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Monday, October 09, 2006

Another Form Letter Morning

I have come to the conclusion that the author of this form letter was drunk, that or a little ticked off about repeating himself.

Dear Mrs. Phelan
Thanks for your comment regarding a national animal identification system. I appreciate your taking the time to write on this important topic.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have taken steps to prevent the spread of animal borne diseases. Among the initiatives announced by Secretary of Agriculture is the establishment of a national animal identification system (NAIS) The system is constructed of three parts: registering the premises within the state, identification for groups of animals in a lot, and animal tracking. The purpose of this regulation is to track animals facing contagious disease back to their original herd. This allows the USDA to minimize the effect quickly and quarantine the animal. USDA officials have indicated that the system is currently voluntary, but will be mandatory in the future.

The USDA recognizes that it may not be feasible or cost effective for a producer to identify each animal. Therefore, current guidelines allow for group/lot identification for both large- and small- scale producers, whose animals move as a group through the production chain. In addition, the USDA does not recommend or endorse any particular method of identification, such as microchip, leg band or ear tag. Instead, the USDA will defer to producers to decide which method of identification is the best and most cost efficient for their animals.

I have long states that any national animal identification program should be based upon he recommendations of producers and not a top-down mandate issued by the Congress of some federal agency. The Current NAIS voluntary participation period is aimed at cooperatively developing the most efficient system possible. To this end, the USDA is soliciting comments and suggestions from producers. Additionally, the Senate Agriculture Committee has held several oversight hearings on animal identification issues.

Again, thank you for writing. You may rest assured, I will keep your comment handy as the committee continues oversight on this important issue.

If you would like more information on issues before the Senate, please visit my website at You may also sign up on my home page for a monthly electronic newsletter that will provide additional update on my work for Kansas.

With every best wish,

Pat Roberts
* * *
Question, what animal is not facing a disease? According to this letter, if an animal might, someday, have a disease, they will be tracked back to the original herd, and quarantined. Does that mean every animal that will be introduced to our food chain will be quarantined before slaughter?

I hadn't heard that the USDA is willing to allow us to use which ever tag we want to. Why then is this even necessary when producers already use ear tags and leg bands? Oh, wait, homesteaders don't always use them. Their animals aren't moved off land. Unless you want to count their freezers as off land. Some do sell or trade, and even gift to their family. But if that's the reason to tag, they need to tag all hunted animals as well. They end up in our food supply.

Call me dense, but I am unsure what this even means: I will keep your comment handy as the committee continues oversight on this important issue. They have a committee that its only job is to continue an unintentional failure to notice or do something?

How about instead of NAIS we inspect slaughter houses more often? Make tighter regulations on how cattle in feed lots are treated. Oh and I don't know, maybe stop feeding vegetarian animals leftover slaughter house scraps? We could always stop buying from Cargill and Walmart who are big supporters of this. I wonder what's in it for them if the family farm ends up unable to afford NAIS?

any thoughts?

and HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all my Canadian friends!


Cheryl said...

Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes, Phelan!

UKBob said...

If you have to have all your cattle tagged and registered does that mean they won't be importing meat produces from countries that don't operate a similar scheme?

yank said...

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Phelan said...

Cheryl, you're welcome. Sounds like you guys had a good time.

UKBob, one would think. I don't know for sure. What I do know is that they are importing birds from areas that have known avian flu outbreaks. Selling them to the public, and not labeling what country they are from.

Yank, thanks.

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