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Friday, September 15, 2006

NAIS and You

This is my second post of the morning, if you want to laugh at me, scroll down. This post however is about NAIS and what it means to you. This is from the website and it should help you understand more about what it will cost you as a tax payer and food consumer;

Your tax dollars at work:

In order to monitor and protect the health of animals that are used for human consumption, the federal government and leading agribusinesses in America have come together for a major joint effort. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) will cost around half a billion dollars by 2009. The recurrent expenses include the cost of tags and system upgrades. These could be as high as $122 million each year.
-RFID Gazette

This does not include the cost to livestock owners which will be orders of magnitude higher than that. While tags cost only about $3 in large quantities, there is also the cost of applying them, failed tags, labor, computer systems, readers, applicator equipment, etc. The Australian NLIS experience has shown that while the promised cost was $3 per head the real cost is more like $37. Everything the government does gets delivered late, doesn’t work as expected and costs more than expected.

A typical small livestock owner such as a Micro-farmers, horse owner or homesteader will see a cost of $500 to $5,000 per year over and over every year. Read more >>>

If you own a horse, even a pet rabbit, you will be required to register your home or apartment as a farm. You will have to tag you pet and report to the USDA every time your pet leaves your "farm". That includes trail rides and vet visits. Please take some time to look through the website and think about what this program will mean to you as a tax payer, as a pet owner, as a food consumer and as an American citizen. Part of the problem is that the Government is passing this off as a way to prevent agi-terrorism. But think about it, if you want to attack the nations food source, would you go after a small farmer that only sells to family and friends, or after the National herd? This issue is very important, to all of us, not just those of use that raise our own food and own pets.

This program does not prevent diseases, what it does is creates scape goats. The problems don’t come from the way farmers raise their livestock, the problems come from the slaughter houses and the way food is prepared. With this legislation, fast food chains will not be responsible for keeping your meat at room temp, causing food poisoning, nor will the slaughter house be held responsible for the unsanitary conditions that cause food borne illnesses, no it will go back to the rancher or farmer that sold his livestock at auction or directly to the slaughter houses. And that’s when the government will come in a kill, yes kill all the ranchers animals, healthy or not. No, there is no compensation. {fromwhat I understand}

The comany that will be suppling the USDA promotes chipping your children as well.

Digital Angel


Bug said...

I just love how the government can take a problem and twist it beyond recognition then come up with a plan that has nothing to do with the original problem. It just boggles my mind.

People wonder why I don't want to have children. I can't justify brining a life into this world that will be forced to put up with this bullshit.

UKBob said...

We have what sounds to be a similar system already running here in the UK and believe me its worse than it appears on paper. I won’t go into lengthy details here except to say that it went a long way towards me changing from being a farmer to being a gardener. I was spending more time doing paper work for the government than I was tending the stock that the paper work was for. There is quite a bit of talk in the posting of the cost of the tags etc. Don’t forget also that it will presumably take yet MORE government officials to run and monitor the scheme who will also be getting cut out of the tax payers money too.

Phelan said...

bug, When I had my last child during a period they were talking about the first children to have GPS chips planted into them after being born in Florida. I was so freaked out that I wouldn't allow them to take him out of the room without my being by his side. I was scared they would implant him without my knowledge. Paranoid, I know.

UKBob, I have read about the program in the UK and Australia. More reason for us in the US to fight this. I couldn't imagine having to give up my homestead.

UKBob said...

Gool luck with fight, I think you are doing the right thing. Thankfully the farm I left wasn't mine, I just worked it for someone else or I wouldn't have left. As it turned out I am much happier now.

Phelan said...

From your blog it does seem as though you are happy. I do hope we can win this fight.

Jeremy said...

Hi - I really like your site. I just found it, and this post in particular jumped out at me. Just for a little background, I spent about 2 years paying my bills doing policy work in food safety for a non-profit association, and I'm also a civil rights attorney who's has done work for groups such as the ACLU (i.e., I'm a bona fide privacy nut).

I understand the concerns about the NAIS, but much of the information from the NONAIS post is fairly far off. Frankly, there are lots of perfectly good reasons to oppose the NAIS, but it's easy for misinformation to cloud more potent arguments.

There's a sizeable number of reasonable questions about how the program will be administered: whether tagging of individual animals will be required (USDA's position currently is that it "realizes that tagging each and every animal individually would be unrealistic and impractical"), whether the program will ultimately be mandatory ("Maybe," they say, "we're not sure," which translates to depends on whether Congress will still be paying for this in 6 years), and how firmly small producers will be integrated. Those features and USDA's take on them may change, and it makes perfect sense to discuss them.

However, to say that the program creates scapegoats by exempting food chains and processing facilities from liability is incorrect, as is the claim about culling herds without compensation. First, the program isn't legislation - it's regulatory in nature, and is therefore limited to the specific authority Congress delegated to USDA. USDA does not have the power to place a civil liability shield on food chains or processing facilities (or on anybody). In fact, USDA has no regulatory purview over restaurants at all - FDA and state agencies do. Second, in all (or almost all) of the civil litigation that's taken place relative to foodborne illness, the defendants are a restaurant chain or a food processor. To my knowledge, farmers generally get a pass. They may have liability exposure under strict product liability theories, but there is so much intervening activity, that the exposure is functionally nil. Plus, why sue Farmer Joe when you can sue Jack-in-the-Box, with the much deeper pockets? For that matter, why sue Monsanto? Their pockets are so deep that they probably genetically engineer their lawyers and grow them in vats.

