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Sep 5, 2006
The Real Deal: Tagging Terrorist Chickens

Have you heard about the National Animal Identification System ~NAIS? The radio ads feature a 'farmer' telling us how hard it is to make a living farming today - harder than it was for Momma and Daddy. Worse yet, now we've got the risks of all these new diseases. But - golly, golly, gee -- the government is going to help. They've come up with a voluntary program to register our farms and animals to protect us and our animals from diseases. All good Americans will sign up.

Characteristically, the radio propaganda-speak beareth no likeness to the truth. To prove that for yourself, visit www.usda.gov/nais and click on the 'Draft Strategic Plan' on the upper right hand side.

FOOD SECURITY
We all know that there is no pandemic or epidemic now sweeping through the livestock population would demand such drastic measures. If so, government's first act wouldn't be punching an ear tag into every chicken they could catch. Any eighteen-year-old mother who knows hand testing a forehead for fever can tell you that tagging ears to fight disease is ridiculous. No, during epidemics government agents kill the infected animals and all animals in the herd. Then they spread out and test neighbouring herds and destroy those that test positive.

IF THEY'RE NOT FIGHTING DISEASE, THEN WHY NAIS?
Follow the money. Ask, Cui bono? Who benefits?
Agribusiness lobbied the USDA to create a system to protect them from legal liability if an epidemic does break out. More, NAIS would protect agribusiness market share, forestalling a public revulsion against their product by 'confirming' that only a few animals were sick, rather than thousands. NAIS enables huge agribusiness conglomerates that concentrate thousands of animals (and so concentrate the chance for spreading diseases) to point their finger at someone else.
Here's the scenario:
People in Sheboygan get sick from something they ate. It's determined the meat came from a local fast food joint. That fast food joint gets its meat from ABC cow factory. ABC cow factory buys cows from XYZ feedlots. Those feedlots had cows numbered 1q10 through 1q500 in their possession and those cows came from 15 small farms in suburban Tempe. Goodbye 15 small farms in suburban Tempe. Hello scapegoat for fast food joint, slaughterhouse, and feedlots.
To protect themselves these large corporations will effectively put small farmers out of business. Not only the program costs (which fall on the farmer), but also the threat of fines and jail time for not complying will drive small farmers off the land. At the same time, NAIS sets up the same corporations as the only entities granted the `privilege' to raise animals, since they, of course are the only ones who can be trusted to follow such a plan to protect the 'national herd.'

EXEMPTIONS?
But I've just got a few chickens and a horse. Not me, right? Wrong. The NAIS plans provide no exemptions whatever. One chicken, one horse, one cow, one sheep, one goat, one bison, one llama, one alpaca, one turkey, one duck -- all must register, premises & animals.

GOODBYE PROPERTY RIGHTS
The NAIS abolishes private property rights in farms and in animals. The NAIS, run by a branch of the USDA, considers 'your' animals to be not yours, but part of 'the national herd.' Plainly, they are right. If they can force you to register your farm and your animals, you do not own them. They own them because they control them. You are only inventorying property & animals for their true owner, the federal government.

MANDATORY MEANS MANDATORY
The NAIS's schedule fixes January 2008 for 'mandatory' enforcement. Mandatory means 'forced' and 'enforcement' means 'putting into force.' Not of your own free will. The government will fine you, put you in jail, or seize your animals for raising animals without registering them with the government -- 'raising animals without a licence,' I reckon they'll call it. That's right, 6,500 years of historical right will be abolished. From now on, you'll be breaking the law for being a farmer without government permission.


MORE GOOD NEWS

Who will pay for NAIS? You will. It does not favour the small farmer, but corporations with huge budgets. These conglomerates get to write off government registration fees, etc., but the write off means almost nothing to small farmers, who must first come up with the money to comply. The NAIS is free now, but will not be in the future. On their website, the NAIS states, 'Even with public funding, there will be costs to producers.'
By registering with the NAIS you open yourself for future taxes. By registering your car, you pay taxes. By registering yourself as the owner of your home, you pay taxes. By registering yourself with a social security number, you pay taxes. Taxes for being a farmer and taxes on your animals will come, too.

CAN WE DEFEAT NAIS?

You bet. There's still hope.

Dr. Mary Zanoni, a lawyer from New York, has filed official comments with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service~APHIS decrying the NAIS. She has also founded an organisation ­ Farm for Life. In her brilliantly argued statement filed in June 2005, she put this whole scheme in perspective.

'The security of America's food supply and the resilience of livestock in the face of diseases are best served by decentralising and dispersing food production and processing, and breeding and maintaining livestock. If more citizens could depend on food raised and processed within, say, 100 miles of their homes, the danger of large-scale disruptions would be minimised, the costs of transport would be less affected by volatile fuel prices, and any food-borne diseases … would be contained by the system's natural geographic limits. Similarly, if animals, such as cattle, for example, are kept in small herds of, say, ten to a hundred animals, infectious diseases will have much more difficulty in spreading beyond a discrete geographical area.

Contact your state veterinary office and complain.

But first, educate yourself. Go to www.usda.gov/nais. Click on 'Draft Strategic Plan' on the right side of the page under the 'What's New' heading and read the 24 page implementation plan for yourself. (NOTE: A Summary follows in Appendix 2 below.)

-- Justin Sanders

Imported from external blog

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Posted: Sep 5, 2006 3:03pm

 

 
 
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Maureen C.
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