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.
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.