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Quote of the Day: "Increasingly, we are seeing consumers join forces with farmers in letting the USDA know that NAIS is not a solution for animal health, food safety or food security." - Judith McGeary
SUBJECT: Time to slaughter NAIS
The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is the sickly runt of the Big Government's herd of programs. It's time to put it out of its misery.
NAIS was a bad idea from the start . . .
- it addresses a "problem" of animal disease control that current laws and agencies already cover
- it forces small family farms to put ID tags on each animal at their own expense, something factory farms are not required to do
- even though factory farms are at greater risk of disease outbreaks than are smaller farms, and most contamination occurs at the slaughterhouse
- it would raise the price of food
- through computer hacking and counterfeit RFID tags, NAIS actually makes our food supply more vulnerable to terrorists and other criminals
No wonder, then, that NAIS has faced substantial resistance, especially since the program has already wasted $142 million since 2004 . . .
- initial plans to make it mandatory were scrapped (although the USDA encouraged states to make it mandatory, and a few have)
- the USDA has fiddled with numbers to suggest that 35% of farms and homes with livestock have been registered. The real number is probably closer to 10%
- registrations increased by just 3% last year
- on a nationwide "listening tour" about NAIS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is hearing 90% of farmers demand that NAIS should be killed
Congress is angry about this lack of progress. The good news is that the House Agriculture Appropriations subcomittee has de-funded NAIS for 2010.
The bad news is that Congress is angry for the wrong reasons. Their real purpose is to inject the NAIS runt with growth hormones by making the program mandatory - despite the overwhelming opposition. Both subcommittee chair Rosa DeLauro and House Ag Committee Chair Clint Peterson view zeroing-out NAIS as a lever to force the USDA to make NAIS mandatory.
Please notice the disturbing fact that an Executive Branch bureaucracy has the power to make something mandatory. This is the tale wagging the dog. Only Congress should have the power to make anything mandatory. This is more evidence that we need DownsizeDC.org's Write the Laws Act (WTLA).
In any case, the subcommittee's ruling is not final. NAIS funding could be reinstated at a later stage of the budget process.
Now is the time to overwhelm Congress and the USDA demanding that they slaughter the NAIS program, not only for this year, but for all time. Please send Congress a message telling them that.
In your personal comments, mention the reasons expressed above about why NAIS is a bad idea. Also tell them:
- We the people believe family farmers know better how to run their own businesses than do either Congress or the USDA
- The American people stand with the family farmers, who overwhelmingly oppose NAIS
The USDA is also accepting comments on NAIS. Please help convince them that NAIS is bad for America and that the American people, not just farmers, are against it. You can do so by going to regulations.gov's NAIS page and clicking a comment balloon. To see how we're growing, please see our Keeping Score section below my signature.
Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.
Assistant to the President