As far back as the 1980s, industry groups and technology companies were developing plans for an electronic national animal identification system that was to apply to all species. In 2002, an industry trade group called the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, or NIAA, declared the animal identification was a “problem” and sought the government’s involvement.
Below is a list of government and industry documents, including USDA documents and comments from the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance to various agencies and U.S. Congress. These documents all pertain to the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and Texas Animal Health Commission tagging regulations.
By Shannon Hayes
Ed Note: A shorter version of this article was published by The New York Times on March 11, 2009. Click here to read the Op/Ed at “Tag, You’re It.” Shannon Hayes is the author of The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook and The Farmer and the Grill.
The National Animal Identification System will not protect animals against disease, improve the safety of our food supply, or stop bioterrorism. So why are so many government officials, companies, and associations urging that we adopt this intrusive, burdensome plan as a mandatory program on every person who owns even one livestock animal?
At least part of the answer can be found by looking at who will make a profit.
The government’s proposed National Animal Identification System (“NAIS”) poses numerous problems: massive government intrusion into our lives, unnecessary and burdensome costs, the lack of a real need for such a program, and the fact that tracking does not solve disease issues. Looking more closely just at the last issue, the USDA’s disease control claims rely on the assumption that nationwide tracking is even possible. In truth, the technology is flawed in many ways, ranging from problems with the microchips to problems with the databases.
The NAIS is a “feel good” program that will do virtually nothing to safeguard animal health, its alleged purpose. Rather, NAIS will do all of the following:
The alleged rationale for the NAIS is to protect against animal disease by providing 48-hour traceback of all animal movements. The proponents raise the specter of Mad Cow, foot and mouth, avian flu, and other “foreign animal diseases.” There are many flaws with this rationale.
by Judith McGeary
This article was originally published in the July-October 2006 edition of Small Farm Today.
As people learn more about the National Animal Identification System, or NAIS, some have asked, “What’s so bad about it?” The arguments against NAIS range from philosophical objections about property and privacy rights, to pragmatic concerns about cost and technological problems. Rather than talk about these concerns in the abstract, let’s look at what would happen if NAIS is implemented, some of the day to day realities.
Why NAIS Will Not Prevent “Mad Cow” Burgers
NAIS has been touted as the solution to the Mad Cow problem, with people claiming that “We need tracking to prevent ‘Mad Cow-burgers.’” This mythology gained new force after tests confirmed the presence of Mad Cow disease in a cow in Alabama, as various people asserted that this event showed the need for a national animal identification system.
But like many mythologies, this one is based on fear and a lack of understanding of the facts. NAIS is neither needed, nor even useful, for addressing concerns about Mad Cow disease.
by Judith McGeary
This article was originally published in the December/January 2006 issue of Countryside magazine.
Countryside readers are by now familiar with the National Animal Identification System, or NAIS. Most people who own livestock animals are opposed to the NAIS as soon as they hear what it would be require, but others often ask, “What’s so bad about it?” If we are to succeed in stopping NAIS, then the majority of Americans – who rarely see, much less own, livestock animals – must understand the issue.