DownsizeDC.org
February 9, 2010
VICTORY! NAIS Is Dead!
By James Wilson

For four years DC Downsizers joined with other organizations and countless farmers to oppose the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

Finally, the USDA saw the writing on the wall. It is scrapping NAIS!

The USDA still has plans for an animal tracing system, but it is to apply only to animals moving in interstate commerce, meaning . . .

* animal owners won't have to file a report every time an animal leaves their property, whereas under NAIS horseback riders, for instance, would have had to file a report every time they went for a ride
* there will be no premise registration
* those who raise animals for personal consumption or to sell in local markets won't be part of the new regulatory system

Moreover, the new system promises . . .

* to focus entirely on animal disease traceability; bogus NAIS justifications such as "terrorism" have been scrapped
* "allow for maximum flexibility for states, tribal nations, and producers to work together to find identification solutions that meet their local needs"
* encourage low-cost technology; alternatives such as old-fashioned branding will most likely be accepted, instead of expensive RFID tags
* local and organic farmers will be represented

We at DownsizeDC.org are realists. We anticipate that as the new system takes shape, new concerns will arise. But think about what just happened . . .

The government ended a program because the people did not tolerate it.

We the people DO have the power.

We used this power to bring a significant victory for pet owners and livestock producers.

Now, let's use this power to protect farmers from another threat.

You see, a dangerous "food safety" bill passed the House last year and could be voted on in the Senate at any time. Please tell Congress to scrap this legislation.

You may borrow from or copy this letter . . .

H.R. 2749 and the Senate's S. 510 go overboard in their attempt to keep food safe.

* they burden farmers and small food producers with FDA inspections and hefty fees and fines - even though food contamination scares have originated from large industrial processors
* several requirements duplicate and override what is already done at the state level
* Congress's constitutional authority is limited to interstate commerce, yet no distinction is made between producers who distribute food in interstate commerce and those who do not

Lastly, there is no evidence Congress or the Administration actually believe unsafe food is a serious or urgent threat to public health. If it was, you could have made the case to the American people a year ago and passed a bill. Instead, you set aside the issue entirely to focus on long-term issues like climate change and healthcare, both of which will take several years to implement.

I insist that you scrap this legislation. Any food safety bill you do pass should address what actually went wrong at large, corporate-owned processing plants. Do not punish small farmers and small businesses.

END LETTER

You may send your letter through DownsizeDC.org's Educate the Powerful System.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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