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Proposed Animal ID Program Alarms Livestock Owners

30 March 2007

US - Livestock and horse owners are confused and concerned about the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) voluntary participation program, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

The NAIS is an information system that tracks livestock and producers. Under the program, livestock owners register their premises, apply for a USDA-recognized identification number that is attached physically to each of their animals, and choose an animal-tracking database (ATD) for tracing individual animals or group/lot movements.

According to the USDA, the purpose of this program is to help protect livestock and poultry from disease spread, maintain consumer confidence in the food supply, and to retain access to domestic and foreign markets. Many farmers and ranchers disagree.

The fears of these wary livestock owners are the cost of fees, tags, equipment, time, and their property and animals being subject to constant federal and state government surveillance.

Karla Welsh owns Turtle Mound Farm, a once prosperous goat dairy farm near Sparks. Welsh has sold her goats due to economics and the threat of NAIS.

“I have been passing out flyers and notifying everyone I can think of about this (NAIS) program. It's ridiculous to expect livestock owners to comply, especially the smaller, independent farmers and ranchers. How can we be expected to report even the smallest of movements of our livestock? A chicken goes onto someone's property and we have to contact the government? We don't have the time or the money,” Welsh said. “People need to stand up and scream ‘no' to their representatives before ‘voluntary' becomes mandatory.”

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Source: Countywide News

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