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Local Food Challenged

February 24, 2009

Information provided by Organic Consumers Association & Disseminated by The Erie Wire 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently in the process of implementing the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) through the States. NAIS is designed to identify all livestock animals and poultry and track their movements. When the program is fully implemented, the USDA claims that the NAIS will be able to identify all premises on which animals and poultry are located, and all animals that have had contact with a disease of concern, within 48 hours of discovery. In reality, the NAIS threatens sustainable and small-scale farmers and ranchers, while accelerating the consolidation of the farm sector and boosting factory farms.

    The NAIS creates expensive and time-consuming tagging and reporting requirements for small farms 

  • The NAIS requirements are particularly expensive and burdensome for those farmers raising sustainable livestock on pasture. Ultimately, this will reduce the availability of grass-fed meats, eggs, and milk. In many cases, the tagging and reporting costs for small farmers may exceed the value of the animals. Certified organic and pasture raised animals would likely be forced into confinement for ranchers and farmers adequately implement the ID program. Without access to pasture, many ranches will be disqualified from the USDA National Organic Program and consumers will have less choice when purchasing meat and dairy.
  • NAIS favors factory farms and will spurn the further consolidation of family farms and ranches

  • Proposed NAIS regulations favor factory farms and Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Feedlots to battery cage operations are already highly computerized from feed to slaughter. Corporate factory farms have the capital and infraestructure to purchase and implement the costly NAIS regulations with little or no impact on their profit margin. Small and medium-scale farms and ranches will either have to expand and eliminate sustainable ranching practices, like pasture raising their animals, to compete with CAFOs and other factory farms, or simply disappear.
  • NAIS does nothing to improve food safety for consumers or prevent animal diseases

  • The USDA’s stated goal of NAIS “to be able to identify all animals and premises that have had contact with a foreign or domestic animal disease of concern within 48 hours after discovery.” Yet the program is silent on how that information would be used to prevent or control disease outbreaks. This program is a one-size-fits-all program developed by and for big Agribusiness. NAIS will increase consolidation of our food supply in the hands of a few large companies and put the brakes on the growing movement toward local food systems. While purported to be a safety-focused imitative, NAIS does not address the threats to food safety or animal welfare. In lieu of regulating factory farms, antibiotic abuse, manure discharge, or Mad Cow, the USDA is merely going to track and segregate this food safety crisis.
  • NAIS is a multi-million dollar subsidy program for agribusiness, tag manufacturers and database companies, at the expense of farmers and taxpayers

  • In addition to massive Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), other agribusiness corporations are promoting NAIS. Included in this list is the National Institute of Animal Agriculture (NIAA), an industry organization that includes “a who’s who of agribusiness”: Cargill, Monsanto, the National Livestock Producers Association, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Renderers Association, and veterinary medicine companies such as Pfizer and Schering Plough. Additionally, manufacturers of animal ID and tracking systems, such as Cattle-Traq and Digital Angel, stand to make massive profits, with millions of new clients, like 4-H youth programs and homesteaders. These new tracking costs will be borne by taxpayers, consumers and small-scale farmers.
  • NAIS creates government surveillance of normal, daily activities of farmers, homesteaders, and pet owners

  • Current NAIS provisions require that all animal owners, from small hobby farms and homesteaders, to backyard chickens and pasture-based operations to participate in the USDA’s animal ID program. In addition to increasing a massive “Big Brother” infrastructure to monitory everyday citizen farmers, religious groups, including Amish farmers, oppose NAIS as violation of their religious beliefs.
4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2009 10:35 am

    Great article. I am forwarding it to my email list to help all livestock owners survive their own government. This is ignorantly a single handed effort to eleminate entry level food production and livestock producing efforts. When walking in a livestock corral, watch out and do not step in any pelosi as it gets on the bottom of your boot and will not leave for 4 years. Watch for all government pelosi!!! It stinks. Darol

  2. February 24, 2009 4:37 pm

    FINALLY the word is getting out how the NAIS will so badly affect food choice in this country! Not only that, food safety will suffer if this onerous program is pushed through. Those who buy their food locally from people they know have the greatest level of food safety – you know who grew it, how it was grown and where it came from. You can’t get any better than that for “traceability”. Yet the NAIS will completely shut down your choice to be able to do that. Those who are against the NAIS are FOR safe food. Every consumer in this nation should be in an uproar over this! Most people still do not even know this program is happening. Spread the word – we don’t have much time left. They are already moving at the federal level with THREE bills hiding NAIS in them to push a federal MANDATORY NAIS. This shows that the resistance at the state level is hurting them. We cannot allow them to succeed. Tell Big Ag to take a vacation – buy your next week’s food supply from local farmers and producers – and help these salt of the earth folks to also be able to stay in business. Keep your dollars *local* – even more important in this kind of economy! Why send your dollars to China for poor and unsafe food products? Get online and educate yourselves about the NAIS, and then make sure that your relatives and neighbors know about it, too. Find out how your legislators stand on NAIS and help fight it in your state. Four states have passed laws limiting NAIS, and several others are working on doing the same right now.

  3. March 25, 2009 7:42 pm

    Thanks for the conscise information. I will forward the link to my web email list. Thanks again.


  1. Local Food Challenged Video

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