Press Release: USDA and Corporate Agribusiness Continue to Push Animal ID Scheme

USDA and Corporate Agribusiness Continue to Push Animal ID Scheme

Consumers and Independent Producers Lose if Big Ag Wins on Animal Tracking

 

WASHINGTON, DC (August 9, 2011): The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released a new proposed rule for mandatory animal traceability. While USDA already has traceability requirements as part of existing animal disease control programs, the proposed rule goes much further to require animal tagging and tracing without specific disease threats. The rule has raised significant concerns among family farm and ranch advocates, who accuse the agency of failing to provide a coherent, factual explanation of the program’s necessity.

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Animal ID Update

A year ago, USDA announced that it was dropping its plans for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), and that it would instead develop a new framework for tracking animals that move across state lines. At the same time, the USDA also announced that it would form a new “Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health.”

Read the Official Advisory submitted by the USDA Secretary’’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health (SACAH) after the public meeting held on March 4, 2011.

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Official Advisory: USDA Secretary’’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health (SACAH)

Preamble

As the proposed rule on animal disease traceability (ADT) makes its way through the Department’’s regulatory clearance, SACAH appreciates the opportunity to consider various aspects of ADT and advance recommendations. The Committee focused most of its second public meeting (March 4, 2011) on addressing any primary concerns expressed by agricultural stakeholders who would be affected by the rule. The Committee identified and discussed nine areas of concern:

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Animal ID Update: USDA Plans to Propose New Rules

A year ago, USDA announced that it was dropping its plans for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), and that it would instead develop a new framework for tracking animals that move across state lines. At the same time, the USDA also announced that it would form a new “Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health.”

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USDA Advisory Committee on Animal Health Appointed

When USDA announced that it was withdrawing its plans for the National Animal Identification system (NAIS), Secretary Vilsack also stated his intention to establish an Advisory Committee on Animal Health to provide input on animal ID and other topics. A coalition of organizations nominated eight individuals to the Committee, and three of our nominees have been selected to serve on the Committee:

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FARFA Submits Comments to USDA on Animal Traceability Framework

The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) submits these comments on the USDA’s Animal Disease Traceability Framework. FARFA is a non-profit organization headquartered in Cameron, Texas, with members in 45 states. FARFA advocates for farmers, ranchers, and homesteaders through public education and lobbying to assure their independence in the production and marketing of their food, and to prevent the imposition of unnecessary regulatory burdens that are not in the public interest. 

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USDA Public Meetings on Animal Traceability

As of July, USDA has held five public meetings on its new animal traceability framework. These meetings are much more controlled and government-dominated than last year’s listening sessions on NAIS. The agenda for each of these sessions calls for questions to be answered only at the end of the meeting, after the participants are broken out into tables to provide input.

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Letter to USDA and Regulatory Working Group Regarding Animal Traceability Framework

The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture
The Honorable Edward Avalos, Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs and Veterinary Services
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Sent via U.S. Mail and facsimile: 202-720-6314 and 202-720-5775

Dear Secretary Vilsack and Under-Secretary Avalos:

The undersigned groups represent farmers, ranchers, homesteaders, and consumers who have an interest in the issue of animal identification and traceability. We applaud your decision to drop the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Thank you for holding the listening sessions and for recognizing that the NAIS was an unworkable plan.

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FARFA Applauds USDA’s Decision to Drop NAIS

February 8, 2010

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20250

Sent via facsimile and U.S. Mail: 202-720-6314

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

The Farm and Ranch Alliance applauds your decision to abandon the plans for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Our members, along with thousands of other citizens, have repeatedly argued that NAIS is an ill-conceived and unnecessary program that would benefit a handful of large companies at the expense of both farmers and consumers. We have also urged that USDA make inspection of imports a higher priority as part of its disease control efforts.

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