March 25, 2006

Animal ID - Abuse of Government Power

Next week VPR's Switchboard will do a show on National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and what it means for Vermont farmers.This link will let you check the schedule because they haven't posted the date yet.

The House Ag committee met 22 March with Steve Kerr (Former CEO of Holstein USA), Secr'y of Agriculture, to listen to his half truths, er, presentation about animal identification in Vermont. On 3 March, Dr. Kerry Rood, State Vet, and Carl Cushing, from AOA, met with the Senate Ag committee to spin those same half truths for the first time. I was there. It was wonderful to see Rood and Cushing get all red faced and fidgety when light was shined under their dark basket of deception.

If you hear a representative of the Agency of Agriculture talk about "premises ID", remember that they have already received $100,000 (FY 05) as an un-earmarked gift from the USDA and another $114,000 (FY 06) as a grant to begin premises ID, which they put into a computer system. Both dollar amounts by-passed the usual Ways and Means Committee review. If they took the money, they are beholden to the USDA and it's agri-conglomerate buddies. Vermont's state government can vote this away, though, so take heart. Maine and Tennessee are in the process of drafting legislation that will stop animal id from ruining their economies.

If you are unfamiliar with NAIS what is basically means is this: 1) premises ID with a GPS reading on your property even if you have only one chicken; 2) individual animal ID ear tags or RFID chips even if you only have one horse or cow or sheep or pig (the big feedlots with 30,000 animals get the luxury of just one identification number); 3) tracking of animal movements. That last means that if your chickens cross the road, you go for a trail ride, or your sheep jump the fence, you will be required to report within 24 hours the movement of the animal(s) or be fined a $1,000 a day for non-compliance. Oh, and it costs to access the data base to make the report. By all accounts, this means, for a typical cow, a cost of $64 per year to "cooperate" with the system. $64 is about the profit on a cow.

Watch how Steve Kerr (Former CEO of Holstein USA) has already started to put the spin/scare on Avian Flu and cement it to animal ID. If that worst case scenario happens to come to pass, no tag in the world is going to stop the outbreak. Good animal husbandry will. The USDA has said that there is no more need for BSE testing. FMD hasn't been around for 70 years. Scrappie is not transmittable to humans. If they would stop feeding cow parts back to cows BSE would go away all together.

To read more about NAIS and what it means to the Buy Local movement and economy in Vermont I invite you to visit

I am holding all candidates feet to the fire on this issue alone, you know why? As they pontificate on what they are going to do for us with health care and such, they are missing the big picture. If NAIS goes through many, many of the small farmers, not wanting such government intrusion (who would?) will bail and we will be left with a weaker economy than we have now.

If you, dear reader, don't have any livestock or horses, you might ask, "What's the fuss? NAIS isn't going to affect me." Let me point out some things. If all the food comes from conglomerate agri-business, who already doesn't care what you eat, how much worse will it be when they own the whole of the food chain? Higher prices, that's for sure. Vegetarian? Oh well, where do you think the organic manure that fertilizes those crops come from. Less farmers, less organic matter. The organic standards have already been diluted by Monsanto who got the FDA to give them "organic" status on a promise of future compliance. So, unless you buy organic from a local guy, you cannot be assured that organic is really organic. It's like the 0 grams of Trans Fats on labeling these days. That, in case you didn't know, is another bald faced lie... products are allowed now, with the new FDA labeling lies, er, laws, to contain 2.2 grams of partially hydrogenated oil and call it 0. It must be that new math!

Seriously, you must begin your education about NAIS. Start here: or here Google up National Animal Identification and Monsanto

Then go Tell-10-a-Day! Our very way of life depends on it.

Hen....they are not going to leg band me.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:51 PM

    Hello. Can you please tell me what has occurred since the VT legislature took up the NAIS issue?

    My name is Carrie Stadheim and I work for the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association. We are also fighting the NAIS.

    Please e-mail me if possible:

    Thank you!



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