Joyce Morrison February 1, 2006 NewsWithViews.com
“Farming is not much fun any more,” are the words we hear from agricultural producers across the nation. While organizations such as the Environmental Working Group are working against agriculture and falsely leading the public to believe government subsidies are making farmers rich, farmers are asking “how can we survive and how much more invasive can the government get?”
The government is already using space-based satellites to measure the crops on every farm in the country and now the United States Department of Agriculture has plans to give an Orwellian touch to owning any type of farm animal. Are we permitting fear to take away another freedom?
Whether you are a large commercial producer or your child has a single horse or chicken for a 4-H project, each animal must be registered with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and the premise where the animal is kept is to be identified in a national data base, according to the USDA. Read: Animal ID Rolls Ahead With Premises Registration.
USDA says that 25 percent of the premises are to be registered by April, 2006, and by July every state is to have an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection system in place. By January 2008, all premises and all animals are to be registered and by July of 2008 movement of all animals will be tracked. If this is not done by January of 2009, the consequences will be severe.
Animals that must be identified with a chip or identification mark will be cattle/bison, sheep, goats, swine, horses, poultry & birds, deer/elk, llamas and alpacas. Animal identification and premise registration is voluntary until 2009. After that date there will be a $1,000 per day fine for noncompliance.
“The USDA has no legal jurisdiction over your livestock,” G. B. Oliver of the Paragon Foundation told the radio audience on the Derry Brownfield Show. “While producers are thinking how they must comply or face a noncompliance fine of $1,000 per day, they should be questioning the legality of the USDA to impose this animal identification system in the first place.”
In Henry Lamb’s excellent article The Mark of the Beast, he said, “The stated purpose of the program is to enable government to trace, within 48 hours, the source of a faulty animal food product. The effect of the program is the transfer of the control of private property to the government - while forcing the property owner to pay the cost of the transfer.”
These mandates will probably put most small producers totally out of business as the requirements will be far too costly and time-consuming to be profitable. There will be such thing as having a few chickens, sheep, pigs, horses or any other animal unless you want the headache of compliance. Perhaps that is the real plan behind this extreme proposal.
Many producers rotate their livestock to pastures on more than one farm they own or rent. Each farm will be required to have an individual premise number and records will have to be kept on each animal each time it is moved. The cost and time of the record-keeping alone will be impossible for most.
While dogs and cats are not included in the NAIS mandate, many states are now passing extensive chipping, neutering, spaying and litter laws that are as extreme as the NAIS mandates.
If the purpose of all this tracking is to identify diseased animals, how will they handle the identification of deer and elk known to harbor Chronic Wasting Disease? Eating these animals would appear to be far more risky than eating domestically raised animals.
In the United States, we have known for quite some time that elk and deer are plagued with Chronic Wasting Disease, a near cousin to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE or mad cow) in cows and Scrapies in sheep. We are told these diseases, although similar, are contained within their own species.
BSE in cows, Scrapies in sheep, CWD in deer and elk, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans, are all a form of spongiform encephalopathy, which is a disease that destroys the brain and is always fatal.
Should we be concerned? Of course, we should--and we expect the USDA to inspect meat to be sold for consumption. But we need to be rational about how we address this problem and take into consideration the number of fatalities from this disease and how many cows in the United States have been found to have the mad cow disease before we cry “the sky is falling.”
Could this be more about control of property than concern about disease?
The following is what the government is requiring from animal owners: National Animal Identification website.
Various species' working groups have suggested that certain basic events will trigger the need for reporting animal movements (e.g., change of ownership, interstate movement, multiple owners commingling their animals, etc). Each location will have a Premises Identification Number (PIN), and the responsible party will report the AIN or GIN of all animals that arrive at that premises and the date of their arrival.
There are essentially four pieces of information required to document an animal movement event. The table below shows the four pieces of information that will be stored in a national animal records repository:
National Animal Records Repository Data Elements
- Animal Identification Number, AIN, or Group/Lot Identification Number, GIN
- Premises Identification Number, PIN, of the location where the event takes place
- Date of the event
- Event type (movement in, movement out, sighting of an animal at a location, termination of the animal, etc)
The following table shows the 12 pieces of information that will be stored in a -national premises system.
