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NAIS Moves Forward: Small Farmers Oppose the Controversial System

The USDA's National Animal Identification System Business Plan makes the agency's plans for assigning premise identification numbers and moving forward with individual animal identification clear over public objections. Despite claims that the system is 'voluntary,' the rules included in the Business Plan effectively require all premises and all animals to be in the system.

By February 2008, USDA will publish a rule rolling all mandatory disease control program numbers, including Brucellosis, Tuberculosis, Pseudo Rabies, Scrapie and Avian Influenza in which your animals may now be registered, into a numbering system that will be NAIS-compliant.

"Because a uniform animal identification numbering system is needed to make the NAIS successful, we do intend that, in the future, only the ``840'' AIN will be recognized for official use," reads a passage in the July 18 Federal Register entry on Final Rule for AINs (Animal Identification Numbers).

The sole exception for individual AINs is for animals that are born and die on property that they never leave. Even for them, there is no exception for Premise Identification Numbers.

Doreen Hannes, in an analysis of the Business Plan and User Guide posted at, says "Reading these documents leaves no doubt as to where NAIS is going and how it will get there. The USDA is to finally be commended for being somewhat forthright in their publications at long last.

"To sum it up in a rather succinct fashion, the current game plan is to require compliance with NAIS through the registration of your property as a premise and attachment of NAIS "840" tags to your animals as a requirement of engaging in interstate commerce in any way.

Animal disease tracking is already accomplished through existing programs. NAIS adds a level of documentation, control and cost that will discourage small farmers and flock owners from continuing their work.

"Hobbyists, backyarders, what is left of the traditional family farm, and niche markets will all be negatively impacted by NAIS, as will our nation's tradition of liberty," said Craig Russell, president of the Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities.

Contact Doreen at (417) 962-0030 and the SPPA through Christine Heinrichs, publicity director, at (805) 203-5018,

-- Christine Heinrichs Author, How to Raise Chickens

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