COL. RANDY GIVENS (RET) REBUTS THE NAIS
Randy Givens is an activist with a B.S. degree in Landscape Architecture and a M.A. degree in Sociology. He retired from the U.S. Army, as a Colonel, in 1994. He ran his own Landscape Architecture business for eight years. He raised Grapefruit and served on the Board of an Irrigation District for almost nine years. Activist work included property rights issues, and helping protect agriculture from federal programs, and theft of precious irrigation water by Mexico. He now teaches U.S. Government, part-time, at a local college. He is one of the founders of the Liberty Ark Coalition to fight the NAIS. His acreage, in Texas, hosts a horse, many dogs and cats, and a couple of cows.
FROM THE LIBERTY ARK COALITION WEBSITE!
The USDA Shell Game on
"Voluntary" versus "Mandatory"
Participation in NAIS
By Randy Givens
November 16, 2006
Recently, the USDA changed the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) web page to infer that it is now USDA policy and position that NAIS will be a voluntary system instead of the mandatory system that they have been pushing for several years. However, what is written and what they intend for you to believe are two entirely different things.
As the change is written, it is designed to lead the reader to believe that USDA has changed its policy and position to oppose the mandatory imposition of NAIS. However, that is NOT what their written words mean. Their statement is carefully cloaked in Washington Bureaucratese, designed to keep the average citizen from determining exactly what the bureaucrats intend.
The exact reasons for that inferred change in policy and position have never been publicly stated. However, the nationwide rising tide of anger and grassroots opposition to NAIS, as animal owners realize the magnitude of government interference being foisted on them, probably had much to do with it. The fact that it was occurring in an election year may have also influenced that decision.
The purported change has been expressed in several ways, all designed to convince the uninitiated that they now do not have to worry that NAIS will be forced on them as a mandatory system. By doing so, USDA apparently hopes to defuse the growing opposition to NAIS. Do not be bamboozled by their fancy tap dancing with words. The following analysis will show you what they wrote, and what they probably mean to have you live with.
In the main part of their NAIS web page USDA states:
NAIS is currently a voluntary program. To ensure the participation requirements of NAIS not only provide the results necessary to maintain the health of the national herd but also is a program that is practical for producers and all others involved in production, USDA has adopted a phased-in approach to implementation. Although the draft strategic plan references mandatory requirements in 2008 and beyond, to date no actions have been initiated by USDA to develop regulations to require participation in NAIS. APHIS will publish updates to the implementation plan as recommendations are received and evaluated by the NAIS Subcommittee and the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases.
A bit further down the page, USDA added the following statement at the end of October 2006:
The NAIS is a voluntary program and the USDA has no intention of considering regulations at the federal level. The April 2006 Implementation Plan that referenced a contingency option for regulations if participation levels did not reach adequate levels has been discarded to reflect the policy and position of USDA.
In the first part, note that they state that "NAIS is currently a voluntary program." If USDA did not want to leave the door open for you ultimately having to live under a mandatory program, all they had to do was delete the word "currently." As written, what they mean is, "NAIS is currently being sold as a voluntary program, but that does not block us from later turning it into a mandatory program."
Continuing in that same first part, USDA tries to throw the reader off by saying that "Although the draft strategic plan references mandatory requirements in 2008 and beyond, to date no actions have been initiated by USDA to develop regulations to require participation in NAIS." That doesn't mean anything. Bureaucrats establish a program first, then they write the regulations to implement it later on. All this statement shows is that they did not get around to writing any regulations.
Their "out" on a later change to mandating participation is hidden in the following phrase, when they state: "APHIS will publish updates to the implementation plan as recommendations are received and evaluated by the NAIS Subcommittee and the Secretary's Advisory Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases." What that statement means is that they will initially try and sell NAIS as a "voluntary" program. When they get full authorization and funding for that part, and get the machinery up and running nationwide, they will then get more "findings and recommendations" from their chosen experts, which will then cause them to "reevaluate" their program and make a new finding that, "to protect us," NAIS must become a mandatory program. Among Washington insiders, this ploy is known as "The Truth Changes." When you protest that NAIS was supposed to be purely voluntary, they respond with "Yes, but we have new information and The Truth Changes."
The second part of the web page quoted above hides even more bureaucratic chicanery.
