I want to tell you how I found out about NAIS in the hope that you will see how disturbing this is and why we have to fight it with everything we have. In July of 2005, I went to a meeting at the Ava Missouri Sale Barn regarding a new electronic cattle identification program that was to be mandatory in January of 2006 in order to sell cattle in the State of Missouri. Yes, January of 2006. Dr Taylor Woods, a member of the NAIS Subcommittee, was the one speaking. He never said what the name of the program was, nor offered any website where one could go for information. I asked a couple of questions and then made a statement. That statement was, "It sounds like you just want to have complete control of the food supply." Dr Woods replied, "We already do." It is a frightening prospect to consider any group of men in complete control of the food supply, much less a bunch of people who fear microbes. Needless to say, much of what Dr Woods stated was not entirely true. We would not be required to electronically identify our cattle to be able to sell them in January of 2006, and it wasn't really a done deal except in the minds of bureaucrats who hate the fact that we still have this irritating thing called the United States Constitution that needs to at least be given lip service from time to time or chance a full scale revolt.
Then, in late November of 2005 I went into a local feed store, MFA, and was greeted by a flame orange sign on the counter saying "Due to the Bioterrorism Act We must have your name, address and phone number to sell you feed". As creepy as that is, I now had a starting place. In a short amount of time I found myself with the name of the program Dr Woods was talking about, which was indeed the National Animal Identification System, and a whole lot of information on the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, which is basically NAIS for food and feed up to the final consumer. Incidentally, the Bioterrorism Act passed as part of the 2002 Farm Bill, which included the Animal Health Protection Act (the USDA claims AHPA as their authorizing legislation for NAIS) introduced by none other than current Ag Chair Senator Harkin of Iowa. This same man has now introduced the first probable statutory reference to NAIS in the 2007 Farm Bill. Is this a coincidence? Not likely.
The USDA recently released new documents that will make NAIS next to impossible to fight without going on the offensive and filing suit against the Federal government. The USDA states in their Business Plan that in a scant few weeks (February 2008) they will issue a proposed rule to roll all breed registry identification into NAIS. They will also issue rules to roll all disease control programs into NAIS compliant identification standards. Brucellosis, Tuberculosis, Coggin's and Pseudorabies will magically roll right in through the rulemaking process. NPIP for poultry will just roll on in. Scrapies for sheep and goats will simply be turned in to NAIS premise ID without the knowledge or even consent of participants in this program. Certificates of health to move animals across state lines, or even within the state will be rolled in as well. If you get the idea that NAIS is like a bulldozer on steroids, you'd be about right. Remember that NAIS is a three part program with it's foundation being premise identification. You must have a premise id to get an animal id, and you must have premise id and animal id to have animal tracking.
The USDA is busily making Cooperative Agreements with all states and tribes and any non profit organization that will stick it's hand out for the taxpayer money to encourage and probably require their members to enroll in premise id and animal id in order to reap the benefits of membership in those organizations. The states are to help make NAIS compulsory in order to engage in commerce under these contracts. There is an exception allowed for individual animal identification… If you never move an animal off your property other than directly to slaughter it will not require an NAIS animal id, but there is no exception mentioned or alluded to for premise id under USDA's plan.
Meanwhile, our federal level legislators blithely reiterate to us "NAIS is voluntary at the Federal level" and say that they are doing so well because they cut the budget for NAIS. Well, the infrastructure has already been laid, folks. Unless you specifically stop NAIS via statute or a moratorium, it's going to roll over all of our rights through all disease control programs! Why do you refuse to uphold your oath of office? You didn't take an oath to pervert "general welfare" for the benefit of corporations and bureaucrats, did you? Did our forefathers bleed and die so that an agency could require birth certificates on chickens?
Many people seem to have a very difficult time understanding that NAIS is and always has been 48-hour traceback on all livestock. If you want 48-hour traceback, you must have 24 hour reporting of movements. NAIS is not a marketing program; it is being brought to bear at the point of market. NAIS cannot, by very definition, be a voluntary program. The USDA is holding states hostage at the point of interstate commerce by attaching NAIS premise id, and animal id to health certificates and disease control programs. To up the ante even further, they are buying the participation of feedlots, breed organizations, farm groups, youth groups and processors. To move across state lines, or in many cases, even within that state, you will need to be in NAIS. How can that be voluntary?
NAIS opposition has been fairly effective fighting this on a state by state level in a disorganized and haphazard fashion. The original plans called for mandatory in January of 2008 and mandatory with enforcement of all aspects in January of 2009. We've pushed the USDA back, and sideways, but we have not stopped them because the people in positions of power have not had the will to take on the fight.
The anti-NAIS movement has had a grand total of one case filed; and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture backed off just because of the filing. Why are all the attorneys who have stepped into this battle against NAIS not going after the federal government for an injunction or more? The entire program is patently and assuredly un-Constitutional. The USDA is trying to shift all lawsuits to the states by saying "NAIS is voluntary at the federal level" while they push the states into full implementation through perverting the Interstate Commerce Clause.
Certainly, if we still have a Constitution, we can win on simply the religious objection alone. But our arguments go further than even the First amendment. We also have the 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th, 13th and 14th amendments that are being violated with NAIS. There are issues of unfair competition that will need to be addressed, as well as real estate effects of this program. Why can't we get on the offensive and file suit? We have harm in many of those who were rolled in, or coerced into the program, and they are not all Amish who won't file suits.
We have the Alliance Defense Fund who won the case without even going to court in PA, and the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, who have taken on Greg Niewendorp's case in Michigan, the Center for Law and Religious Freedom involved in Wisconsin where the Amish have been assigned PIN's without their consent; they have all broken their teeth on NAIS. We have several individual attorneys who are well researched on the subject, and still, no filing on the federal level to stop the USDA from shoving this down our throats. The states of Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin already have mandatory NAIS to a large degree. With the myriad of roll ins (Massachusetts, Idaho, Colorado Fairs, Illinois fairs, North Carolina Fairs and hay, Tennessee hay share, NY calf hood vaccination, Pennsylvania any farm programs, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, etc.) without proper authorization, there is no doubt where this is going. And it doesn't take a degree to see it.
While I readily concede that suing the USDA is not something to be done on a whim, surely if some of these learned individuals could get together and keep their egos out of the way we could find someone with the proper experience and expertise to bring suit against the USDA and get it stopped before we have to fight every single rule they promulgate related to NAIS for every one of the species covered under the program.
This is a plea from one who knows without a doubt that if this program is not stopped that there will be bloodshed…and not just the blood of animals. I am fully committed to doing everything within my power to stop this before it comes to that point. Please, please, stop playing politics and start filing before we have a complete disaster on our hands.
And to the unwashed masses, people like me that is, we cannot and must not fail to call our representatives on a regular basis and let them know we expect them to uphold the Constitution and the principles of freedom we have been endowed with. When we get a federal suit filed, we will need to reach into our wallets and support the one bringing the suit. When we get meaningful legislation to stop this, we must rally support for those pushing for us. It is going to take every one of us in whatever capacity we have to get this thing stopped. Don't wait for someone else to do it, or it won't get done. Your freedom is your responsibility. We have a gigantic secret weapon… there are way more of "us" than "them", and we're right!