Report done by ARAPA Vice President and Arkansas cattleman, Warren Phillips, who attended the
NIAA Conference in Kansas City on August 23, 2006:
"I have been back from Kansas City for a few days now, and have been busy trying to catch up on
some things at the ranch. It doesn't take long to get behind so it took a while to get around to this.
The whole time I have been thinking about the strange visit I had with the proponents of this scheme.
I won't say the time there was all surreal, but some of it certainly was. I visited with some of the
people in the hierarchy of the NIAA. I had a short interview session with the NIAA Board of Directors.
The strange thing was it depended on who you were talking with and how they perceived you as
to what information you received. At first they were more than candid until they began to realize
I wasn't completely unbiased or open to their side. At that point, the answers became more cautious
and seemingly more scripted. The Federal Government people were much less inclined to tout this
as a mandatory program. While the State bureaucrats were very much willing to say it is going to
be mandatory and they pretty well didn't care what the people thought.
One guy from a state ag office actually said there may be blood shed in this situation, BUT THAT
WAS OK, TOO. Of course, he assumed the audience was all for his side of this deal. He bragged
about how he had to keep the sneaky farmers in line when they tried to avoid the Ag rules of the
state. He also said that the producers didn't like him because they knew he was a no-nonsense
type and they better not mess with him. He also went into how they had already set up how they
were going to bring about mandatory compliance in the state, with just a slight insight on how it
was already a done deal, the people just didn't know about it, yet. I will say that it was not one
of the states that has gone mandatory.
I sat there, hardly believing what I was hearing. How could this man, a person placed in a position
of power in his state, have that *citizens are little more than cattle* attitude.
Other State Ag people were also pretty matter of fact about them thinking that mandatory was the only logical
approach to these all important animal health issues. They continue to talk about BSE as being
this horrible threat to us all. When I would think that their being vets, they would know it's not
contagious or easily passed from animal to animal. They also want to keep talking about foot and
mouth disease like we just got over an epidemic of this dreaded virus that has nearly destroyed
the National Herd. They just keep harping on these weak issues, and think that if they keep saying
it, it must be true or will become true.
Of course, the people they were mostly talking to were probably reassured by these diseases,
thinking this talk will lead to riches untold for them, their companies and their huge Ag operations,
and would be used by the journalists there to scare the public into certain submission. I mean,
African horse fever (or whatever it's called), what in heck is that? I swear that was one of the
threats that they were using to call for a National ID program. They also thew in tuberculosis,
brucellosis, scrapie, and some other diseases I have never heard of. Speaking of tuberculosis,
there has been an outbreak of it in cows in the upper peninsula of Michigan, they have quarantined
the entire area. I was surprised they didn't depopulate the cattle there since it is contagious to
people, but I guess they decided to use the old fashioned method of disease control that has worked
so well for so long. Another point is that the cows caught it from humans so it really wasn't their
fault. That may be another reason why they spared the cattle although they probably decided it
wasn't really necessary and just reverted to quarantine in an unexpected show of reason.
The strange is the USDA keeps talking about the program being voluntary while on the other
hand, the state ag departments keep up the diatribe of mandatory compliance. Now, if the state
departments have only gotten their interest in this program from the grants (MONEY) from the
USDA, you have to wonder why the USDA isn't stressing to them that the program should be
only voluntary. We know that the state agriculture departments have all received large grants to
promote this program in their respective states. The state departments have so far received their
marching order from the USDA. So does that mean they are revolting against their USDA puppet
masters, and demanding mandatory animal ID? Hmmmm...makes one wonder.
So, from what I saw and experienced, either they don't know what they are doing, or they do
know and they aren't telling anyone, but keeping it totally among themselves. They are using
misdirection and confusion along with a large amount of half truths to try to placate us and get us
to be quiet until they can get through one of the bills in Congress that will give them authority to
implement this program with a mandate.
I think they want us to shut up and stop trying to get our Congress and Senate people to stop this
thing. Well folks, that is precisely what we don't want to do. We are hindering their efforts; we
are giving them political heat. We must continue, only turn up the heat and make it toughter to get
their agenda through. Keep on doing what we are doing and don't stop!"