"The NAIS is a voluntary program and the USDA has no intention of considering regulations at the federal level. The April 2006 Implementation Plan that referenced a contingency option for regulations if participation levels did not reach adequate levels has been discarded to reflect the policy and position of USDA."
This phrasing hides the fact that the USDA's plan – before the April 2006 Plan – specifically called for federal regulations to be proposed last summer, in 2006, to establish a mandatory program throughout the U.S. They then changed the plan to call for a "contingency option" of establishing a mandatory program. As opposition built, and they realized they had no real Congressional approval for such a plan, they decided to use the "Golden Rule" to impose their will upon us. In this ploy, they use federal funding to entice state agencies to do exactly what the federal agency wants, without having to potentially put the feds in the hot seat of having to defend offensive federal regulations. That way, they never have to write federal regulations at the federal level, and they get the state agencies to do their dirty work for them. They probably distribute "model" mandatory rules to state agencies at meetings USDA convenes and pays for. Evidence of this strategy showed up in Texas, when the Texas Animal Health Commission tried to impose rules for a mandatory program. That effort was delayed. Along with Texas, several states have begun to implement mandatory state programs. Included among them are Wisconsin and Indiana which passed regulations for mandatory premises registration. Michigan has the first mandatory RFID tagging system, which is acknowledged to be a precursor to the NAIS in that state, and to be funded with federal money. Many other states, have started to wave the sabre of their broad authority to "protect animal health," and aren't bothering with statutes. All of these states get federal funding, based on how many farms are "voluntarily" registered. This way, the feds get what they want, but will claim it was all the states' doing.
Notice at the end of that segment, USDA states: "... has been discarded to reflect the policy and position of USDA." That is intended to make you believe that a new USDA policy and position opposes mandatory NAIS. However, that is NOT what they wrote. Note that they have not published the "policy and position of USDA." That's because what they intend is to sneak in a nationwide mandatory NAIS, one state at a time, with the dirty work being done by the state agencies. It's the old "Take the King's coin, do the King's bidding!" Even if they do publish such a new policy, remember "policy" is written by bureaucrats, not Congress, and it can be changed back by the bureaucrats at any time.
Part of their deception plan is to have you believe that new political appointees in USDA are making those changes. Remember, many people have gone to Washington, intent on cleaning up that mess, and have failed. Even if it were true that the new guys really want to set up a truly voluntary NAIS, the reality is that USDA is still infected with the bureaucrats who have been trying to shove a mandatory NAIS down our throats for several years. Leopards generally do not change their spots, even if there is a new cat in the jungle – and USDA had not really changed its intention that NAIS be mandatory in every state in the union. They're just paying the state agencies to write the rules and implement it for them.
Do not be misled by soothing words by government officials. Statements by government officials are not enforceable, do not have the effect of law, and are not worth the paper on which they are not written.
The other side of NAIS
By Randy Givens
June 1, 2006
Editors' note: Here is a reply to a recent pro-NAIS article by Cindy Coping, published in the May, 2006, People for the West Newsletter.
I was extremely disappointed to read the article on the National Animal Identification by Cindy Coping in your May Newsletter. The article is full of incorrect information, and a defeatist attitude which flies in the face of your mission.
Here is a rebuttal of just a few of her incorrect statements:
"According to the latest updates, the system will be privately managed and off-limits to the Freedom of Information Act,"
The USDA does not have the authority to require private individuals and businesses to submit personal/business information to a private database. The USDA has charged off half-cocked, wasted millions of dollars on an unconstitutional program, and is regrouping while continuing to sucker people into registering their homes and farms.
"...producer information will remain confidential..."
I am a retired Army Officer. The Veterans' Administration just released personal information on millions of veterans through internal bungling. As a result, the government is advising us that our personal information has been compromised, and we should take extra effort to protect ourselves against Identity Theft.
Other instances of inadvertent release of personal information by organizations are commonplace. If your information is in a database, it is at risk of being compromised, intentionally or otherwise. Additionally, lawmakers make laws. NAIS is not a law, it is being implemented through the "rulemaking" authority of USDA. Both Laws and Rules are subject to the interpretation of the courts. Just because some bureaucrat writes that your information will be protected under FOIA, that is no guarantee that some activist judge will not overturn that law/ruling, and allow other access to your information. Additionally, NAIS is the brainchild of giant globalist agribusiness. There is no doubt that they will work to get access to producers' private information, in order for them to continue their efforts of "vertical integration" of agriculture. That means that they want to force out the little guy, and own the entire meat production system, from raising grain, to calves, to stockyards, and packing houses. NAIS will help them do that.
