Hmm… What do we have hear? Fox tracks all in a line? A one legged goat? A hermit crab scuttling? What could it be? After you’ve thought about it for a bit leave comments with your ideas… Tune in next time for answers! :)
On a totally different topic, do you know about the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) that the government is working on implementing? NAIS is a system that the USDA is proposing to identify all livestock in the United States and also identify all premises (locations with any livestock). This includes all birds, sheep, cows, pigs, horses, llamas and many other animals. The stated goal is to be able to have 48 hour trace back of all meats from the consumer to the farm where the animal originated incase of illness or contamination. That sounds all well and good except that:
1) They are including livestock sold directly from small farms to the end consumer where there is already 100% track back in much less than 48 hours. If you buy locally from the source you know exactly where your food came from.
2) They are snaring homesteaders by including even livestock you might keep for your own consumption. The government is implementing huge “non-compliance” fines if you don’t report your backyard flock of chickens, your summer feeder pig, your lawn mowing sheep, etc. This will take away your right to raise your own source of eggs, meat and wool.
3) They are including animals that are not in the food supply such as pets like horses, llamas, etc that are not intended for consumption.
Under the plan every single animal must be identified. Any births, deaths and movements on or off the farm will be required to be logged and reported to the government. If you take your sheep to a show you will have to track their location and submit paperwork to the government. If you go for a trail ride with your horse you will have to report that to the government. If your pig has piglets you’ll have to report that and then if some of those piglets die or you eat one you’ll have to report that.
Pretty soon after that the government is going to want to charge a consumption tax every time you eat one of your own animals. After all, unless you buy all your food then you’re not paying sales tax, you’re not helping the Gross Domestic Product grow, you’re not paying your share. You think I’m joking? You are required by law to pay taxes on any barters you do. It is only a tiny step from that law and NAIS to a tax on every chicken, every egg, every pig, every sheep, etc. Then they’ll go for your tomatoes and carrots. (No, I am definitely not paranoid enough.)
All this identification, tattooing, labeling, tagging, micro-chipping, RFID equipment and paper work is going to cost money. Who do you think is going to pay? You! That’s who. NAIS will increase the cost of food both to those who raise it and for consumers at the farmer’s market and at the supermarket. This is going to require more government bureaucracy to manage which will eventually lead to more fees and taxes collected by the government to manage a system tracking your life and making it ever more expensive.
Under the plan the government requires you to track the animal movements as well as your premise location (your home) with GPS and address coordinates. All animal locations and movements must be logged and reported under penalty of confiscation and fines. Furthermore the USDA will not guarantee to keep the information confidential because of the Freedom of Information Act. This means that radical animal rights groups (like E-ll-F and Pee.Ee.Tee.Ah a.k.a. Pet-ah) will be able to find out exactly where you live and precisely what you have for animals. These terrorist groups have already attacked farms and destroyed property killing people and animals. Now they’ll have even more data to use figuring out who to target. Lovely.
Will this give us any better security? No. Almost all of the cases of food born illness and recalls are caused by contamination at the slaughter house, packing plant and further along the chain of supply. Perhaps this sort of thing is a good idea on the large scale producers, the factory farms, the big slaughter houses. It is not needed in our back yards and homesteads. It is not necessary for small farms selling direct to the consumer or other end users. It is certainly beyond reason for non-food pets.
Virtually all of the remaining cases of food born illness like Mad Cow and the like are the product of bad practices like feeding animals back to their own species and over crowding. These are problems that are not related to the small farms, the homesteaders and the backyard flocks. NAIS won’t solve these problems. Furthermore, Mad Cow, to take the government’s favorite scarecrow, is something that takes years to decades to infect. A 48 hour trace back is going to do diddley-squat.
At the very least NAIS should allow exemptions for pets, homesteaders, backyard flocks and small farms that sell direct to the end user. These groups already have better than 48 hour track back and are not the threat. The threat is big agri-businesses, “factory farms” that lock millions of animals in cages and generate ideal conditions for disease to run wild through animals with suppressed immune systems and antibiotics in their feed. These are the corporations that grind up cows and feed them back to the cows. They are the ones that routinely feed antibiotics to their livestock producing new strains of drug resistant super-germs. They are the ones generating enormous mountains of waste and pollution the taints the air and the water. They are the problem. If they are so gung-ho for NAIS then let them implement it for themselves.
NAIS will lead to more centralization of our food supply and bigger government. The big corporations that already control too much of our food supply will control even more of it. More control over the system of production by fewer corporations and individuals is a threat to our nation. This is the last thing we need. What we need is decentralized local production to ensure the safety of our food supply. If all our food comes from a few sources then it is in great danger for everyone. If our food comes from many small localized farms then we have greater national food security. NAIS is exactly the wrong answer.
It is not too late to fight this nonsense. There are several groups* working to fight it. Join with them (Oklahomans Against NAIS, FreeTennesee, StopAnimalID, Americans Against NAIS). Sign the petition against NAIS. Write the USDA. Write your local newspapers. Write your state representatives. Write your congressional critters in the House and Senate. Let them know how you feel about this. If you don’t speak up now you may lose one more right to privacy as big government gets bigger and reaches its hand deeper into your life and your pocket book. NAIS is a big government, big corporation answer to a question they don’t even understand.
*I will keep adding to this contact list as I find more. If you know of things that belong here, email m
NAIS is pronounced Nazi…