October 30, 2006

If Texas can do it, so can we all


Monday, October 30, 2006
Don't mess with Texas! I've said many times since 1999 when I first started CASPIAN that Texans are some of the most ornery, feisty, freedom-loving individuals in the country. And I love 'em to death.

The latest battle to hit Texas involves resistance to a Big Brother scheme to tag, number, and monitor every chicken, cow, and goat in America under the USDA's National Animal Information System (NAIS). The plan involves identifying all premises with livestock and registering them in a federal database. ("The first step in implementing the NAIS is registering each premises in the United States and assigning that location its own unique identification number," is how the USDA puts it.)

When NAIS becomes mandatory, if you own a food animal or a horse you will also be required to number it with an RFID tag or other numbering system and register it with the federal government. Then you'll have just 24 hours to report the birth, death, slaughter, transport, or sale of each and every animal -- or face huge fines.

That's the background, and it looked like the scheme was moving forward in Texas when state legislators agreed to comply last year. But the people who cooked this up didn't count on fierce resistance from Texas ranchers and small farmers. There's been a lot of hollerin' in Texas over this, and yesterday two Texas counties, Bandera County and Blanco County, signed anti-NAIS resolutions. The anti-NAIS farmers even got front page coverage in the Bandera Bulletin newspaper with a headline reading "Ranchers Prepare for a Revolution."

For those wanting more information on NAIS, click the extended entry below for links to the regulations, commentary, groups you can join, and various legislative efforts related to NAIS.

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