REPORT FROM SHARON IN VERMONT WHO ALSO ATTENDED THE CONFERENCE:
TUESDAY, AUG. 22, 2006:
If I only could relay to you how creepy the NIAA ID Expo is. Imagine being in the same room with a couple of hundred people
who have fully swallowed the pudding, drank the koolaid. It is very scary to think that NAIS is just one program out of
hundreds, maybe thousands, being run by the same type of people. I don't really know where to start. This is interesting -
found in the info packet: neon green sheet -
"Keep Moving and Leave It to the Uniforms..." It's possible that NAIS protesters will be present during ID/INFO EXPO 2006.
In the event of a confrontation, initiated by a protester or belligerent activist, please ignore them and move on; such incidents
serve no useful purpose.
NIAA has retained the services of security professionals during the conference to properly deal with disruptive and inappropriate
behavior. If local media approach you about an incident, we suggest referring them to the NIAA staff, which is prepared for such
situations and can facilitate their request for an interview.
Enjoy your stay in Kansas City!!!"
Whoa! Do you think we've got them nervous?
When the head of media relations met me, he was very friendly. When he was introduced to Doreen Hannes, he physically
started, like he might have gotten an electric shock. We laughed about that later. All of the morning PowerPoint presentations
will be provided to us media types, they even gave us memory sticks. When I get the PowerPoints, I'll load them into the files
section on Vermont Against NAIS, and then post the appropriate notes to go along with each.
Weimers said the NAIS is about filling the void in disease control and not about controlling the lives of people. (Oh, did I
mention that if lies were rain, we have all drowned in that room this afternoon). He likened the resistance to NAIS to when
credit cards were introduced. He asked for a show of hands, who had/didn't have credit cards. Everyone had credit cards, so
that supposedly proved his point about 100% compliance for a voluntary program. "I forsee a day when this is the way business
is done." Another nugget from Weimers: He told the activist from Wisconsin, "We will drive every road in the country and
find every animal." I am on purpose going to find him and get him to say the same thing to me.
As I have come to see it, the specific working groups have done what they have to make the inevitable program more
palatable. It has never occured to them, apparently, that the program is fundamentally wrong and could be stopped if they put
as much effort into stopping it as they have in writing their recommendations. Linda Campbell and Doreen talked for over an
hour and still she did not get it.
Interestingly enough, at the end of the question and answer session, one of the NIAA staff brought up "the state who recently
put premises registration on hold" (Vermont) and they talked about the confidentiality issue. Confidentiality came up several
times, always with that tone of voice, incredulous that anyone would find any problem at all with giving info to the government.
The conclusion about Freedom of Information Act was that all info will be FOIA exempt. Each state will have to look at the
issue in relation to state's laws, and this exemption will need federal and state legislation.
Pray for us. I mean it. We are in deep, over our heads here.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 23, 2006
Subject: "I wish I'd taken the blue pill!"
General Session V - Effective Communications of NAIS
Session Summary - Education and outreach opportunities are key to a successful national animal identification effort...
USDA Communication Plan - Dore Mobley, USDA, APHIS Legislative and Public Affairs
Dore's presentation was very short and to the point. A consulting firm they hired did blog research of 93 blogs to identify
key themes. They found there were 5 major themes:
Burden on the small farmer 40%
Tracking of every animal movement 40%
Civil Liberty Issues 16%
Economic Burden (didn't get it)
Fines for non-compliance 10%
According to Dore, non-producers only need premises id "as cited in the Guide for non and small producers". Seemed to me
to be the perfect time to ask the question that Walter brought up about how she and Neil have never answered his questions.
Hey, I mean, the session WAS about communication, right?
So I go up to the microphone and introduce myself, acknowledging that she and I had talked before on the phone. Nice
polite smile from her. "Since you brought up blogs, Dore, I know NoNAIS.org is one of the blogs you must have identified."
A yes smile from her. "So, we were wondering why you and Neil have never answered Walter Jeffries' questions from back in
April. What happened?" No smile this time, but that tone again.
"We get thousands of emails every week and we just don't have the time to respond to each of them individually."
"But you said in an email to him that you would answer his questions. It seems to me that if you are truly concerned about
the misconceptions...." I was cut off. "We answered Mr. Jeffries' questions in the Guide for Non and Small Producers. Have
you read it?" I swear, if one more person condescendingly asks me if I've read it, I am sure...well, have you seen the Matrix?