" participation will remain voluntary"
That is absolutely false. The USDA has made it abundantly clear that they intend for NAIS to ultimately be a mandatory system for everyone who owns ONE chicken, duck, goose, pig, goat, sheep, alpaca, llama, cow, or horse. Here in Texas, the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) proposed rules that would make NAIS mandatory by July of 2006, in accordance with their masters, the unelected bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.
"Producers will, however, pay a fee to fund the cost of privacy."
Under NAIS, everyone who owns one of the targeted animals will have to pay the full price of registering their premises (7 digit number, including GPS coordinates), and renewal fees, plus tagging their animals with a 15 digit Animal Identification Number, plus keeping records of: every time that animal leaves its "premises;" what other premises the animal visits when away from its home premises; the other animals with which it is commingled – both at home and away from its premises; and report all movements, sales, and deaths, to the federal government, within 24 hours of the incident.
In addition, the owner ("producer") will have to pay the full cost of registering and tagging their animals, reporting the information cited above, and the cost of the equipment to tag the animal and read the tags. The tags will probably be Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Tags. Current costs, cited by proponents of NAIS, are for "dumb" tags currently in use in warehouse/retail operations. Numerous stories in the High Tech Industry media have pointed out that those tags are not secure, can be "hacked," infected with computer viruses, and cloned. If NAIS is to provide a secure tracking means, then the chips used will have to be secure, and will cost many times the low-ball figures used in Pro-NAIS propaganda.
In short, animal owners will have to pay ALL the costs of NAIS. Those costs will be prohibitive for pet owners, small farmers and ranchers. Pro-NAIS propagandists cite pie-in-the-sky themes of Vets "loaning" equipment to animal owners. Two things are wrong with that: first, vets are in business to make money, and can't afford to be so generous; and secord, the animal/premises owner will have to have a tag reader constantly on hand to meet the record keeping and 24 hour reporting requirements.
"The government will not force domestic cattle producers into NAIS participation. However, global competition will."
Absolutely WRONG! The USDA continually states that NAIS will ultimately be a MANDATORY program for anyone who owns just ONE of the targeted animal species. It is so onerous that the Proposed Rules, which TAHC tried to implement, still require that a Granny Lady, in a 20th floor condominium, register her "premises," and keep it registered ($10 a year) if she owns ONE parakeet, canary, finch, etc., as they are classified as "exotic fowl." Fortunately, outraged citizens have caused TAHC to back off on NAIS rulemaking until 2007.
In the meantime, we are gathering legislators to kill HB1361, which authorized TAHC to implement an animal identification system "consistent with USDA's NAIS." We are also working to destroy TAHC, and incorporate any necessary functions into the Texas Department of Agriculture, where they will be under the direct supervision of an elected official. In the meantime, if private businessmen (producers) want to set up a private beef certification system, they are free to do so. They certainly do not need the heavy hand of the Federal Government to force pet owners and independent producers into their system.
"NAIS promoters sell the tracking system as a means to control contagious bovine diseases before we would destroy large numbers of herds. However, the U.S. cattle industry has controlled every bovine disease it has ever encountered, including mad cow."
Here, your author is correct. We have the safest food in the world. NAIS will not make it safer. For instance, NAIS will not protect us from Mad Cow disease (BSE). BSE is not contagious. Cows get it from eating the infected tissues of sick cows. USDA estimates that there may be seven cows in the U.S., which are currently infected with BSE. That's far less than a drop in the bucket. As we get farther away from old practices of feeding cow parts to cows, BSE should disappear from the U.S. We don't need to surrender our privacy and liberty to corporate agri-business for that to happen. Additionally, Pro-NAIS propagandists tout NAIS as a "miracle cure," which will allow us to control every disease. That is false. Any program intended to control an animal disease must be designed for that specific disease, how it operates, and how it spreads. For instance, West Nile Virus is spread by birds and mosquitoes, not horses. NAIS will control none of those diseases.
"Australia, Argentina, and New Zealand, however, with fully traceable beef, have established a competitive advantage over U.S. producers. That edge is consumer confidence in food safety. We currently import their beef while exporting our own. Without NAIS, U.S. producers would eventually face significant price discounts. The loss of just the $3 billion Japanese market currently costs U.S. producers about $150 per finished cow. Considering the U.S. produced 28 billion pounds of beef last year, the overall economic loss is enormous."
