Saturday, June 20, 2009

The people make themselves heard against NAIS

By Henry Lamb
USDA: Can you hear me now?
Posted: June 20, 20091:00 am EasternĀ© 2009
For the last several weeks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been conducting "listening sessions" in a dozen cities across the country. The purpose of these sessions was to find ways to make the proposed
National Animal Identification System acceptable to the people who own livestock.
NAIS, as the program is widely known, was announced in 2005. The announced schedule required all livestock owners to register their premises with the USDA before 2007; tag every livestock animal with an electronic tag (or implant) by 2008; and, by January 2009, report within 24 hours, to the federal
government, every time a tagged animal moved off the birth premises. Within a year, it was clear that the people were simply not going to comply, so, in 2006, the USDA announced that the program would, henceforth, be voluntary.
As of January 2009, USDA reported that only about 35 percent of livestock owners have registered their premises. But this number is measured against those premises where at least $1,000
is reported from farm activities. It does not include the hundreds of thousands of small family operations that house a few chickens, a cow, hog, goat, sheep, or any of the 29 species named in the NAIS. When these people are considered, an incredibly small percentage of the people affected by the program have registered.
The listening sessions were designed to force animal owners to listen to a one-hour
presentation about the benefits of NAIS. Then, two hours were to be devoted to three-minute speeches from attendees whose tickets were drawn at random. Then, after a lunch break, attendees were to be divided into groups where a trained facilitator was supposed to develop "consensus" around seven specific questions.
Whatever happened to states rights, limited government and natural law? Find out in Judge Napolitano's "The Constitution in Exile"
The best-laid plans of mice and the USDA often go awry. The people were having none of it. After the first
in Pennsylvania, the opening presentation was forgotten. The people wanted to speak, and speak they did. In South Dakota, hundreds of people showed up. Of those chosen to speak, the people who supported NAIS could be counted on one hand; all the rest spoke strongly against the program. Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF-USA told the USDA that the NAIS "is the culmination of over 10 years of aggressive efforts by the USDA to destroy the very foundation of U.S. livestock."

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Anonymous WL said...

Thanks for keeping us updated - you know you're becoming my number one news source since TV went digital!
I actually sent out some letters to our reps after reading your posts on HR 875 and Senate Bill 425, and am planning to do the same with the NAIS. Not exactly a revolution, but who knows, it may be helpful.

7:20 AM  
Blogger RL said...

That's great! We need to let them know what we think! Also we need change that starts from the bottom up, not the top down. So good for you!

Thanks for the comment.

11:24 PM  
Anonymous WL said...

Russ's reply seems like the usual double-talk, on the one hand he says, "I have...heard concerns from some Wisconsinites that these bills would eliminate organic food and regulate personal gardens. I will keep these concerns in mind should these or similar bills come before the full Senate."

But he goes on to say that he is "...encouraged that the Obama Administration has indicated strong support for improving our country's food safety and inspection system" and that he looks forward to working with him. Really no surprise, I guess. The full reply is posted at my blog.

10:05 AM  
Blogger RL said...

Someone thought WL was talking about me in the above comment. The "Russ" WL referred to is Senator Russ Feingold of WI who replied to a letter WL sent him. Go to for the full correspondence.


Yes that is a typical response. I have written letters in the past and that is exactly the same kind of mish mash I have received in reply as well. Don't be discouraged.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous WL said...

My apologies, I should have specified "Senator Russ Feingold"!

5:10 PM  

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