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Guest Column

Fax Storm Against NAIS
By Walter Jeffries
Feb 22, 2006 - 3:37:00 PM

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Wednesday, February 22nd was Washington's real birthday. In honor of General George Washington who became the first President of our brand new liberated nation, I urge you to contact your local radio stations as well as national radio station personalities to let them know the danger that the USDA's National Animal Identification System (NAIS) poses to our liberties. Let them know that you want them to address the issue of why is the government stealing away our rights with programs like NAIS, PAWS, REAL ID, and the Patriot Act.

Are you familiar with NAIS? Let me give you a little background. The USDA wants to register the GPS coordinates, name, address, phone and other data on every farm, home and other location that has even has a single animal with a government Premise ID. For this privilege of mandatory registration you will pay a fee of $10 or more per year. Next they intend to tag every single one of your animals with a RFID or other tag. This will be mandatory. In addition to paying an annual fee and paying for tags for all of your animals, you would also be required to log, track and report all 'events' such as the birth of an animal, death of an animal, animals leaving or entering your property. All reports must be made within 24 hours or you could face stiff fines. Do not expect them to keep your private information secure. In a little "Oops" the USDA just released the social security numbers of 350,000 farmers.

Big producers like factory farms get to use a single batch ID for tens of thousands of animals to keep their costs down. For them NAIS is a minor bookkeeping entry that gives them big profits in the export markets to Japan and other countries. Small farmers and homesteaders with their mixed aged flocks and herds would be required to tag and track every single individual animal. NAIS is great for big corporate producers and hellish for small farmers and homesteaders. The cost of NAIS in fees, tags, equipment costs and time will bankrupt small farmers and overwhelm people who raise their own food animals. In the end, the consumer will pay - NAIS could add almost a thousand dollars a year to the annual food budget for the typical family of four. By destroying small producers NAIS will kill the Slow Food and the Buy Local movements, as local farmers are driven out of business.

NAIS is already mandatory in some states starting this year including Texas and Wisconsin. In other states, like Vermont, the agricultural commissioner and state vet have said they will tag and track every animal right down to the back yard level. This means everyone, even granny with her one laying hen is going to have to get a $10 per year premise ID, a RFID tag for her chicken and make government reports on its movements. Texas has implemented a $1,000 per incident per day fine non-compliance. What small farmer or homesteader can stand up to that kind of fire power?!?

NAIS also requires tagging and tracking of pets and guardian animals including alpaca and horses. It may later likely be extended to cats and dogs although that has not yet been announced it is allowed for in the draft proposal through extensions of the program. In New York state they already have a bill in the legislature requiring that all dogs be internally tagged with RFID chips for tracking purposes.

USDA agents can come to your home and kill all of your livestock without a warrant or any legal appeal under NAIS. Once you are registered into the mandatory NAIS system you effectively lose your rights to your own livestock. You become a serf for the state worse than in Communist Russia. If you do not believe me then please go to the USDA web site and read the draft proposal for NAIS which is already being implemented in stages without public feedback or scrutiny. Check out the timeline - we all must start fighting it now before it is too late. Together we can stop this fascist move to take away our property and livelihoods. We can still protect our traditional rights to farm if we act now.

Is NAIS legal? No, not under our Constitution, but that does not stop the government from implementing bad laws and regulations and then enforcing them. NAIS specifically violates the 1st, 4th, 5th and 14th Amendments and Bill of Rights. The USDA has been very hush-hush about NAIS because they know that if people really understood how far reaching it is, what an outrageous violation of our constitutional rights NAIS is, then people would stop NAIS dead. The USDA has being asking for feedback but only from the large "stakeholders" as they call them. Small farmers don't count. Homesteaders don't matter. Pet owners were completely ignored because none of these groups profit from NAIS.

How could this happen? NAIS was enabled under the Patriot Act. Killing the Patriot Act now will not be enough. Individual states have already enacted NAzIS laws. The Republicans and Democrats are both in on creating the Patriot Act and NAIS in the wake of the terrorism scare of 9/11. Using this theater of fear large corporations jumped at the chance to implement NAIS.

Why would anyone want NAIS? In a word, profits. Remember, always follow the money trail. Large meat exporters are required to provide trace-back documentation for their cattle for export to foreign markets like Japan. Agreements with the European Union are asking for similar tagging and tracking. The big meat packers announced they did not want to deal with two streams of animals, those who were tagged and those that were not so they expanded NAIS to cover all cattle. The RFID tag and equipment industry got excited about this tremendous market. In their greed they wanted NAIS extended to all livestock that might enter the food chain. Then it was extended to non-traditional food animals including horses and guardian animals.

To justify this they now claim that the purpose of NAIS is to prevent disease. It is not. They use Mad Cow (BSE) and Avian Flu (H5N1) scares to justify a program that is about profits. NAIS will not prevent or stop disease. BSE is caused by cows eating cows and it sometimes occurs randomly when a protein misfolds so traceback won't help with BSE. Testing at slaughter and stopping the practice of feeding cows back to cows are the things that will help prevent Mad Cow Disease. Avian Flu comes from wild ducks and other wild water fowl. NAIS will do nothing for either. Confinement rearing also will not help with Avian Flu - several factory chicken farms have been hit by it.

Now there is even a push to extend chipping to pets and even humans both as an implant for "medical records" and as part of the national REAL ID program so the government can better track all people within the United States.

NAIS is about profits for large meat exporters. NAIS is not about disease and has nothing to do with food safety for the American consumer. NAIS will hurt small farmers, homesteaders and pet owners with excessive fees, invasions of privacy, threats of enormous fines and onerous paperwork. It is a clear violation of our Constitutional rights. NAIS will also hurt consumers, even vegetarians because animal manures are used to grow vegetables organically. NAIS will result in the consolidation of our food supply into the hands of fewer large corporations thus making our national food chain more susceptible to attacks by terrorist organizations. The best way to prevent terrorist attacks is diversity and to spread out the food supply. Buy Local! NAIS could even cause the national housing bubble to collapse as small farmers go bankrupt and their prime developable lands get chopped up into subdivisions by developers. The damaging effects of NAIS could ripple through our fragile economy driving us into another great depression as people who supply farmers are put out of work and they stop buying.

What is the solution? NAIS should be made strictly voluntary and the rights of consumers, small farmers, livestock owners, homesteaders and pet owners should be protected from future abuses. If NAIS is such a good idea then the sellers who would benefit from the export markets and other venues requiring traceability will get higher prices so they will voluntarily join the system. There is no need to force it down everyone's throat if it is such a good idea. The very fact that the USDA is planning to make NAIS mandatory proves what a bad idea it really is. Better the carrot than the stick.

For more information about NAIS check out the FAQs at the top of the left hand sidebar and the various additional resources in the right hand sidebar on the www.NoNAIS.org web site.

Speak now while you still have the right. Let your voice be heard across the land. Start to day by contacting your local talk show radio hosts and stations.

"As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances,there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air however slight, least we become unwitting victims of the darkness."

-- Justice William O. Douglas, US Supreme Court (1939-75)

 


 

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