Earlier in the day I looked right into John Weimer's eyes and told him I would not comply. I also got face time with Johanns
after his speech was over. He never addressed any questions or made comments about the non-producers and so I walked up
to his handler out in the hall and asked if I could ask him a question. She said to walk with them, so I did. When I asked him
about the non-producers all he said to me was, "We are working on it." And I told the Dr. (name is a blank right now) who is
the American Quarter Horse Association head (I think) that I would shoot my horse myself before letting anyone put a chip
in her neck, 4-5 vertebrae above her withers.
Met the Granny Warriors and took a picture of the scary protesters who were, by in large, elderly people in hover-rounds.
I videod quite a few of the sessions and over the next week I'll burn them on cd's. If you want on, let me know, but there will
be a charge to cover the cost of the cd's and postage.
Folks, let me end this missive by telling you this: NAIS is a big cement ball rolling right at us and isn't going to be stopped
by the hand of USDA or NIAA. The time for asking questions of the USDA is over. I mean we should stay in their faces to
keep them on their toes, they find us quite irritating, however they aren't going to grant us any exceptions, give us any
leeway. Now is time to turn our efforts on the state governments because it is there that "states rights" relief might be found.
Also, Congress - we need to start getting their attention. I don't know how we are going to do it, but we must.
You know me, I am never scared, but I AM SCARED BY WHAT I'VE SEEN HERE.
MARY ZANONI AT NIAA:
Just in from an alert reader who spotted Mary's name on the program:
"We'll also have an opportunity to hear not only from the attributes of NAIS but all viewpoints regarding the implementation
of a National Animal Identification System," explains Fourdraine.
"In a special seesion, several industry representatives and producers will be on the program to express their concerns. Amongst
the participants in this session will be Mary Zanoni (PhD, JD), an outspoken critic of NAIS who considers herself an advocate
for sustainable agriculture" says Fourdraine.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 25, 2006:
After hearing Dore Mobley's contemtuous answer to my question about why they wouldn't answer Walter's questions,
I left the Expo and didn't go back. I just couldn't stomach any more of it.
This is my take home message and what you all need to understand. USDA means to tag every livestock animal in this
country, every one of them. Chickens will have RFID tags glued to their wings (that is one thought they had anyway), horses
will need a chip inserted in the nuchal ligament. Goats will need tags in their ears, but the LaMancha goats present a
problem because they have small or no outer ear material. The working groups are only presently a problem to USDA because
the groups are in chaos. I spoke with a woman in the horse working group who works in the international horse industry, the
U.S. Olympics, etc., and some kind of identification system does make sense for them, but as she said, the international
community can't come to a consensus over what kind of id system will work best for them. But that is industry, isn't it? She,
herself, won't be happy to have a chip inserted in her pet Quarter Horse. Did you know that Canada has scanners that can
read both kinds of ISO chips and both of those chips are used here in the U.S., but a dual scanner isn't allowed by law. So,
anyone with the wrong chip for the allowable scanner will have to buy new chips.
I found it amusing when I connected the dots between the CEO of NIAA who resigned recently to start a company that is on
the list of technology vendors. That is what NAIS is all about...profit centers and the good old boy network. At the end of the
day, NIAA/USDA/APHIS is made up of a bunch of cronies who think they have found the golden cow/pig/sheep/horse/chicken/
Which reminds me, the woman who heads up the camelid working group made the comment, when talking about "price point",
how sad it would be indeed to keep a 4-H kid out of competition over the price of a tag. That says it all, doesn't it?
"Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their party". That's a sentence that we had to type over and over again
in high school typing class. I type it now for a much different reason. We have to sound a serious alert to the people. Up to
now we've been doing the best we can to inform people and we've done a good job given that we don't have any real resources.
Grass roots efforts aren't easy to float. We are at a new point in the fight. It seems to me that the next logical step is to take
NAIS to the state and federal representatives. We have to play hard ball now. The USDA means to chip every animal in this
country. Voluntary means mandatory. The working groups aren't going to help people like us, they are for their own particular
industry. We have no representation in this.
IT'S TIME FOR ALL AMERICANS TO JOIN THE ANTI-NAIS POSSE!