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Organic Consumers Association

Food and Farming Non-Profits Oppose Costly USDA Animal ID Plan

Web Note: The OCA does not support these actions by the USDA and is against the National Animal Identification System. For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's National Animal Identification System page and our USDA Watch page.

Washington, DC - Proposed government regulations may threaten the viability of small scale producers and raise the cost of locally produced food, say local food advocates.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scuttled its plans for a National Animal Identification System (NAIS) following a storm of protests from thousands of farmers and consumers. But just two years later, the agency is pushing through a modified version of the traceability program that still fails to address the concerns about the costs and burdens it will impose.

As proposed by the USDA, the new program would require every chicken that is transported across state lines to be officially identified. Provisions for "group identification" are included but will most likely only apply to large vertically integrated operations, while those who own small numbers of poultry will be required to individually identify their birds.

"Thousands of people buy day-old chicks from out-of-state hatcheries every year and will be subject to new federal regulations," notes Sally Fallon Morell, President of the nutrition education non-profit Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), and a champion of local fresh food for its nutritional value.   "The USDA has completely failed to calculate the costs the new regulations will impose, in both out-of-pocket expenses and red tape, on small poultry farmers and backyard chicken owners who have a few birds for their own use and enjoyment."

Cattle owners would also be subject to requirements to officially identify cattle that cross state lines. Associated businesses, such as livestock sale barns and veterinarians, would be subject to extensive new recordkeeping requirements as well.


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