National Premises Information Repository Data Elements
- Premises ID Number
- Name of Entity
- Owner or Appropriate Contact Person*
- Street Address
- Zip/Postal Code
- Contact Phone Number
- Operation Type (e.g., production unit, exhibition, abattoir, etc.)
- Date Activated
- Date Retired (e.g., date operation is sold, date operation is no longer maintaining -livestock)
- Reason Retired
An anti-NAIS grassroots group states that “while NAIS’s purported goal of disease containment appears to be beneficial, the requirement for American citizens to register privately-owned property for tracking and monitoring purposes has very serious implications on our privacy rights and freedoms.
Sources say the Avian flu virus comes from direct contact with the bird and to date it has not mutated from human to human unless it has been done in a laboratory experiment. How many cases have been reported in the United States? Yet the past few months we have seen nothing but hype about the “bird flu” and the need for a vaccine.
Perhaps we should follow the money trail and we might see why these programs are so attractive.
Consider the dollars to the pharmaceutical companies in providing a vaccine for the Avian flu. “The U.S. Senate has already approved a $3.9 billion package to buy vaccines and antiviral medications, and the Administration is also preparing a request for an additional $6 billion to $10 billion," according to a current Business Week and reported by Dr. Len Horowitz.
Missouri resident Doreen Hannes has been researching the funding for NAIS and found the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 is a major funder for the development of the NAIS plan. She reports the Act gave $380 million to develop the NAIS plan. A USDA veterinarian told Hannes he predicted the plan would cost the taxpayers $33 billion to implement. This would not include the cost of continuation and cost to individuals raising the animals.
The states will jump at the $14.3 million in grant money available to them. "WASHINGTON, June 21, 2005-Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that USDA will be accepting funding applications from state and tribal governments to continue registering premises for the national animal identification system (NAIS). Approximately $14.3 million will be available to state and tribal cooperators."
This whole scenario is a reminder of Henny Penny when the acorn fell on her head.
"THE SKY IS FALLING! THE SKY IS FALLING!" cries Henny Penny. "I must run and tell the king." Off she runs to tell the king and along the way she picks up her friends.
They meet Foxy Loxy. He says: "Where are you going Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey and Turkey Lurky?" When Henny Penny tells him where they are going and why, he says: "Ah, but this is not the way to the palace. Follow me. I will show you."
If we are forced to comply with the USDA mandates of putting an identification such as the RFID chip in each animal and identifying each premise, there will be no Henny Penny, Cocky Locky, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey or Turkey Lurky, as Foxy Loxy will have made certain the farm is no place for them!
© 2006 Joyce Morrison - All Rights Reserved
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Joyce Morrison is a weekly columnist and news reporter for the Illinoisleader.com, an online conservative news source. She also writes for SOWER magazine, NewsWithViews.com, as well as various other publications. She is a weekly participant on the teleconference of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank and is a pro-life, pro-family activist.
Morrison attempts to educate the public regarding the dangers coming to their local communities through Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 programs which are designed to gradually take control of all private property through undue regulations.
She is a chapter leader for Concerned Women for America as well as Secretary to the Board of Directors of Rural Restoration/ADOPT Mission, a national farm ministry located in Sikeston, MO. FarmersRuralRestoration.com. Her most enjoyable time is spent teaching a senior adult Sunday School class which is a focus on hope and encouragement.
The National Animal Identification System is the bureaucrats’ latest grab for power
By John Silveira
You’ve always got to be on your toes these days to keep the government from making a grab for ever more power over our personal lives. And very often the power grab goes hand-in-hand with a deal the government has made with big business. They always claim it’s about protecting “us.” Ha, Ha! What a joke!
