Press Release: Big Brother Wants to Know If You Own Animals

Judith McGeary,


Big Brother Wants to Know If You Own Animals

May 15, 2006 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture continues to press forward with a plan that will invade the privacy of every person who owns animals. Under its plan for the National Animal Identification System (“NAIS”), private citizens would have to register their homes with the government, provide detailed information on their animals, and report almost every move. USDA developed this program at the request of large corporate interests, without properly informing or involving the affected public.

If a person’s property contains even one chicken, horse, cow, goat, sheep, pig, or any other animal designated as “livestock,” that person would have to register with the government and be assigned a 7-digit number tied to global positioning satellite coordinates. Whenever an animal left the premises at which it was born, it would have to be identified with a 15-digit number and physically tagged, in most cases with a Radio Frequency Identification Device. Any “event” in the animal’s life would then have to be reported, within 24 hours, including tagging, moving on or off the premises, and slaughter.

Judith McGeary, a Texas attorney, describes the program as “one of the most far-reaching acts of surveillance of the most wholesome activities of U.S. citizens. Children in 4H with pet goats, senior citizens raising food for themselves, friends going on trail rides, would all be forced to endure warrantless government surveillance.”

The alleged justification for the program is the control of disease. Yet Ron Freeman, a fifth-generation cattleman, argues “there are already adequate animal identification and tracking systems in place. NAIS will not prevent or control disease. Instead, it will allow the government and big business to control our food supply and intrude into the lives of every farmer and rancher.”

The premise underlying NAIS – that the government is entitled to require people to register with the government and report their movements simply to conduct traditional activities, such as raising livestock – is a threat to the personal privacy and liberty of every American.

The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance ( is dedicated to protecting the rights of farmers and ranchers against unnecessary and burdensome government regulation.