoid, but is this just their way of making sure they don't receive any negative comments?

hydrogenisagas_1
3/3/2009 10:21:14 AM
If you don't already know this act is just being initiated so that they can make sure all animals are treated with sub-clinical antibiotics after we become compliant with Codex Alimentarius. If you do not know what that is I highly suggest that you find out, and fast! Codex list Vitamins and minerals as toxins and it is going to bring back 8 of the 12 of the worst VOCs that have been banned in all countries. Codex has already been ratified and all countries must become Codex xompliant by December 31st, 2009. Here is a great video of what Codex is all about. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5266884912495233634 Watch it, tell your friends, and make them watch it. Tell your friends to tell their friends! Everyone needs to know what is going on behind the scenes with our food! Don't take my word for it do your own research! There is more going on these day than you could ever imagine! Don't believe what you hear on TV! Turn it off! Get your news from the internet. All of the news from mainstream media comes from only 2 places, and one of those places gets its news...you guessed it! From the OTHER place! Question everything! Also watch The Esoteric Agenda found here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6030443037963555139&ei=mlKtSZ7LG5K-rwKQiP3wBA&q=esoteric+agenda It is a great movie to get started with what is going on. It should peak you interests. Also watch Zeitgeist Addendum it can be found here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7065205277695921912&ei=DVOtSa23DI_-qwKx46H7BA&q=zeitgeist+adendum Once you start to see what is going on you will see the signs and symptoms everywhere! But Like I said don't take my word, or any of the words of these videos for more than what they are worth! Do your own research and come up with your own ideas. And remember there is A LOT of misinformation out there so be thorough with your research! If you told me 3 months ago that I would stop watching TV and be worried about getting he

Richard Dean
3/2/2009 9:02:30 PM
to me this is just anouther way for umcle sam to get his hands into are pockets. thwe ones that dont seem to be botherd by it are the big farms ( the mass farms) the ones that raise 10,ooo head on land thats for only able to raise maybe 500 . and the land cant substane that amount of waste or handle that amount of over prduction . it basicly becomes a toxic waste dump but people dont see that they only see the food on the grocrey self , yeah mother earth will fix it but it has to have time and they dont give it time just add more and more waste and the land filtering system can only do so mutch........... but what do i know im just a dumb country boy .........wake up people the tags in the ears of the heards are to tell you who the cow is or pig since they cant tell us there names thats what most tages in the ears are for and most only use them that raise more then 50 head of what ever they produce .... i need to step off the soap box before i keep going

stephanie schneider_1
3/2/2009 11:54:38 AM
I am totally against any method of ID for our animals. We do not need to have a head count on them for any reason. Most are used as meat & would not be in the system anyway. This is so rediclious. Stephanie Schneider

Mary Jane Cummings_1
3/2/2009 11:52:30 AM
First, your webpage is too difficult to read with dark blue background! The only way I could read it was to highlight the text to change it to white background. Second, when people ask for other people to send complaints, they need to supply email addresses to complain to because most of us don't have time to write and mail letters or make phone calls. I wanted to complain on this issue but can't because I saw no email address to complain to. There is too much text in this page for me to read it all, so it is not user-friendly. Your two-legged relative, Mary Jane in Covelo, California (we have at least three organic farms in this small remote area)

Barry Scarborough
3/2/2009 10:19:41 AM
What is the problem? I drive by farms in southern MN I see tags on every animal, some with tags in both ears. So farmers are already tracking their animals. Isn't this just another way? Could the way we track animals benefit from a single, standardized method? What all the gripe? Are the objectors afraid their animals could be diseased and lead back to them? There are enough unscrupulous farmers / ranchers shipping bad animals / produce into the food chain it seems reasonable to track then. Detecting and correcting such problems would benefit us all. I can see why some individuals would not want to be tracked. I'm not so sure that the large corporations wouldn't be affected even more than those who use good practices. Cooperations try to cut corners and it seems mad cow disease has been tracked to bad food produced by corporations putting junk in feed. Things like that could be tracked and should be. With all the diseases and health related problems now attributed to what we eat, I'm in favor of tracking animals and produce too.

Roy Routledge
2/20/2009 4:57:22 PM
This is another program introduced by our own goverment to enable the multinational corporations to further control our daily lives, and change our culture to suffacating socialism. Just as Monsanto is controlling world seed production, the goverment now wants to control our live stock and what we breed. It is time to stop this continual encroachment against our constitutional rights as American citizens!

Roy Routledge
2/20/2009 4:56:26 PM
This is another program introduced by our own goverment to enable the multinational corporations to further control our daily lives, and change our culture to suffacating socialism. Just as Monsanto is controlling world seed production, the goverment now wants to control our live stock and what we breed. It is time to stop this continual encroachment against our constitutional rights as American citizens!