The compensation thing is wrong, too. The fifth amendment's taking clause would require the government to reimburse farmers for any herd culling, and courts are going to be pretty firm on that point. That's the upshot of an increasingly conservative bench. At the same time, herd culling is not something USDA is going to want to do - when the UK had the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, they had some farmers infecting/exposing animals in order to make sure they received governmental compensation (because the fair market value was in the tank - nobody wanted British beef; the government's compensation rate was far higher than, you know, nothing), and more problematically, they had huge mounds of cow corpses and didn't know if they should burn them or bury them or what.

Believe me, if there's an outbreak of sufficient size to require federal herd culling, small farmers are going to have it far worse from market forces than they are from actual federal intervention, and the intervention is nothing to sneeze at.

But worst, the implication that the NAIS will lead to tagging children is where I think a lot of folks will flip on the crazy filter and tune out the whole mess. I'm reasonably certain that the USDA doesn't have the authority to implant microchips into babies. Then again, I think it's probably a smart move not to let vets poke babies with needles even if you're not worried about microchips. But maybe that's just me.

Anyway, the point is, even if USDA was full-tilt for chipping every animal in the country, I don't think that leads ineluctably to human chipping. If you've ever tried to get somebody from USDA, somebody from FDA, and somebody from CDC to agree on anything (say, what color the sky is, or how much a pound of something weighs), you'd see that there's not exactly taut interagency cooperation anywhere in our nation's vast, faceless bureacracy (which recently replaced "amber waves of grain" in that song. Really.).

Is that all nit-picking? I don't think so. Expanding USDA's perceived scope of authority makes NAIS seem really menacing, but distracts from the real problems it has:

1) who knows if it'll work?
2) maybe if we spent some of that money ensuring the robustness of the national testing system that tells us about foodborne outbreaks in people, we'd be better off. Ahem, spinach, I'm looking at you.
3) ooh, or maybe on schools or bridges or something, for that matter.
4) to the extent that the NAIS places any signifiant burden on small farmers, the program will exacerbate the conditions that justify its existance - a food supply increasingly consolidated in the hands of a very few mega-conglomerates with annual cash flows that rival France's GNP.

. . .and so on. There's a ton of pitfalls. Those are just a few. But I don't think that "they'll be putting chips in little Bobby next" does anything but obcure the discussion. Besides, why worry about microchips when we've got warrentless wiretaps? Eyes on the ball, I'm saying.

Anyway. Just my 2...uh, 3 cents. Keep up the good work.

Phelan said...

Welcome, glad you are enjoying my blog.

First off I agree that there are so many holes in this that there is no possible way that they could actual implement it.

Thank you for all you input.

I will edit my post to clarify; the tagging of children comes from Digital Angel themselves. And I just checked the link, I have the wrong one in there. oops!

5 years ago I heard them talking about "chipping" infants in florida. This was before I started homesteading and new nothing of NAIS. It scared the hell out of me then and still does. And it has nothing to do with "the mark of the beast" or some such.

As I am just finishing my lunch and must be off because I am behind on some things {corn} I will edited and fix my links. Can I use your comments in a post?

Jeremy said...

Hi Phelan,

You are welcome to use my comments in a post.

I noticed that the kid-chipping link was to Digital Angel, which is a rfid manufacturer, right? So, I was a bit thrown by the incongruity. I usually follow rfid stuff, but the Florida thing escapes my memory - I look forward to seeing the revised link.

I'm certainly with you on putting chips in kids being scary, but mostly to the extent that it involves governmental authority. It's weird to me for parents to put an rfid tag into their kid, yet... at the same time, if it's to serve as sort of an unloseable medic-alert bracelet, then that starts to make more sense to me. Way more sense than, say, piercing a 10-month old's ears, which I see all the time.

What's more worrisome to me, kid-wise, is the handling of the data from newborn genetic testing. Newborn screening is really important, and it saves lives, and I'm all for it, but the tests and the blood samples have to be sacrosanct. And, to date, they seem to be - HIPAA is doing the trick. But I do worry about encroachment; about the creation of national DNA databanks for purely benign medical purposes that eventually end up accessible by law enforcement. Cause how do you cram that genie back into the bottle?

As long as I'm indicriminately ranting about stuff that scares me, sharks are right up there. I was born in Wichita, so go figure, but gah! Sharks.

Phelan said...

Maybe it will be good for me to have you around. You can calm me down when I get e-mails about NAIS that freak me out! HA! Sometimes I can get a little excited, and need to be told I am making no sense. Especially when it comes to some like losing my basic rights to homestead.

Sharks in Kansas? We do have land sharks, as my younger brother will tell you {had to get stitches when he was younger told the er doc a shark bit him}

I found a story from 2005, it's not the same story. Will have to do some more digging. It was a volunteer chipping in Florida. Still I was pregnant at the time and was freaking out. Won't let my newborn out of my site. Then with my last son I was worried about them drawing blood and circumcision. They allowed me to stay in the room while they did it, but who knows what happens in the lab now-a-days. I am glad that I will not be having anymore children.

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