Friday, March 10, 2006

If You Own a Horse (Or Cow, Or Goat, Or Chicken. . .), The Government Wants to Know

Before you buy your little girl that horse she’s been wanting, consider the paperwork that will soon be involved. Actually, the government wants to keep track of all farm-type animals—horses, cows, chickens, pigs, llamas, etc.—regardless of whether you own several or only one. The United States Department of Agriculture's National Animal Identification System will soon (by Jan. 2008) require that anyone who owns any type of farm animal register his or her premises (or home) as a place where farm animals are kept (you will have to submit GPS coordinates for the place that the animal lives), and owners will then be required to register each animal and have it implanted with an RFID chip. Any time that the animal is moved to another location—selling it, taking it on a trail ride, taking it to a 4-H show, taking it to the slaughterhouse to kill it for food, etc.—the owner will have to file the necessary paperwork with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

From the USDA-NAIS website:

In April 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the framework for implementing the NAIS—an animal identification and tracking system that will be used in all States and that will operate under national standards. When fully operational, the system will be capable of tracing a sick animal or group of animals back to the herd or premises that is the most likely source of infection. It will also be able to trace potentially exposed animals that were moved out from that herd or premises. The sooner animal health officials can identify infected and exposed animals and premises, the sooner they can contain the disease and stop its spread.

[ . . . ]

The first step in implementing the NAIS is identifying and registering premises that house animals. Such premises would include locations where livestock and poultry are managed, marketed, or exhibited. Knowing where animals are located is the key to efficient, accurate, and cost–effective epidemiologic investigations and disease–control efforts.

[ . . . ]

As premises are registered, another component of the NAIS—animal identification—will be integrated into the system. Unique animal identification numbers (AINs) will be issued to individually identified premises. In the case of animals that move in groups through the production chain—such as swine and poultry—the group will be identified through a group/lot identification number (Group/Lot IDs) [emphasis mine].

For every animal owned, the owner would have to register (for a fee) that animal and obtain a unique ID number for each. However, “[a]nimals that move in groups through the production chain” could be registered together with only one number, creating a substantial savings to the owner. These particular animals would be those born and raised on corporate farms (i.e. ConAgra, Tyson, etc.) and which remain grouped together from birth on the farm to death in the slaughterhouse. Obviously, small farms such as those operated by people who wish to raise their own beef or eggs will be exposed to a huge financial burden to the gain of the large corporate farms. And even if you are raising animals just for pleasure rather than food—such as owning a horse for occasional riding—you will be strapped with the extra burden of providing paperwork for every time that you take that horse on a ride off of your property.

This program has deep implications. Obviously, the large corporations will be in favor of any program that makes the consumer more dependent on them. If you are a person who likes to raise your own organic beef or who prefers eggs from the free range chickens that your neighbor raises, you will pay for that privilege. Big Brother is becoming much too big.


jettybetty said...

I suppose Critter will not be getting her horse now!

Pretty outrageous--but I've been hearing lots of pretty outrageous stuff lately ;-) !

Tony Arnold said...

Who knew that George Bush's administration period would be the realization of George Orwell's fears.


Purgatory Penman said...

Bush is doing things Orwell never dreamed of in his worst nightmares

Tony Arnold said...

That is a scary thought, although probably true.


Ayatollah Mugsy said...

With this barnyard initiative, Bush is clearly trying to combine "1984" and "Animal Farm."

Remember when he used to say that it was our money, and we knew what to do with it better than the federal government?

JMG said...

You're right Mugsy. It would be laughable if it weren't so insidious.

Sue Karber said...

There is action being done to stop the NAIS madness. notice the top of this page on those are the area of our campaign.
Be sure to watch as we get the areas developed. Background is in place and ads are being written as we speak with some great ideas coming in. Personal stories and especially how it will affect not just us producers but consumers, other animal owners is really needed and action is needed which is easy for anyone with these links.