Lee_2
2/19/2009 1:22:22 AM
I am a small farmer/homesteader and have been for 40 years,been reading MEN since it came out.I became a farmers advocate for no pay about 4 years ago when I found out about NAIS since then I have talked to thousands of farmers and animal owners and not found any who want NAIS only braindead politicians and corporate rulers! I have done numerous radio shows,videos and talks.I have worked with legislators of several states crafting bills to stop NAIS and have seen some progress, we set USDA back several years thus far! NAIS is a corporate takeover of agriculture with the intent to eliminate small unregulated farms,NIAA or National Institute for Animal Ag in Bowling Green Ky is the main pusher of NAIS along with USDA, the National Association of State Ag Departments and giants like Monsanto and ADM/ Cargill and a host of others, anyone who says NAIS isnt a bad idea is either working for one of these interests/ completly uninformed or worse!NAIS can not and will not keep disease under control,its not designed to, even USDA has said that! The so called Department of Homeland Security is basicly running ag policy in America today,they call the shots and they are controlled by even larger national and global interests connected to the UN and others,simple fact! They are the terrorists, not small farmers! There are no exceptions from NAIS,none!EXCEPT for the industrial ag sector which is the filthy impersonator of a real farm and the real source of disease in the food!Also the rules change from day to day as do the proposals,the whole program is unconstitutional and unworkable!The tools and equiptment are indeed required and expensive and violate freedom of choice and much else! Make no mistake NAIS will be used to shut down all farms who do not capitualate to the rules; rules made by govts and corporations for themselves and no one elses benefit! I work and will continue to do so to kill this NAIS and remove all support for this marxist scheme from the

Clifford Cordell
2/19/2009 12:43:18 AM
I am glad to see that Mother Earth News is helping us stand up to the USDA and it's NAIS program. We do not need to trace animals back to their original home within 48 hours. Most of the food borne illnesses have been traced back to the processing facilities, not all the way back to a farm. The problems that cause food poisoning are almost always contaminations at the processor, some of which have even been found by the company and the product was still shipped to unsuspecting customers (the latest example involving peanuts). How do you stop Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) or Mad Cow Disease? You stop feeding them parts of other animals that might be carrying the prion for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy. It is pretty simple. We have been able to prevent disease outbreak in our country from becoming a rampant problem under our current system. Where do most of the cases of brucelossis come from? They have been caused by cattle that were brought into the US from Mexico illegally and from illegal immigrants who are sometimes carriers of brucelossis and who work in our cattle facilities illegally. Why do we need to create more bureaucracy, more time consuming record keeping, more time consuming reporting requirements, more money spent on ear tagging/micro-chipping, along with its related hardware and software; simply put, we should not be forced to participate in this program? It is just another invasion of our privacy. Why should we be subjected to keeping our private data in yet another database that increases the chances of our private information being given out, sold to, or stolen by another organization or individual? I think that our founding fathers would be appalled that our federal government is trying to legislate this into reality. They certainly understood what freedom was. They were willing to give up their life fortunes and lay their lives down for it. Thanks be to God for them. We need to rekindle that same sort of rugge

joseph russell
2/18/2009 10:29:47 AM
Animals life spans are too short to try and do controls on them. There are much better ways to waste our money. I think keeping track of the ILLEGAL people in our country might be more worth while. I would also like to see more control effort put on tracking where our food comes from. If you still insist on tracking Animals then I would suggest this effort be restricted to Horses and dogs. If you are thinking that keeping track of cows because of Mad cow disease, then I think it would still be more important to keep track of what our animals are feed that would cause the problem in the first place.

Raymond James
2/17/2009 10:47:40 AM
I am a small farmer who registered my farm as soon as the Missouri Department of Agriculture started the program. I already had a egg license that has been required in Missori of every farm that wanted to sell eggs off the farm for years. You can still sell eggs if the buyer comes to you and they are the end user. The egg license is 5.00 a year. I have learned more during the inspectors visit to my farm they I have in several exspesive books. My cows were enrolled in the burcellois program and I had notified the Dept. of Ag of my hobby (less than 4 breeding age females) dog breeding. Hobby breaders are not required to be licensed but by notifying the department they know who and where I am so when they see advertisements Dogs for sale they know who I am and do not have to follow up to see if I am a commercial operation operating without a license. If you think license of dog breeders is not required you have not seen the puppy mills in Missouri. I would have gotten a license but they asked me not to as they already had to many places to visit. In short I do not see that it is that big of a deal. I have not branded or used high tech tags in the cattle but have been considering it with the number of livestock thefts are on the rise. As to the cost The Missouri Cattle Association tell me that they will sell me electronic tags for 2.00 a piece. If I want to sell cattle at the livestock action I need to provide documentation on the ages and medicines administered in order to get a higher price. It cost more for the tags and records but I make it and more back. Currently I sell my cattle directly to the home freezer market and have only had to treat one cow in 9 years for an infection. Many of the arguments about the cost envolve the reader. In order to read a tag you need a machine. A small producer (less than 50 head ) would have no need for a reader. The tags, readers and computer software systems are just another way to keep farm records. Y










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