February 23, 2006

NAIS - your government at work

Jen and I have been following this legislative train-wreck with an increasing sense of dread and frustration. The item is NAIS -- the National Animal Identification System This is supposed to protect us against terrorism and ensure a safe supply of food. In reality, it is a one-size-fits-all piece of legislation that mirrors what the large commercial producers are already doing but also makes it mandatory for the small farmer to follow the same procedures whether these make sense at that scale or not. All premises have to be registered. Your premises can be registered without your knowledge, simply buying a sack of chicken feed will cause an entry in the national database. If you have a vet visit your farm, the veterinarian is obligated to register your premises. Invasion of privacy anyone? Every animal is chipped at the expense of the owner (So you spend $10-$30 to chip a chicken that costs you $1.00 and you plan to eat yourselves...) You need to file a report whenever an animal is born, bought, sold, killed and this is interesting: moved. If you take a doe to a stud to get some nookie, that transaction has to be reported. When you talk with the people promoting this, they are quick to assure you that there will be a different set of rules for small holders whose animals do not enter 'mainstream' food production...


...the text of the legislation is quite different and very draconian with stiff fines for non-compliance. If these people are saying one thing, they should be changing the text on their website to match what they are saying. Here are two excellent websites that explain the problem:

Stop Animal ID.org
One of the other issues is that the States (not wanting to feel left out) are starting to look at legislation of their own. Please, for the sake of the Small American Farmer, spend 30 minutes of your time looking into this and sending an email to your congress-critters. The NoNAIS website has a collection of links under their CONTACTS listing. Tell some friends. American farmers, large and small, only account for about 2% of the USA population but we are the ones who feed everyone. We do not ask for help often but we are now and we can really use it... Thanks! Posted by DaveH at February 23, 2006 9:15 PM | TrackBack