Bovine Excrement! Cattle owners in Australia are outraged. Current estimates by the Australian Beef Association indicates that the actual cost will be at least five times the government's cost estimates from when the program was shoved down their throats. Experience in other countries indicates the costs will be even higher. The same thing will happen here. Technology companies, itching to get control of this market, are vastly underestimating the costs of this program. They are low-balling the numbers now, knowing that they can jack up the costs later on. What's worse, criminally worse, in my opinion, is that the USDA has NEVER done a cost/benefit analysis of the NAIS. At one time, I was essentially the Operations Officer for a DoD program to buy a nationwide computer system. The USDA has failed to meet even the most rudimentary requirements for building such a system. They have not yet even fully defined the user requirements. That's right, NAIS is still just a Concept, waiting to be fleshed out. In the meantime, globalist agribusiness and their bureaucratic lackeys are pushing this thing, full bore. It's sort of like putting the cart before the horse, if anyone at the USDA could grasp such a concept.
"A recent study of sales at the Superior, Arizona, livestock auction proved that pre-conditioned calves command up to a seven percent price premium over unconditioned calves. It also showed that participation in voluntary preconditioning programs increased significantly since 1995, proportional to price premiums."
This just doesn't make sense. The Pro-NAIS propagandists keep telling cattlemen that they will get about seven percent more for their beef, once it is "certified" under NAIS. To justify that claim, they use current market figures, where the small amount of beef that is certified does bring more in certain markets. That's fine for now, when certified beef is scarce. However, what happens when market conditions are reversed? What happens when ALL beef is "certified?" Supply will exceed demand. Prices will drop, because ALL beef is certified. There will be no market advantage. It's just like when a hot new car hits the market. When supply is low, dealers start with the sticker price and add dealer fees far above the base price. However, after a couple of years, when that car floods the market and everybody has one, the dealer sells them below sticker price. It's the simple rules of Supply and Demand in a Free Market. NAIS pipe dreams will not change the basic rules of economics.
"I buy meat at the grocery store. As a consumer, I want to hold producers accountable for what I eat. Certain pesticides on cattle feed can show up in a carcass. The USDA regularly samples for them. If found, there is no accountability from the producer, because the information was lost. The consumer pays the full price. Using the NAIS, Western livestock producers could potentially receive a price premium for pesticide-free, range-raised beef, if carcass results are added to the database."
This very aspect is what is scaring the heck out of many cattlemen. They are afraid that Big Agribusiness will use NAIS to try and shove liability for bad meat back on them. Others maintain that such events will not happen, because there are far too many other places where the animal could become contaminated, after it leaves the ranch where it was born. Whichever you believe, it blows a big hole on the premise of accountability. Instead of NAIS, how about Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for all meat? I sure don't trust those foreign meat producers to protect my health. With all the globalist market integration treaties and agreements, I think my family is at greater risk from third world meat producers than from our over-regulated domestic producers. Additionally, if you want pesticide-free, range-raised beef, why not buy it from a local producer you know and trust, instead of what the Industrial Giants want to sell you? NAIS will wipe out that option for you, as it will drive small producers out of business with the high cost of NAIS. Additionally, NAIS stops at the slaughterhouse. There is nothing in NAIS that will allow traceback from the meat counter in the grocery store. If that is added, the costs to the consumer will increase significantly.
"Speaking of contaminants, many veterinary products injected into cattle have a government-specified "withdrawal period," the number of days mandated to allow a chemical to pass out of an animal's system prior to slaughter. Withdrawal periods span a range from zero to 180 days. The NAIS could hold producers accountable for compliance."
Again, which person in the meat production line are you going to hold responsible for animals that exceed the residuals of the "withdrawal period?" The rancher that produced the calf, the ranch where it became a yearling, or the feed lot owner? To do this, why should I have to register my "premises" and my horse, so you will feel safe eating beef?
"Some NAIS opponents fear the Biblically foretold, "mark of the beast." However, NAIS cannot become a prototype for tracking humans, because we have already been tracked for years. The government requires all new mobile phones to be satellite-traceable. You can even spy on your family through their cell phones. All new automobiles have black boxes to tattle on us, if we cause an accident. When the Sheriff's Office conducts a missing person search, they are notified immediately, if the subject's credit card is used. Do you broadcast your opinion over the Internet? A few years ago, executives at Yahoo tracked down the location of a Chinese dissident, using his Internet records. He was arrested. At this point, NAIS can do little, if any, more damage to our privacy than we already willingly tolerate."
