Thursday, February 07, 2008

National Animal Identification System

Lately I have a couple readers write and tell me that I should write a post about the proposed Nation Animal Identification System. Up until this point I have to admit that I didn't really know much about it other than the fact that it wouldn't be a good thing for small farmers and their consumers. I just didn't feel that I had a good enough grasp on the situation to throw my thoughts into the fray. But, after reading a little and being encouraged to write about it I thought I should at least throw some things out for discussion. Today, I just wanted to share some links that I have used as I try and learn more about this proposed system and what it means to me ... and my animals!

The first site I went to on my search was, This website is run by Walter Jeffries of Sugar Mountain Farm in Vermont. I often read his blog so I have read his thoughts on NAIS from time to time and I have seen the link ... but, I am sorry to admit that this was the first time I visited the website. On this site you will find posts updating you on what is going on with the NAIS and links to other articles and sites that will help keep you informed.

Another great article I read (found through that gives a good overview of the system and what is at stake is, "The National Animal Identification System: A new threat to rural freedom?" The article appeared in Countryside and Small Stock Journal and was written by, Mary Zanoni, Ph.D., J.D. This article is a few years old, but it is very relevant even today. If you have no knowledge of the NAIS or a limited knowledge I encourage you to check it out.

One last link you should check out is the NAIS Comments thread on Homesteading Today. The thread is over 1,000 posts and counting. I think that says a lot to the importance of this issue. If you take some time to read through the thread (I just took a little time to skim) you will find people for and many people against the NAIS. I think communication is the key here ... the more we know and the more we can communicate with each other what is going on the better off we are.

So, if this is fairly new to you check out those sites and inform yourself. One neat thing you will find on are links to discussion groups for most if not all states against the NAIS. Join the one for your state and make sure you are informed and communicating.

If you know quite a bit about the NAIS and have followed it closely enlighten those of us who have passed over it for too long.


Henwhisperer said...

No disrespect intended, but you better wake up! If you want to be able to continue doing what you are doing with your animals it is imperative that you learn as much as you can about NAIS before it overtakes us. We need more helpers to get the word out. We need more people engaging with their state and federal representatives to tell them we shouldn't be a part of NAIS.

Under NAIS, for those of you who still don't know, your property is turned into a premises and you will need a premises id number. They call it a premises on purpose; it removes the full ownership of the land. Secondly, each animal on a homestead, small/private farm, hobby farm and those few backyard horses will need to be individually identified with an RFID tag or chip (inserted into the neck in the case of a horse). Of course, the huge factory farms get one group lot number per in/out lot of, what?, 10,000 animals. Thirdly, animal movements will have to be reported with fines for non-compliance.

NAIS is not about food safety. NAIS is not about keeping animals healthy. When there is a perceived animal disease, the traceback will be used to find the infected animals, in the case of FMD or example (and this only has to be a perceived threat), and all of those animals and the other animals of the same species withing a 12.4 mile diameter will be killed. All wooden structures will be burned, fields sprayed...well, look to the UK. They kill first and test later. What? Your animals weren't sick? Bummer.

If you think this could not happen here in the US, think again. NAIS is rolling at us like a monster cement ball and will flatten all small/private farms, homesteads, hobbyists and the granny with a few laying hens. has a list of the Yahoo groups, individual states against NAIS. Find yours and join it. Get active. You cannot afford to not know about NAIS at this point. We have been working it for three years.


Yeoman said...

The magazine Rural Heritage has had a continuing series of articles on NAIS, to include the current issue. It's website forum also has quite a few threads on it.

Ethan Book said...

No disrespect taken ... I did admit that I was behind on this count. But, we have only had livestock for 6 months so I didn't really fully understand what it was all about.

I did mention the discussion groups and I have already signed up for the one in my state. I think they are a great idea and hopefully a good resource for action.


Anonymous said...

There is an excellent article that came out from 'The Nation' online in mid-December, titled 'USDA Bets the Farm on Animal ID Program': This along with henwhisperer's excellent series of articles published on NewWithViews will broaden your NAIS education.

Steven said...

I spent all day Saturday showing draft horses at Boone County fair in IL. I really got upset when I saw, stapled to the post in the main barn, a big sign telling about the great new Illinois Ag. health program, including NAIS/Premesis ID. The guy I went with even got a Premesis ID# a number of months ago when it was still mandatory for fair exhibitors, that has since changed. I have to say, I was tempted to write on a piece of tape and put that across it. :-)

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