Even under the best of circumstances, it was an impossible goal. The idea of assigning a seven-digit number to every property in the nation that houses even a single chicken, horse, cow, goat, sheep, or any one of 29 species of animals is simply unrealistic, especially if the owners of the property don't want their property registered in a government database.
Even more ridiculous is the idea of tagging each of these hundreds of millions of animals with a radio frequency identification device containing a unique 15-digit number. And perhaps the height of unrealistic expectations was that the owners of these registered and tagged animals would report to the government every time a registered animal was moved from the registered property – within 24 hours.
The USDA anticipated big fines for non-compliance as a way to enforce the "mandatory."
It took only a few months after the program was announced for the USDA to realize it was causing a rebellion. Small farmers, ranchers and backyard gardeners with a chicken or two joined together in local groups and national coalitions to tell the USDA the NAIS was not acceptable.
Whether intimidated by the loud public outcry or the realization that it could not meet its goals, the USDA announced in 2006 that the NAIS was no longer "mandatory," but would be a voluntary program.
On its website, the USDA boasts that more than 400,000 owners of livestock animals have registered in the "voluntary" program.
They say nothing about the fact that in Idaho alone, more than 15,000 animal owners were registered in the NAIS without their knowledge or permission, according to John Chatburn, deputy administrator of Idaho's Division of Animal Identification.
The USDA has showered $138 million dollars on state departments of agriculture and other organizations to entice – some people say "bribe" – them to get people to register their property in the NAIS. There is no way to know how many of the 400,000 properties registered in the NAIS have been registered without the owners' knowledge or permission.
Perhaps the most diabolical bribery perpetrated by the USDA is a $633,000 grant to the Future Farmers of America to secure FFA support in signing up properties in the NAIS. A cheap price, indeed, to have Ag teachers across the nation urging their students to convince their parents to register in the NAIS.
Even worse, FFA and 4H kids were not allowed to show or sell their animal at the Colorado State Fair unless the animal came from a property that was registered in the so-called "voluntary" NAIS. The idea is being picked up in North Carolina and other states.
Parents and ranchers alike cried foul, claiming the Fair Association was holding the children hostage and forcing them to sign up in what is publicized as a "voluntary" program. "This is coercion," "This is not fair," and "This is more USDA deception" are some of the more common responses to this practice.
The worst deception is the reality that the entire program was designed by the manufacturers of the RFID tags and the tag reading equipment, and the meat exporters. The USDA just rewarded the tag manufacturers to the tune of $1.7 million. These manufacturers and the meat packers are the primary members of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, which first proposed the program to the USDA. International trade agreements require that exporting countries have in place an electronic "trace-back" system. Meat packers will have new export markets if the NAIS becomes functional.
USDA says the program is to identify and trace the source of a diseased animal within 48 hours.
There are already several programs in place to do just that. There has not been a case of foot and mouth disease in the U.S. since 1929, and all other animal diseases are under control. U.S. meat is the safest, and most desired, in the world. Food safety would not be improved one whit by the creation of mega-databases containing property information on millions of farms and ranches and homesteads, and hundreds of millions of animals.
The NAIS would create another bungling bureaucracy to lose the data it gathers in a process that penalizes animal owners with costs and aggravation – for no benefit to themselves. The benefits would accrue to the large meat packers and exporters, to the manufacturers of the tags and tag reading equipment, and of course to the USDA's expanded budget, personnel and power.
THE GHOST FROM VALLEY FORGE
I had a dream the other night I didn't understand,
A figure walking through the mist, with flintlock in his hand.
His clothes were torn and dirty, as he stood there by my bed,
He took off his three-cornered hat, and speaking low he said:
"We fought a revolution to secure our liberty,
We wrote the Constitution, as a shield from tyranny.
For future generations, this legacy we gave,
In this, the land of the free and home of the brave.
The freedom we secured for you, we hoped you'd always keep,
But tyrants labored endlessly while your parents were asleep.
Your freedom gone - your courage lost - you're no more than a slave,
In this, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
You buy permits to travel, and permits to own a gun,
Permits to start a business, or to build a place for one.
On land that you believe you own, you pay a yearly rent,
Although you have no voice in choosing how the money's spent.
Your children must attend a school that doesn't educate,
Your moral values can't be taught, according to the state.
You read about the current "news" in a very biased press,
You pay a tax you do not owe, to please the IRS.
Your money is no longer made of silver or of gold,
You trade your wealth for paper, so life can be controlled.
You pay for crimes that make our Nation turn from God to shame,
You've taken Satan's number, as you've traded in your name.
You've given government control to those who do you harm,
So they can padlock churches, and steal the family farm.
And keep our country deep in debt, put men of God in jail,
Harass your fellow countryman while corrupted courts prevail.
Your public servants don't uphold the solemn oath they're sworn,
Your daughters visit doctors so children won't be born.
Your leaders ship artillery and guns to foreign shores,
And send your sons to slaughter, fighting other peoples' wars.
Can you regain your Freedom for which we fought and died?
Or don't you have the courage, or the faith to stand with pride?
Are there no more values for which you'll fight to save?
Or do you wish your children live in fear and be a slave?
Sons of the Republic, arise and take a stand!
Defend the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the Land!
Preserve our Republic, and each God-given right!
And pray to God to keep the torch of freedom burning bright!"
As I awoke he vanished, in the mist from whence he came,
His words were true, we are not free, and we have ourselves to
For even now as tyrants trample each God-given right,
We only watch and tremble -- too afraid to stand and fight.
If he stood by your bedside in a dream while you're asleep,
And wondered what remains of your right he fought to keep.
What would be your answer if he called out from the grave?
Is this still the land of the free and home of the brave?
by Author Unknown