DownsizeDC.org
March 10, 2009
Our prediction comes true
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day: "Everything not specifically prohibited is mandatory." -- the fundamental principle of government

Subject: Our prediction comes true

The Congressional war against small business continues. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 875) will create a new food safety bureaucracy, and require a "traceability" program for "food production facilities and food establishments."

These new regulations will drive many small farms and restaurants out of business. Big Business can afford the compliance costs and will benefit from the reduced competition as smaller firms go bankrupt. Consumers will face fewer choices and higher prices, but will we really get safer food in return, and will it really be worth the cost?

Congress would have to know a lot of things that probably can't be known in order to evaluate this question, but they're charging ahead anyway, re-engineering society on the backs of small business owners.

Part of the bill's intent is to absorb already-existing food-tracking programs. Section 210 (d)(4) says the new food-tracking system must be "consistent with existing statutes and regulations that require record-keeping or labeling for identifying the origin or history of food or food animals," including "the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) as authorized by the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002 (AHPA)."

The contention that NAIS was authorized by the AHPA is wrong. NAIS implementation has never been authorized by any Congressional legislation. It's a bureaucratic initiative.

This false assumption gives NAIS the aura of Congressional approval. Instead . . .

This is another step on the road to converting NAIS from a "voluntary" program to a mandatory one. This is exactly what we predicted three years ago when we launched our anti-NAIS campaign.

H.R. 875 is a de facto "authorization" of NAIS. It makes the penalties laid out in the AHPA applicable to participants of NAIS. It also presumes that NAIS can be "required," or made mandatory for all owners of livestock and poultry -- even exotic pets.

Up until now Congress has largely ignored NAIS, but Rep. David Obey, who introduced the Omnibus Appropriations Act, included $14.5 million for additional NAIS funding and has specifically expressed his intent that the money will be used to implement NAIS aggressively according to the USDA's September 2008 Business Plan (written by bureaucrats as well).

This plan includes:

  • Forcing cattle owners to use NAIS "840" RFID (radio frequency identification) tags when they participate in vaccination programs
  • Increasing compliance in the sheep and goat industries through new regulations and "increased emphasis on enforcement."
  • Requiring premise registration for horse owners who must submit their horses for EIA testing
  • 98% compliance by July 2009 for poultry and swine
  • 90% compliance by July 2009 for horses, sheep, and goats
  • 60% compliance by Oct 2010 for cattle

These figures reflect the USDA's goal of near-total control of every aspect of the livestock industry.

Such control isn't possible without aggressive, heavy-handed means. There's already enough opposition to NAIS to make those targets impossible. That means farmers that don't comply will be run out of business.

Many who do comply will lose their businesses because of the compliance cost. 

This issue is important right now because a hearing is scheduled on H.R. 875 on Wednesday, March 11. Please check the list in the P.S. to see if your Represenative serves on the committee, and if they do, please call them.

For the rest of you, we need to prepare the Congress to vote against H.R. 875 should it get out of committee. Use our simple Educate the Powerful System to . . .

  • Tell your Representative and Senators to strip NAIS from any pending legislation
  • Tell them to introduce legislation to abolish the program entirely

Thank you for being a part of the growing Downsize DC Army.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

P.S. The subcommittee members are . . .

Joe Baca (D-CA), (p): 202-225-6161
Leonard Boswell (D-IA), (p): 202-225-3806
Dennis Cardoza (D-CA), (p): 202-225-6131
K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), (p): 202-225-3605
Jim Costa (D-CA), (p): 202-225-3341
Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), (p): 202-225-5431
Tim Holden (D-PA), (p): 202-225-5546
Steve Kagen (D-WI), (p): 202-225-5665
Steve King (R-IA), (p): 202-225-4426
Frank Kratovil, Jr. (D-MD), (p): 202-225-5311
Betsy Markey (D-CO), (p): 202-225-4676
Walt Minnick (D-ID), (p): 202-225-6611
Randy Neugebauer (Ranking Minority Member), (R-TX), (p): 202-225-4005
Mike Rogers (R-AL), (p):  202-225-3261
David P. Roe (R-TN), (p): 202-225-6356
David Scott (Subcommittee Chair), (D-GA), (p): 202-225-2939
Adrian Smith (R-NE), (p): 202-225-6435

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