How will the NAIS affect the Amish?
Vulnerability in the Amish Communities
The Amish have always shunned modern technologies and communications, as part of their mandate to 'be no part of the world.' At this juncture in history, however, this practice has put the survival of their communities in grave danger. Because they do not follow technological developments, a particularly heinous one is overtaking them, almost without comment. These communities are extremely vulnerable.
RFID chipping of animals is a technology that is 'voluntary' on the national level, but state-by-state is mandatory. Few, or no, exemptions are being given to the Amish small farmers, nor to any small farmers, for any reason. However, penalties for non-compliance are so high that it will soon drive these farmers out of business. See: Amish & RFID Chips
About Amish Horses...
For the Amish, it is even worse. Rather than use motor vehicles for transportation, the Amish use horses. They use horses for their buggies, and they use draft horses for their farming. They borrow and lend their horses to their neighbors as need demands. States are requiring soon, however, that ALL livestock, including horses, be chipped with RFID.
Permits for Every Move
Permits are required by the states when animals are moved. The extent of the information required by these permits is, as yet, unclear. What is clear, however, is that the states expect that other animals that come into contact with the permitted animal be identified as well.
The Amish have no computers to document movements or to apply for permits. Neighborhoods may have fax machines, but most Amish will need to rely on snail mail to apply for movement permits, FUTURE MOVEMENT permits, that will allow them to use their horses without fines or penalties.
In daily terms, this means that the Amish must apply days, weeks, or even months ahead to obtain permissions for their horses to be moved from their premises. They may need to know, far in advance, other animals their horses will be coming into contact with. In the event they want to loan a draft horse to another Amish farmer for plowing or harvesting, such projects may need to be planned down to the very days, hours, and other horses the permitted animal will be with at the time.
Equivalence for Us
This is as if the government were to require of us permits for every move we make with our cars. If we had to apply for a permit to go to the grocery, for example, and once there, document each and every other vehicle we came into contact with on the way, while we were there, and on the way back, you begin to see the challenge this poses for the Amish.
Further, if we had to apply for the permit days, weeks, or months in advance of the movement, and plan which vehicles we would be near to, you can see how bad this can get.
Eyeballs (and Satellites) on the Amish
Since when, in America, is it acceptable for every single move we make to be monitored, recorded, and permitted in America? The Amish will need to seek permission to go to the store, to go to church, to school, to family gatherings, and the government will have documented records of each of those movements, when they occur, and the entire list of others in attendance, through the tagging of their horses.
Destroying the Amish
The very thing that is most identifiable and unique about the Amish, their horses, is for profit and control purposes, the most at risk. The Amish consider numbering technologies 'the mark of the beast' anyway, and in every possible way avoid using numbers for identification. For the extreme demand of chipping, permitting, and recording movements of their horses, the Amish are vulnerable in a way no one else is.
The Amish detachment from all technologies means there are many of them who are completely uninformed about the demands this technology is making on them, and they may not know until it is too late to defend against it.
Their lack of technology means they cannot participate in the State mandated programs without either changing their lifestyles, or enduring a long, drawn-out and burdensome permitting process.
No Horses, No Amish
Without horses, the entire Amish lifestyle falls. Everything about how they live is dependent on horses: plowing, farming, transportation. For the Amish, RFID is not only the 'Mark of the Beast', it is the destruction of their entire lifestyle, pure and simple.
Go to the above link for LOTS of information on the Amish and the NAIS.
http://www.ethicsdaily.com/article_detail.cfm?AID=9368Amish Say Animal ID System Goes Against the Bible
BLANCHARD, Mich. (RNS) Amish farmers complain that the state Department of Agriculture is insisting they tag their cattle with electronic chips in violation of their religious beliefs.