The latest grab for power in order to protect “us” is called the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). It’s a system proposed by agribusiness and embraced by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to track livestock in this country. It’s supposed to help keep terrorists from intentionally infecting our food supply, and also protect us from things like avian flu, mad cow disease, and whatever else they can think of as an excuse to implement it by the target date of January, 2009—or earlier if they can continue on the fast track they are on now.
Here’s how NAIS will operate. On the individual level, your home (including your name, address, telephone number, and Global Positioning Satellite coordinates) will have to be registered with the Government. Your livestock—every fish, fowl, cow, hog, sheep, pigeon, etc.—will have to be registered. Your animals may have to be electronically tagged so they can be tracked by satellite. They may also have to have blood drawn so they can be identified by their DNA. They may even have to have retinal scans. Agribusinesses, promoters of the system, will have it easier than the individual: they’ll register their stock in lots, i.e, one entry covers a herd.
Who pays for all of this? The family raising a pig, cow, or flock of laying hens for its own consumption must absorb the cost of compliance themselves. Agribusiness gets to pass their costs on to the consumer.
The NAIS is also meant to increase exports, something important to agribusiness, but not so important to small farmers, homesteaders, or people like you and me. Will it actually improve agribusiness exports? Probably not. What will do that will be examining animals as they are slaughtered and going to market, like the Europeans and Japanese already do with a system they have perfected. It protects the public. If protection of the public is required, the European and Japanese systems have already shown us how to do it. The NAIS is just a power grab by big Government.
Government bureaucrats like to portray themselves as capable organizations that can ride to the rescue of ordinary folks like us in an emergency, like FEMA did—or, actually, didn’t—during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The “national herd” concept the USDA now embraces does not bode well for those who like freedom.
The NAIS will also turn your veterinarian into a spy. He will be required to report you if you are not in compliance. And what if you do fail to comply? Enforcing compliance is one of the things not spelled out in detail yet. It’s a bitter enough pill—the intrusions into our lives, the cost, the corporate welfare—without discussing penalties that will make it more difficult for average Americans to swallow. But expect enforcement to be the way bureaucrats always enforce laws: with threats of hefty fines, imprisonment, and seizure of your property. And, if cited, don’t expect to be brought before a jury of your neighbors. Your freedoms will become subject to the discretion of bureaucratic tribunals, similar to the IRS courts, the DMV, zoning boards, etc.
Who actually stands to benefit from this program? Not the public. It will be agribusinesses and the high-tech companies that will provide the tracking and identification systems that will be mandated. I’m not antibusiness, but I am anti-business-in-bed-with-government. Businesses, whether they’re multibillion dollar corporations or a mom-and-pop operation with a farm or laundromat, should prosper—or die—based on their ability to provide a product or service the public wants. They should not prosper because they’ve received government handouts or favors. NAIS is out and out welfare of the worst kind. It is a program to benefit large corporations and to expand bureaucratic power.
Who loses with NAIS? The consumer, the small farmer, the family who wants to raise a few organic hens for eggs, even the 4-H kids—yeah, even 4-H’ers will have to comply. And by increasing the burden on the small producer, the NAIS will help destroy the small producer’s market, even when that market is a single family.
NAIS is not a program that was proposed by consumer groups or voters. It wasn’t even run through Congress. It is, pure and simple, a naked attempt to profit and increase power on the part of both corporations and bureaucrats at the expense of small farmers and the public. It will be run by agribusiness and it will be agribusiness who makes the decisions as to what happens to small farmers and the consumers. You will not have a say.
The USDA, agribusinesses, and the tech companies involved in creating the hardware and software for this tracking system are trying to move fast on this. For them, the windfalls will be enormous, whether it’s expansion of bureaucratic power or big bucks. They have much to gain by forcing it through. The small farmer, the rural family, and the consumer have much to lose.
There’s still time to stop this. Call, e-mail, or write your congressman and governor to protest it. You can usually find their addresses and phone numbers in your local newspaper. Or on the Web you can go to: www.house.gov/, www.senate.gov/, or www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/govemail.html.
Let’s not let Government cancel our individual freedoms with phony programs like NAIS.