Monday, March 2, 2009

Speak Out Against NAIS

I posted this article, in it's entirety, from "Mother Earth News" written by the person credited below. I felt that this is important to all who raise their own animals or eat food raised by small farmers/homesteaders and want the freedom to maintain that relationship. There is a congressional hearing scheduled for March 11 on this subject. This leaves not a lot of time to contact the people on the sub committee. I will post their names in another post as it is quite long. Please read this and if you feel it is important to you and your future as a farmer or consumer, contact your state and federal officials. Look here, tomorrow, for that list. Thanks.

By Judith McGeary

Animal owners, consumers and taxpayers: NAIS ALERT! Protect your right to farm and to eat local food. Speak out against the National Animal Identification System!
The USDA has proposed a rule to require all farms and ranches where animals are raised to be registered in a federal database under the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) for existing disease control programs. The draft rule covers programs for cattle, sheep, goats and swine. It also sets the stage for the entire NAIS program to be mandated for everyone, including anyone who owns even one livestock animal (for example, a single chicken or a horse). Learn more about the legislation in The Truth About the Animal ID Plan.
It's critical that the USDA and Congress hear from the hundreds of thousands of people who will be adversely affected by the NAIS program. This includes not only animal owners, but also consumers who care about local and sustainable foods, taxpayers who object to wasteful government programs and advocates for a safer food system.
STEP 1: Submit comments to USDA online or by mail. The comments must be received by the USDA by March 16, 2009.
Submit comments on the federal regulations website (click on the yellow balloon under "add comments").
Or mail two copies of your comments to the USDA at the address below. Clearly state that your comments refer to Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096. (See the sample comments at the end of this post.)
Docket No. APHIS-2007-0096Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHISStation 3A-03.84700 River Road Unit 118Riverdale, MD 20737-1238
STEP 2: Send a copy of your comments to your representative and senators.
You can find who represents you and their contact information at
The USDA has been working for over five years to force NAIS onto American animal owners. NAIS is designed to identify and track each and every individual livestock and poultry animal owned by family farmers, hobby farmers, homesteaders and pet owners across the country.
The USDA claims that NAIS is a disease tracking program, but has refused to provide any support for its claims. In reality, NAIS will:
Replace states' existing, well-functioning disease response and brand inspection programs with an untested, expensive and unreliable system
Impose high costs and government surveillance on every farmer and animal owner for no significant benefits, and will likely force many small producers out of business
NAIS does nothing to improve food safety for consumers or prevent animal diseases. This program is a one-size-fits-all program developed by and for big Agribusiness. NAIS will increase consolidation of our food supply in the hands of a few large companies and put the brakes on the growing movement toward local food systems with its high costs.
Despite promises to the contrary, the USDA's new proposed rule would make portions of the system mandatory for thousands of people in every state. Anyone who participates in federal disease control program for cattle, sheep, goats or swine will have their premises registered. The NAIS Premises Identification Number (PIN) will become the only form of premises identification acceptable for USDA animal health purposes, with no opt-out provision.
The proposed rule would also limit official Animal Identification Numbers to the NAIS-compliant 840-numbering system, laying the groundwork for future regulations that would limit the types of tags that can be used.
The proposed rule is not final yet. You can help stop NAIS by visiting the Federal Registry and making a comment. Visit their website and click on the yellow balloon under "add comments." And don't forget to send a copy of your comments to your elected officials, letting them know how you feel about NAIS.
The grassroots movement has already successfully stalled the USDA's plans for NAIS, which originally called for the entire program - premises registration, animal identification and tracking - to be mandatory by January 2009. The proposed rule is an opportunity to get thousands of objections in the formal record, and have an even greater impact. It is imperative that people speak up to protect our right to farm and our food supply!
Go to or contact Judith McGeary, (512) 243-9404 or
Read more about NAIS and how it will affect small scale and sustainable farms in The Truth About the Animal ID Plan.

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