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Last Updated:
Oct 30th, 2006 - 14:51:30 


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Voices of the Northwest

The National Animal Identification System

Animal Farm--USDA/Corporate Style: Mandatory ID for All?

By Lois Barton

Posted on Oct 30, 2006

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Three years ago the National Institute for Animal Agriculture asked the United States Department of Agriculture to develop an Animal Identification System. Their stated purpose was to find a secure way to control the spread of mad cow disease, foot and mouth disease, avian flue, etc.

Under the USDA and large meat-producing companies the form the plan is taking is for every animal, chicken, rabbit or other domestic livestock to be tagged, given an identification number and the owner identified by name and address. The large companies can register their animals as a group with a single ID. There are details about any movement of said livestock, even if they stray into the neighbors pasture or make a trip to the vet, and a $1000 a day fine for failing to report such movements to the government within 24 hours.

This proposal omits any consideration for private small farmers, 4H stock, or pets. It would create the largest government program in existence. There are already adequate laws governing surveillance, tracking and quarantines of commercial livestock to prevent the spread of animal disease. The following quote is from the May, 2006, issue of Acres U.S.A.

"By January 1, 2008, the NAIS would be mandatory. There are no exceptions; under the USDA plan livestock owners will be forced to register and report even if they raise animals only for their own food or keep horses for draft or for transportation."

The USDA continues to encourage states to implement the plan and some states are doing so despite lack of statutory authority for the federal program. A bill has been introduced into Congress to prohibit transfer of money from the national government to states to fund their supervision of the program. .

Organized opposition to this mega-control plan is developing all around the country. Several web sites offer details and opportunities to be involved in opposing it. Among them are:,,

Another quote from the May, 2005 Acres magazine says, "This is not just an issue for farmers and ranchers; it affects anyone who cares about our food supply... inform people....[make] calls and letters to legislators with carefully researched materials exposing NAIS's flaws."

Even though the current state of affairs contains many suggested revisions and compromises, the wisdom of antagonists contains the information that when the agricultural bills for 2007 come up in Congress next spring, we need to be vigilant for major meat-producing corporation lobbyists who will be on the job.

Copyright ©2006 by Lois Barton

Lois Barton is our versatile correspondent based on Spencer Butte. You may enjoy more of her wide range of writings at West By

Writer and historian
Lois Barton

Lois Barton is an 88 year old mother of eight children. She has lived on the same rural acreage just south of Eugene, Oregon for more than 50 years. All their children learned to milk, to keep the woodboxes filled, to do their share of household and garden chores. Her first book, Spencer Butte Pioneers, was published in 1982 when her youngest started to school. Since then she wrote five other books: Daughter of the Soil, now out of print; One Woman's West; A Quaker Promise Kept; and Through My Window, autobiographical sketches, sequel to Daughter Of the Soil.

Through the years Lois has been a 4H leader, president of the neighborhood association, a precinct committee woman, election board clerk, editor of the Lane County Historian, and a life-long Quaker. She spent a month in Southeast Asia in 1974 as a member of a church peace mission, after working for ten years as director of the Eugene Chapter of the World Without War Council.

Follow the links of the Voices of Spencer Creek for the most recent articles by Lois Barton, including:

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Remembering Bovine Tuberculosis

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: What Is a Quilt?

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Quakers in the British Virgin Islands

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Manta Rays, and Dandelions, A Poem, also introducing Carolann Krohn

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Those Husky Macadamia Nuts

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Fender's Blue, a Nine Day Wonder

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Frannie and the Arrow

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Bhavia's Cambodia

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Saga of the Smoking Chimney

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Saga of Big Oak Stables

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Fishy Story

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Different Peace

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Hal and the Mountain

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: A Rogue River Adventure

Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Obituary for a Country Cat

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Cortesia Sanctuary

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Tree and Me and Lady Slippers

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Cranberries

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Endurance Riding

The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: Butterflies and Community Development

and The Sunnyside of Spencer Butte: The Last Gift.

See more of Lois Barton's articles in West By online magazine's archives:

Visit the Heron Rookery

Sauerkraut and All That

Charlotte's Overdose - Just who is Charlotte and what did she take?

The Midwife–The midnight call awoke an unusual midwife.

The Mystery of Fox Hollow - Fact and fiction meet in this story of the origins of Faith Rock.

Trees, Tame Trees and Squirrel.

© Copyright 2000-2004 by West By

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