Posted on Freedom Advocates on February 26th 2010
By [post_author] – On February 10, 2010 USDA announced that it will revise the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) policy and offer a new approach to achieving animal disease traceability.
The new policy:
- Drops the title NAIS and is called the “Federal Animal Disease Traceability System.”
- Changes the title for premise registration to unique location identifier.
- Will include all producers whose animals move in interstate commerce crossing state lines.
- Provides for an end run to get around state laws prohibiting forced NAIS premise registration pointing out, “This is not NAIS.”
USDA concedes in their fact sheet that they were forced to once again alter their animal identification proposal due to the opposition of the American public, and that after five years they had achieved only one third of their goal of premise registrations and were slipping years behind their deadlines. However, this is not the first time USDA has revised their wording and reshuffled the deck to get the public to register their premises and their animals with them.
While some concessions to public opinion have been recognized in the new proposal, they make it crystal clear that they intend to enforce an animal identification program affecting all animals that cross state lines. They give no listing of species affected other than “all.” They say that the details of how to meet their criteria can be worked out by the states but USDA standards must be met in order for a state`s animals to be moved across state lines. This approach is not new as USDA has been saying all along that they would enforce animal ID compliance through commerce and they are playing that as their trump card.
USDA is telling the states to “handle ID however you want but before you can move your animals across state lines you are going to do as we say.”
They intend to keep parts of the NAIS program in play such as not releasing those who registered their premises and continuing use of the official NAIS identification tags which begin with the number 840 as well as premise registrations under a new name. They contend that too many tax payer dollars have already been invested in NAIS to scrap all aspects and they plan to use money already allocated for NAIS in the new plan. They are also aware that their cohorts such as the tag manufactures have investments in NAIS which they must protect.
The new approach hopes to remove one block of opposition as they exclude animals that will not enter interstate commerce. They say animals kept within the state will not be included in the ID program. However, keep in mind that the “commerce clause” which has ruled the land since the 1940`s says that even if a product is not sold interstate it has an effect on commerce by virtue of it not being sold. So proceed with caution. There could be a big bump in the road.
This fact sheet states over and over that the details of the program will be worked out with the states, industry and even mentions producers and organic and small farmers as being given a voice. But at the same time they point out many times in no uncertain terms some of the things the framework will include. One has to wonder how much of this is already entrenched in their plans just as the original NAIS plans were before that plan was launched. We hope they really are going to listen to the citizens this time around. We do have their attention and have caused them to have to lick their calf over. But they have left a trail of deceit and distrust so we look at this new approach with skepticism at best.
My wife asks why I cannot find something good to say, so I will. I commend USDA for repeating and making clear that the ID program is not a food safety program as many politicians and uninformed proponents have stated. Both the former version and the present one deal with animal health only and ends with the life of the animal. Period.
This whole episode proves that the citizens are still in charge if they will stand on their hind legs and put out the effort to be heard and reckoned with. This particular issue is far from settled as the bureaucrats and their allies will keep trying to have their way with our property and our lives. But they can win only if we let them.
NAIS Renamed Federal Animal Disease Traceability System by C. Russell Wood, President, Ozarks Property Rights Congress
NAIS is Not Dead, Just Renamed by Carolin Burch
The Global Safety Cult and the Abolition of Private Property by William Roberts
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