Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't Make Dairy Goats Wear Eartags (or Stop NAIS)

If you are not aware of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), it’s time to learn about it so you can join the chorus to save small farms (and dairy goats.) A hearing on it today makes it appear more likely that it will become a mandatory program, harming farmers, spending unnecessary US dollars and enriching the coffers of Digital Angel, a maker of RFID tags. The large dairy organizations, as well as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), are in support of the program. And why not? They can afford a system for animal tracking that will have a disproportionate financial impact on small farmers.

I am wondering whether we small farmer opponents may strategically have missed the boat, however. (That’s assuming that we had any chance against the big boys.) Rather than focusing our comments on and objections to the program as a whole, perhaps we should instead have made a concerted effort to get our legislators to write in an exemption for small farms (we can haggle over how that is defined).

This one-size-fits-all program that is being pushed through may end up having the opposite effect of what its proponents claim it will have: When those with only a few animals go underground, feeling that their rights are being violated and fearing that the government may kill the stock of their animals and their neighbors’, we will have even less of a tracking system than we do now.

One thing is for sure: The attorneys are guaranteed to stay in business if this passes. More than one lawsuit will be spawned as a result of its overreaching impact and violation of rights.

For a discussion of today’s testimony and links to the complete testimony, see La Vida Locavore.

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