February 24, 2006

Light posting again today

Jen and I set the alarm for 5:00am and got up and drove the 200 miles from our farm down to Olympia, Washington (our State Capital) to meet with Representative Kelli Linville regarding the NAIS legislation I mentioned in yesterday's post. We met up with a bunch of other like-minded people, some of whom came in from Eastern WA (a much longer drive) and we set up a table on the Capitol steps from 11:00am to 1:00pm and proceeded to talk with anyone who was interested in what we had to say.

Some people blew us off but if we got someone to come over to see what we were about, we were generally able to get them very interested. There is a large movement in this area for Organic Farming and "Slow Food" and legislation of this sort will make it that much harder for us to provide these to our customers. Plus, the Federal law as written affects anyone with large animals -- horse, llama and alpacca owners included.

At 1:00pm, we met with Representative Linville who reassured us that the WA State legislation is directed only towards Dairy and Beef cattle and there is a built-in cutoff for smaller herds (either 30 or 50 animals -- forget which) where the registration becomes strictly voluntary.

She was happy to meet with us and she then had her aide put us in touch with the assistant to our Federal Congressman who handles Agricultural matters. This made the entire trip worthwhile as getting a foot in the door on the Federal level can sometime take a lot of effort and we had one handed to us on a plate (actually, a page from a green memo pad and a few phone calls but same diff...).

The one thing that was really interesting is that during the two hours we were on the Capitol steps, there were a number of school groups touring the campus. Ages ranged from pre-teen to late High-School. Some of the students were interested, some of the teachers expressed interest but for each group, there was a "minder" that insisted that they have no contact with us and that shepherded them away from our area.

We were well dressed, not rowdy, mostly middle-aged and some with kids. We had a few picket signs but we were holding them quietly. No giant paper mache puppets. No singing Kum-by-ah.

So correct me if I am wrong but these school kids are being brought to the State Capitol to see how WA State is governed and how the legislative process works, but they are being told that contact with one of the more fundamental parts of lawmaking "Ist Verboten!"

I will own up to calling out "Freedom of Speech" and Censorship" and the main URL of NoNAIS.ORG a few times to their backs. So flog me.

Posted by DaveH at February 24, 2006 7:49 PM