First, NAIS will provide 24 hour reporting of animal owner's movements to the federal government. We will be required to report the movement of our animals, off our premises. Those animals usually won't be traveling alone, we will be traveling with them. Therefore, we will have to report our (owner and animal) movement within 24 hours.
Second, NAIS will be mandatory for everybody. There are many religious sects that believe this government mandated animal numbering system is against their religion, which also requires them to raise their own food. This violates their Freedom of Religion, yet NAIS makes no exceptions for anyone. I recently read that 4-H students in Colorado were required to be fully NAIS-compliant this year. Incrementalism works to destroy our freedom.
Third, this is like saying: "Hey, we should give up on trying to protect our Property Rights and Liberties because the government has already violated those Rights and Liberties." If we are going to accept the author's premise, then why in the world would we waste time with efforts such as People For The West?
Anyone who is interested in more information on NAIS is cordially invited to visit the Liberty Ark Coalition's website, and read the NAIS story. It will send chills through any freedom-loving American. I invite you to join us in the fight against NAIS. Information on what you can do is also at our site.
aka COL George R. Givens,
U.S. Army, Retired
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, any copyrighted work in this message is distributed under fair use without profit or payment for non-profit research and educational purposes only. [Ref. http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml]
A WORD FROM RANDY ON THE 4TH OF JULY:
On this 4th of July weekend, there are a few things we in the fight against the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) might want to remember:
1. Our system of government is based on the writings of JOHN LOCKE, an English philosopher, who wrote that government should be based on the "natural" or "God-given" rights of man. We are born with these rights, they are not "granted" by any government. Included in those rights are: Life, Liberty, and Property. It was Thomas Jefferson who later changed it to "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." He did this to keep slavery out of the discussion on how to establish our government, as slaves were considered "property."
2. When people come together to form a government, the rights are neither surrendered to the government, nor taken away from them by the government.
3. If we allow a government to require us to get a permit to exercise a right, such as own and use Property, we are in effect saying that the government has a right to license that right. Logically, if we allow the government the ability to require us to get a permit to enjoy a right, we are also saying that the government has the power to deny us that license and thereby deny us that which was formerly our "right." We have been enjoying the "right to farm" for about 10,000 years, without being forced to ask the government its permission to do so. I suggest that we should not start doing so now.
4. The 4th of July was the date that representatives of 13 of the British colonies in America signed the Declaration of Indepence, declaring those colonies to be Independent of the rule of the British government. By that Declaration, the Colonies declared themselves to be independent States.
5. Later, it was those 13 independent States which agreed to form a central government and establish the United States. Got that? The STATES established the Federal Government. The Federal Government did not establish the States.
6. Representatives from those independent States later wrote the U.S. Constitution. In that Constitution, later ratified by the States, the States established a LIMITED Federal Government. The Constitution included the provision that only certain powers were granted to the Federal Government, and that any power not specifically granted to the Federal Government, or specifically denied to the states, were reserved to the people of the United States.
7. Nowhere in the Constitution is the Federal Government granted the power to establish a "national herd" as claimed by the USDA. USDA may claim it is only a term, but words have power and meaning. We should not allow the use of the term "national herd," lest it become a reality, as defined by the USDA.
8. Nowhere in the Constitution is the Federal Government granted the power to extract taxes from the citizens of the States, to be used to coerce the States to establish programs to deny us our God-given Rights, or rights reserved to us under the Constitution. That is what the USDA is trying to do, bribe states to establish 50 state Animal Identification Systems, all complying with a yet-to-be finalized National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
9. The Federal Government can establish NAIS only if WE ALLOW IT TO. If we allow it to establish NAIS, we do so at the expense of our God-Given Rights.
10. It is our Duty to fight this unholy assault on our Rights, and those that support it. KILL NAIS NOW!!...and un-elect any politician who supports it.
REMEMBER: WHEN YOU SIT DOWN TO COMPROMISE ON SOMETHING YOU ALREADY OWN (SUCH AS THE RIGHT TO OWN AND USE ANIMALS), YOU LOSE!
Never forget that many suffered and died to guarantee
our rights and our freedom.
NEVER GIVE UP IN THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY, NEVER!!