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Organic Consumers Association

NAIS Not Dead?

Contrary to what you are being told, National Animal Identification System is not dead - just renamed, reworded and still very much alive.

That was the message brought to the Ozarks Property Rights meeting in Gainesville last Thursday by Republican congressional candidate Bob Parker, who said he hated to bring that news. "Being one of those who has worked hard over the past four or five years to stop NAIS, nothing would please me and my co-workers more than to be able to report that indeed NAIS has gone away. But sadly it is still here under a new name and coming at us with a reshuffled approach." Parker read excerpts from a fact sheet released Feb. 5 by USDA that outlined the new approach.

Parker said the animal identification program will now be called the Federal Animal Disease Traceability System and premise identification registration numbers are now "unique location identifiers." Parker pointed out that the USDA paper says that since so much taxpayer money has been spent on efforts to implement NAIS that as much of the failed program as possible must be salvaged and used in the new program such as use of the NAIS "840" ear tags. They say it would be fiscally irresponsible to disregard all elements of NAIS, he said.

USDA acknowledged that massive public opposition to their proposed NAIS program has caused them to revise the prior policy and offer a new approach.

Parker noted that while USDA says the framework for the new approach will emphasize state's participation, they are very clear and emphatic on one major point which seems non-negotiable in their view. They intend to enforce animal identification at the level of interstate commerce as they said they would do under the original NAIS plan. This would force Missouri producers into their program as the state has practically no in-state feed lots or major slaughter facilities causing nearly all of the state's livestock production to cross state lines, Parker said.

Addressing the issue of states like Missouri that have passed laws prohibiting forced participation in NAIS, the fact sheet points out that this program is no longer called NAIS and the new framework will spell out what states must do for their animals to be able to move in interstate commerce.

Parker expressed disdain for those elected officials who quickly put out news releases bragging how they were instrumental in stopping NAIS. "They evidently didn't read the rest of the story and were quick to make political hay. They do their constituents a real disservice by touting a hollow victory," he said.

OPRC president Russell Wood said the fact sheet Parker was referencing can be found at the group's web site www.ozarkprc.com, www.r-calfusa.com or www.USDA.gov.com under Questions and Answers: new animal traceability framework.


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