As a whole Not Dabbling In Normal tries to stay away from all political and religious topics. However, there is one controversial topic we all decided we could break the “no writing about rules” for and that is NAIS. The National Animal Identification System. Below is a message that has come into my email from Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. Many of you probably know of NAIS and some of you, like me, will be immediately affected by it in the unfortunate event that NAIS becomes a reality. But even if you don’t own (and maybe never will own) livestock everyone will be affected by NAIS. Whether through bad policy, tax money or the opening the “door” of government monitoring of what we own (very communistic isn’t it??) we all stand to lose. This is in, its most insidious form, just government intrusion. In more optimistic terms it is nothing more than taxpayer welfare for corporations that don’t need it AND a worthless “device” to try and improve and protect our food supply—which unfortunately doesn’t look to me and many others as if it will work. Only those who will gain financially seem to think it will work and they some how have convinced our government officials of it (wonder how don’t you?!)
Hopefully all of you have contacted your representatives to tell them you disagree with NAIS and are against this government flim flam. Whether you did it by email (good), handwritten letter (better) or phone call (best) —we need to speak out and stop this travesty. And we need to do it more than once. Obviously we may need to do it 10 or 20 or even 30 or more times!
I will admit there are times I get tired of expressing my opinion to my representatives about this. Especially since mine seem to be very …ummmm…..unaware? Maybe gaining money from those who will benefit most so there for ignoring their voters who understand this topic (very few unfortunately)?? Whatever the reason there are times when the thought of typing, writing or calling one more time just makes me want to ….well…quit. But I don’t. And I never have believed in giving up— though sometimes I may falter. Hopefully you all will decide that you can give just a bit more time to try and defeat….once and for all…this stupid stupid plan.
If you have never contacted your representative before or written someone like Mr. Vilsack (see below) it is very easy. Just be polite (Dear Agricultural Secretary Vilsack)….to the point ( I completely disagree with NAIS with maybe a reason or two or three why) and sign with your name. If you like you can add your contact information (just your mailing info. only will do). The addition of a polite little sincerely down there works nicely too…and Voila! you are done.
If you want to call it doesn’t have to be an intensive interface unless you specifically ask for the assistant handling a particularly issue. You can just tell the person that answers “Please tell (fill in the name) that I disagree with NAIS and do not want the government to enact it in any way”. If you are more comfortable with the topic you can ask for the assistant who is handling it and discuss it with them. Hopefully you may even teach them a thing or two
However we contact them it is imperative to do so. And so as a small livestock owner I say in advance “Super Duper THANKS for your help!!”
Have a great week all and don’t forget to send your emails! (more information about Nais and its impact on individual producers is available at the organic consumers
Forward from Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance:
Last week, Secretary Vilsack held a round table in DC, inviting 29 organizations to present their views on the NAIS. More than a third of the organizations at the meeting opposed a mandatory program, showing a growing trend among a wide range of organizations to question NAIS. But some of those who claim to support a “voluntary” program agree with the use of coercive tactics, which we have already seen happen under the current so-called voluntary program. And multiple Big AG organizations, who have a lot of influence with USDA and Congress, still openly support a mandatory NAIS. So we have a tough fight in front of us.
At the round table, I opened FARFA’s comments by placing the issues in context: “Traceability is not a goal in and of itself. Animal health, food security, and food safety are the goals, and traceability is just one tool. NAIS will not get us to these goals.” My statement on behalf of FARFA focused on key points, such as:
- The lack of scientific support for the design of NAIS, from the 48-hour “goal” to the supposed need to trace every movement of every animal
- The critical differences between factory farms and small farms in animal management and, as a result, animal health and susceptibility to disease
- Food safety calls for “factory to fork” traceability, NOT “farm to fork”
- The importance of decentralizing our food supply. NAIS tries to substitute high tech solutions for the inherent safety that comes from diversity
- The real push behind NAIS – profits. For example, IBM recently took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to promote RFID tagging of food, and noted that one analyst predicts that 900 BILLION food items will be RFID tagged by 2015. Imagine the profits!
- The many other things, such as inspecting imports and testing for Mad Cow, that USDA should be doing to help reach the goals of animal health and food safety, instead of NAIS.
Secretary Vilsack took a lot of notes and briefly commented on the need to take some sort of action. He announced that there will be a series of regional listening sessions in the coming months, and that the USDA will be taking written comments as well. There is a lot of pressure in Congress for USDA to mandate NAIS, and the next few months will be a critical time in this fight. We will send out alerts as soon as we have more information.
The list of organizations that were at the meeting is as follows:
National Animal Identification System Roundtable Discussion
April 15, 2009, 9:00-11:30 am
• Moderator Welcome
• Secretary Vilsack’s Opening Remarks
• Participant Statements
Order of Speakers
1. Holstein Association USA: Adam Griffin, Manager of Dairy and ID Programs
2. National Turkey Federation: Michael Rybot, Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs
3. Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance: Judith McGeary, Executive Director
4. U.S. Animal Health Association: Don Hoenig, President
5. U.S. Cattlemen’s Association: Chuck Kiker, Region V Director
6. National Pork Producer’s Council: Neil Dierks, CEO (by phone)
7. American Sheep Industry: Glen Fisher, President (by phone)
8. National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, Liz Reitzig, Secretary
9. American Meat Institute: Patrick Boyle, President and CEO
10. North American Elk Breeders Association: Joel Espe, President
11. United Egg Producers: Howard Magwire, VP of Government Relations
12. R-CALF: Bill Bullard, CEO
13. American Horse Council: Jay Hickey, President
14. Livestock Marketing Association: Nancy Robinson, VP Government and Industry Affairs
15. National Association of State Departments of Agriculture: Bill Northey, Iowa Secretary of
16. National Chicken Council: George Watts, President
17. American Farm Bureau Federation: Mary Kay Thatcher, Public Policy Director for
Commodities and Livestock
18. NoNAIS: Walter Jeffries, Founder (by phone)
19. National Bison Association: Lance Cook (by phone)
20. Western Organization of Resource Councils: Gilles Stockton, Representative of Northern
Plans Resource Council and Chair of WORC Trade Team
21. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association: Collin Woodall, Executive Director of Legislative
22. American Quarter Horse Association: Billy Smith Executive Director of Information
Technology, co-chair of the Equine Species Working Group
23. National Livestock Producer’s Association: James Cook, President
24. National Farmer’s Union: Roger Johnson, President
25. American Veterinary Medical Association: James Cook, President
26. Public Lands Council: Jeff Eisenberg, Executive Director
27. National Renderer’s Association: Tom Cook, President
28. National Meat Association: Barry Carpenter, CEO and Executive Director
29. National Milk Producers’ Federation: Jerry Kozack, CEO and President