February 9, 2008

Two articles spinning the lies of USDA and Bruce Knight

The first article is Buckeye Ag Radio. Click through the link to read good ol' Andy's comments, including a gloat, "Bruce answered my questions."

I'm Worried About Colorado

As if it wasn't enough that the Colorado Pork Producers Council decided to "unilaterally disarm" on the subject of using gestation stalls, now the state legislature is getting in the mud on National Animal ID. This story goes back to last year's Colorado State Fair, where some students were disqualified for not obeying expo rules regarding having their premises registered. So here's my concern: I'm not necessarily of the opinion that requiring Freddy 4-Her to register his premises as a prerequisite to showing is a good idea, but regardless, if that's the rule, that's the rule. There are a number of rules that you or I may or may not agree with, understand, or like in general, but the rule is the rule is the rule. To whit, the State Fair officials simply followed through on what should have been an implied and understood promise that the students would be disqualified if they did not comply.

Here's my even bigger concern, however: in the reporting on this issue, the headline is never about State Fair Officials enforcing policy. Instead, the mostly misinformed journalists twist the story into the evil monolithic National Animal ID System "heavy-handed bullying... the kids." Regardless of what happens in the actual case in point, the overall situation is a public relations nightmare for Animal ID, which, I should remind everyone, is voluntary and only premises, not individual animal, registration. I just have to wonder what's in the water out there, and where the common-sense producers are to stand up and tell the story... correctly. [View the comments here.]

The second article is from Capital Press.

USDA Undersecretary Bruce Knight makes a case for premises registration and animal identification during a session at the 2008 Cattle Industry Convention in Reno.

[Nice picture of Bruce Knight, huh? It surely makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. - Hen]

Animal ID and premises registration stressed at cattle meeting

Bob Krauter
Capital Press

RENO, Nev. - Cattle industry leaders and a top USDA official made a strong case for premises registration and animal identification at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association 2008 convention here on Thursday. Citing the need to protect the nation's cattle herd against catastrophic foreign animal diseases and to promote U.S. beef in overseas markets, several speakers drove home the need for traceability.

Bruce Knight, undersecretary of USDA's marketing and regulatory programs, laid out reasons why animal identification and premises registration are critical. An outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the United Kingdom last year, he said, was quickly contained because they had an animal ID system in place.

The United States, Knight said, is lagging behind other countries in being able to quickly trace the origin of animals in the event of a catastrophic disease outbreak like foot and mouth disease. After trying a run at a mandatory livestock ID system in 2003, federal officials acquiesced to a voluntary program that exists today.

Read the rest of it here.

1 comment:

  1. Hello there. Thanks for posting comments on my blog concerning animal ID. I'll be the first to admit that there are problems with the NAIS right now. There are too many small farmers who do not have the tools or funding to implement an animal ID system in their operations, and we all know in order to make any system work it must be consistent across the board - small and large producers alike have to follow the same guidelines. That is tough on the small "hobby" farmer.

    I will tell you that my family has a beef cattle farm, with a few pigs and sheep on the side. We have not registered our premises to date with the government, and to be honest, we may not do so unless it becomes mandatory. But I still recognize that no matter how small my family farm is, we still contribute a minute portion of meat into the food supply. No matter how small we are, we still depend on the markets for our family operation to survive.

    What struck me at the news conference with Bruce Knight (yes, I was there), was the panel discussion on how other countries we export to (Japan, Canada, South Korea--on again, off again of course) are implementing traceabililty in all livestock to birth, and they have the power to ask countries they import from to have a similar program. It is happening this year! Those markets are huge to the U.S., especially in the meat industry, and if the U.S. is pressured, it might make the NAIS mandatory.

    I do not want to see this go mandatory. Many cattlemen in my state and nationwide want the NAIS to remain voluntary, and really, it has to. We can't pressure folks into jumping on the NAIS bandwagon, but there are programs out there that give incentives to those who want to benefit from raising traceable livestock (premiums at livestock markets for traceable calves, etc.). The NAIS must remain voluntary in order for producers to earn the premiums, not others down the production line.

    Those are just my thoughts on the issue. I am a student, but I am an educated person in agriculture...I've grown up with it my entire life. I will support voluntary premises registration and the a person's right to raise healthy livestock freely.


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