State agriculture officials say the radio frequency chips are necessary to track animal diseases and protect public health. But the Amish farmers say the chips' 15-digit number is the Mark of the Beast warned of in the Bible's book of Revelation. "We're a people who are inclined to mind our own business," said Glen Mast, sitting in the wood shop he operates without electricity on his Isabella County farm. "We're never happier than when we're just left alone," Mast said. "That's all we're asking." Mast cited the Book of Revelation, which says the beast forced everyone "to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark." "They're asking me to use this number to be allowed to buy and sell," he said. "To me, the beast is the computer." All over Michigan, Amish farmers are resisting the state program requiring that all cattle be tagged with the electronic chips before they can be sold. Some say they will quit farming if it comes to it. Some say they will leave the state. "They keep saying that, and that's their choice," said Kevin Kirk, who coordinates the program for the state agriculture department. "Our No. 1 goal is animal health, human health and food safety. I know it's hard sometimes to trust the government, but that's what we're asking, is trust us." Michigan's program, which began March 1, is part of a National Animal Identification System created after the outbreaks of mad cow disease and foot-and-mouth disease in Europe and hastened by fears of terrorist attacks on the United States' food supply. The national program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is voluntary. Michigan is one of the few states making it mandatory because of a 1998 tuberculosis outbreak among cattle. Under the program, each farm is issued a seven-digit identification number entered in a national database. All cattle must have the electronic ear tags, which cost $2 each, before they can be moved off the farm. Scanners at livestock auctions and slaughter houses automatically read the ear tags, tracking each animal's movements. While the program covers only cattle, it might be expanded to all farm animals, Kirk said. Most Michigan cattle already are marked with metal ear tags embossed with numbers, allowing health officials to track them, but Kirk said the computerized system is much faster. "If we have a disease outbreak, we don't have months to track it," he said. Amish farmers, he said, produced a "very, very small" percentage of the nearly 397 million pounds of beef sold by Michigan farmers last year. Not all Amish raise cattle, but those who do typically have herds of eight or 10 animals. But the Amish aren't the only farmers opposing the new system. Several organizations representing small farmers are fighting it nationally, claiming it is costly, bureaucratic and intrusive. Gale Faling, who is not Amish but raises beef cattle in the midst of a Amish community in Montcalm County, said the old system was working fine. "I don't see the need to change it," he said. "To me, it's another layer of government interference." A neighbor, Amish farmer Alvin Shetler, agreed. "We're not against the government," he said. "We're thankful for the freedom we got, and we'd like to continue with that." So far, the state has not forced the Amish to use the electronic tags but, as a compromise, said they can wait until the animals arrive at an auction before having them applied.
(Pat Shellenbarger is a staff writer for the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press.)
Amish farmers balk at farm ID numbers
The Associated Press
Amish dairy farmers who oppose a Wisconsin livestock identification system that takes full effect May 1 contend it’s forcing them to make a choice between their livelihood and their religion.
The Amish, members of a Christian sect that favors plain living with little reliance on modern conveniences, cite Biblical passages as prohibiting them from buying and selling animals that are numbered, or have what they would consider the “mark of the beast.”
About 200 Amish dairy producers recently met with state officials about the new ID system that was passed into law three years ago.
It requires livestock farms to register with the state and receive a farm ID number as a way of making it easier to track animals in case of a disease outbreak or other emergency.
On Thursday, a number of Amish producers at a meeting near Cashton in western Wisconsin said they may stop selling milk and animals if the number requirement stands.
“Look at all the electronic gadgets in the world — have they done more good for the American family or have they done more evil?” one of them asked state Sen. Dan Kapanke, R-La Crosse, and former Republican state Sen. Brian Rude, who serves on the state agriculture board.
Donna Gilson of the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said farmers have had more than a year to comply with the law, and as of May 1 it will not be possible for producers to renew their dairy license without a premise identification number.
She said 90 percent of the state’s livestock farms, or about 54,000, have registered.
According to Gilson, there has been a high degree of acceptance in the Amish community, but the religious objections have arisen among certain Amish in the Coulee Region of western Wisconsin.
Kapanke and Rude said the law is not likely to be changed, although Rude said the state could have been more diplomatic in dealing with the Amish people who opposed it.
“I think there was a letter sent out that said, ’You don’t follow the law, there will be fines, etc.,“’ Rude said. “I think we can get people to participate in this without being threatening or using heavy-handed tactics like that.”
Gilson said the agriculture board has been in contact with the Amish community and plans to discuss the issue at a meeting in Madison on Wednesday.
Posted April 20, 2007