The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is often marketed
as a high-tech answer to stopping animal disease. In fact, NAIS is
only a method of tracing back sick animals in order to kill those
they came into contact with. It does not eliminate the many practices
that cause disease in the first place, such as factory farming itself
and the practice of feeding cows to cows. Instead of working to prevent
disease and encourage farming practices that promote animal health,
it allows bad practices to continue by adding an expensive program
which puts additional costs on family farm producers, who are strained
to the breaking point already. Originally presented as a "voluntary"
program, the USDA and state departments of agriculture are now actually
denying animal health programs to farmers who don't implement it.
The end result of this approach will be more buyouts of family farmers,
greater corporate control and more sick animals.
Farmers Unite Against NAIS (11.18.09) - Family farmers joined
food safety groups, sustainable agriculture advocates, and a variety
of other organizations in signing letters urging Congress and the USDA
to halt implementation of NAIS.
to read the letter to Congress, and here
for the USDA letter.
90 Farm, Consumer and Other Groups Request Zero Funding for Animal ID
Program (9.22.09) - Over 90 organizations representing conventional
farmers and ranchers, organic farmers, property rights activists, and
consumers have sent a letter to Senate and House conferees for the Agriculture
Appropriations bill urging them to zero out funding for the National
Animal Identification System for 2010. NAIS will place undue burdens
on Americas farmers and ranchers while doing nothing to address
food safety and animal disease concerns.
Read the letter here.
Farmers, Ranchers and Consumers Demand U.S. Senate Remove Funding for
NAIS (07.08.09) - Over 80 organizations send a letter to the
U.S. House and Senate asking the funding for NAIS be zeroed out for
2010. While the House does not include new funding for the failed Animal
ID program, the Senate included $14 million for it. Groups applaud Sen.
Jon Tester's efforts to amend the bill to halt additional funding.
Read the Congress version of the letter here.
Letter to Secretary Vilsack Opposing Further Implementation of NAIS
Family Farmers, Ranchers and Consumers Criticize NAIS as Threat to Farmer
Livelihoods and Local Food Systems (03.12.09) - The House Agriculture
Subcommittee on Dairy, Livestock and Poultry held a hearing March 11
examining implementation of NAIS. Congressional representatives failed
to understand that NAIS will neither address animal disease nor food
Letter to the U.S. Senate to request funding for NAIS be dropped from
Omnibus Appropriations Bill (03.04.09)
Letter to Senate Appropriations Requesting No Linkage Between NAIS and
School Lunch Program (7.15.08)
Farmers, Ranchers And Local Food Advocates Criticize Efforts to Tie
School Lunch Program to Animal ID (6.25.08) - NAIS provisions
in the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee's markup bill would
harm the growing local food movement and consumer demand for sustainable
meat while giving unfair advantages to industrial factory farms who
are responsible for the overwhelming majority of hazardous food safety
Letter to House Appropriations Requesting No Linkage Between NAIS and
School Lunch Program (6.25.08)
1. No quantification of the alleged benefits.
USDA has made unsupported assertions that our country needs 48-hour
traceback of all animal movements for disease control. Yet USDA has
failed to provide any scientific basis, including risk analysis or scientific
review of existing programs, to support this claim. Existing disease
control programs, combined with measures such as brand registries and
normal private record-keeping, provide cost-effective traceback. A new
and costly program such as NAIS is unnecessary and potentially counterproductive.
2. High costs.
The costs of complying with NAIS will be unreasonably burdensome for
small farmers and many other animal owners. The costs of NAIS go far
beyond the tag itself, and include: premises registration database creation
and updates; tags and related equipment, such as readers, computers,
and software; 24-hour reporting requirements, imposing extensive paperwork
burdens; labor for every stage of the program; stress on the animals;
qualitative costs, from loss of religious freedoms, privacy, and trust
in government; and enforcement.
3. No food safety benefits.
NAIS will not prevent foodborne illnesses from e. coli or salmonella,
because the contamination occurs at the slaughterhouse, while NAIS tracking
ends at the time of slaughter. Thus, NAIS will neither prevent the contamination
nor increase the governments ability to track contaminated meat
back to its source. In addition, NAIS will hurt efforts to develop safer,
decentralized local food systems.
4. Unfair burdens placed on family farms and sustainable livestock operations.
NAIS would also impose significant reporting and paperwork burdens on
small farms. In addition, sustainable livestock operations that manage
animals on pasture would face higher rates of tag losses than confinement
operations, due to animals getting their tags caught on brush or fences.
NAIS essentially creates incentives for CAFOs, with the accompanying
social and environmental concerns.
National Family Farm Coalition
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ph (202) 543-5675
fax (202) 543-0978
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