|| RedStateWhat is NAIS? NAIS is the USDA's National Animal Identification System Draft Strategic Plan to let the government track the births, deaths, co-mingling and all movements of all livestock in the United States.
Which animals are covered? Currently horses, cattle, goats, poultry, sheep, swine, alpacas, llamas, bison, deer and elk. NAIS is not limited to these animals and may also be extended to include dogs, rabbits & other animals. See documents at: http://nonais.org/index.php/2006/02/18/
Who must participate? Anyone with one or more of the covered animals will be required to register their home or business for a 7-digit Premises Identification Number and pay an annual fee. If you have a single horse, goat, chicken, piglet or other species from the above list, then you must register your home for a Premise ID and tag each animal once NAIS becomes mandatory or you may face fines of up to $1,000 per day for noncompliance. USDA and states are applying NAIS right down to the backyard level - No exceptions.
How will the beasts be numbered? Each animal will be assigned a unique 15-digit Animal Identification Number. Different species will be tagged in different ways. For example: injected Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) micro-chips, RFID button tags, RFID SwifTacs tags and RFID ear tags at a cost of about $3 to $20 per animal. Large producers will be able to use one ID number for tens of thousands of animals and will not be required to tag each individual animal if they are treated as a group. Most small farmers, homesteaders & pet owners must tag each individual animal and report individual events.
What 'events' must we report? Change of ownership, even if animals remain at the same premise; co-mingling of animals owned by different entities; movement of animals off of a premise; movement of animals onto a premise are some of the events. This includes buying, selling, trips to the vet, 4-H meetings, trail rides, road trips, shows & crossing or walking on a public road.
How must we report? Events must be reported within 24 hours by telephone or by computer via the Internet. There is no mail or paper option.
Why are they doing this? NAIS began as way to open up foreign meat markets, like Japan, for the large beef exporters. Later the USDA changed the stated justification for NAIS to be one of preventing disease. BSE (Mad Cow Disease) is the primary excuse given by the USDA for NAIS. Other excuses are Avian Bird Flu (H5N1), Exotic New Castles Disease and Foot & Mouth Disease (FMD). Most recently they have been giving the justification that consumers want to know where their food is coming from to trace it back to the farm in case of potential liability issues for food born illness.
Will NAIS prevent disease? No. In fact the government states quite clearly in this document http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/bsefaq.html that NAIS is not necessary to prevent BSE. Bird flu is spread by wild birds and NAIS will have no effect - we're not going to track every single wild bird nor can the government realistically expect to kill them all. Vaccination and biodiversity are the solution. Exotic New Castles was caused by illegally imported illegal fighting cocks - NAIS will not stop it. Foot & Mouth is not an issue in this country, there is already a program to handle it and FMD is transmitted by dust in the air, so NAIS will not help. Virtually all food contamination happens after the farm, when the animals are killed at the processing plant or later. NAIS does nothing for that. The best protections would be for the USDA to do its job of properly inspecting processing plants rather than making up complex and costly new regulations that will be impossible to enforce. The USDA should enforce its ban on feeding cows to cows which is the cause of Mad Cow Disease and enforce a strict quarantine of imported animals - all under existing laws and regulations.
Can't I just hide my animals? Veterinarians, police, butchers, service providers (gas, electric, telephone, etc) and possibly your neighbors will be required by law to report unregistered animal sightings to the government. Failure to register your premise and animals or to report movements will result in non-compliance fines of up to $1,000 per incident per day. Under NAIS the government may enter your property without a warrant and confiscate, redistribute or kill your animals without any form of legal appeal by you.
What is the cost of NAIS? The federal government is already spending $50 million per year on NAIS, prior to implementation. States and animal owners are expected to foot the bill for the vast majority of the cost. These costs will be passed on to consumers. Studies show the real cost at over $15 billion per year - a new tax on food. http://nonais.org/index.php/2006/02/19/
Is NAIS legal? It should not be. NAIS is clearly unconstitutional by violating Amendments 1, 4, 5 and 14 of the United States Constitution. In 2001, after 9/11, Congress gave the government enormous new powers in the form of the Patriot Act which is up for renewal in 2006. Supporters of NAIS used this to draft a plan for invasive micro-management of all animals in the United States. The Patriot Act, PAWS, REAL ID and NAIS strip Americans of fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It gives the government the power to invade our homes and take our property without warrants or any legal appeal.
How will NAIS affect small farmers? Annual Premise ID registration fees, livestock registration fees and tag costs, tag applicator and other equipment costs, potential enormous fines for incorrect report in, failure to track, increased liability, potential loss of all livestock due to faulty trace backs, loss of biodiversity as heritage breeds become extinct. Small farmers, homesteaders and hobbyists are the keepers of heritage breeds and the genetic diversity that makes domestic livestock strong. In other countries that have implemented systems like NAIS most small farmers were forced out of business.
Horse owners? Must report all movement of horses including trail rides, shows, equiestrian events, riding on public roads and every entry and exit from a property, within 24 hours. Reports include the 15 digit animal ID of each horse plus the 7 digit premise ID of each property crossed on the ride.
Homesteaders? The same as small farmers but unable to pass the costs on to customers effectively taxing us on the food we raise for ourselves at a cost of about $500/year per family. You are no longer free - You are a serf of the state.
4-H, FFA & pet owners? Parents of children in 4-H, FFA and owners of pet livestock will be treated as farmers, required to register their home for a Premise ID with the associated annual fees, tag costs, filing fees, tracking of all animal events and fines. Failure by a child to comply will result in fines.
Consumers? Consumers will see a loss of choice, smaller selection and higher prices as farmers pass on the costs of NAIS and many farms go out of business. They already operate on thin margins and can not handle the added costs. This will concentrate control of our food supply into the hands of fewer and fewer larger corporations who'll raise prices as they gain monopoly power