The following Press Release talks about Connecticut activism concerning RFID tagging of our nation's animals and the safety of our food supply but it applies to all of us
Do You Care About Serving and Eating the Freshest, Safest Food Possible?
If you do, then please show your support for local farmers by attending the upcoming USDA NAIS Listening Session, to be held on Wednesday, May 27, 2009 at One Bishop Circle, U-Conn, Storr, CT.
What is NAIS and why is of concern? NAIS stands for National Animal Identification System, and it has three aspects to it:Premises: Register every location where animals are housed or visit, ie. farms, stables, Tagging: Identify every individual farm animal, including horses, with a permanent id marker, preferably an RFID chip eartag.Tracking: Notify the government or database every time a tag is replaced, an animal leaves its home farm, meets an animal from a different farm, visits a different location.
Why does the USDA want to do this? – Answers have ranged from “agro-terrorism,” to food safety, Mad Cow to animal disease. The program was created by corporate entities who represent industrial agriculture and electronic identification businesses.
How does it endanger small farms? - The cost of the program is unknown, both financially and constitutionally. There are privacy concerns and individual freedom concerns, but there are also real costs associated with numerous tags, applicators, readers, and costs of report. Failure to report is punishable by fine or incarceration. Some species which are included cannot be identified in the ways that the USDA is instructing. Babies outgrow tags. Eartags get ripped out. Injuries associated with tag removal endangers milk and causes medical expenses that cannot be foreseen. Most small farms will not be able to survive the expenses associated with NAIS. The reports for this program require high speed internet hookups, which many farms do not enjoy. Other farmers do not even have electricity, by choice, or by availability, yet they will be required to comply as well. What food is involved? – Anyone who consumes meat, dairy, or eggs will see immediate loss of local supply. Those using “Ark of Taste” meats will see their supplies dwindle, as those species do not do well under industrial conditions. For those who do not consume animal protein, there will be a loss of organic and natural fertilizers, as the source farms will disappear as well. There are non-food species involved as well such as llamas and alpacas. How are they a threat to our food?
I do want safe food, isn’t this a good thing? – Everyone wants safe food, but the only farms exempt from the full reach of NAIS are the industrial farms that raise poultry and pork products. They are allowed to “tag and track” by “lot number,” rather than individual animal, though the small farmer raising the same species, must comply with all aspects of the NAIS.
NAIS will not keep food any safer, not animals. Encouraging people to raise animals humanely, on small sustainable farms, produces the best outcome – high quality, safe food raised by conscientious, sustainable farmers. The best “traceback” that the USDA can do is 48 hours, yet growing the food locally, and buying directly from the farmer gives you instantaneous “traceback.” Avoiding disease is far more preferable that chasing it, yet the USDA and other governments do little to educate and support small farmers to keep up on threats and procedures that might benefit them.
For more information about the Listening Session at Storrs, or to comment by Internet to the USDA and the Federal Registry, please visit www.smallholdersalliance.com or www.farmandranchfreedom.org. Or you can call me, Pat Stewart, at 978-827-1305. Thank you, and I hope you can attend.
Pat Stewart SmallHolders AllianceHames & Axle Farm