USDA's Mandatory Property and Animal Surveillance Program

"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way
its animals are treated" - Gandhi
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 461
Joined: 25 Dec 2003, 09:58
Location: North America

USDA's Mandatory Property and Animal Surveillance Program

Postby linn » 27 Oct 2005, 09:12

Why You Should Oppose the USDA's Mandatory Property and Animal Surveillance Program
by herdsire
Sun Oct 16, 2005 at 09:12:23 PM PDT
(reprint of article by Mary Zanoni, Ph.D., contact info at the end)

Poultry fanciers and keepers of small flocks are facing a grave threat from a proposed government intrusion into their innocent choice of pastimes and way of life.

For several years, the USDA has been working with the largest-scale animal industry organizations (for example, the National Pork Producers, Monsanto Company, and Cargill Meat) to develop a mandatory "National Animal Identification System" ("NAIS").

However, most small scale livestock producers, people who raise animals for their own food, and people who keep horses or livestock as companion animals do not know about the USDA's plans.

The NAIS will drive small producers out of the market, will make people abandon raising animals for their own food, will invade Americans' personal privacy to a degree never before tolerated, will violate the religious freedom of Americans whose beliefs make it impossible for them to comply, and will erase the last vestiges of animal welfare from the production of animal foods.

The Problem

On April 25, 2005, the USDA released "Draft Program Standards" ("St.") and a "Draft Strategic Plan" ("Plan") concerning the NAIS. If you think the description below sounds too bizarre to be true, please go here, read the Standards and Plan, and check the citations:

By January 1, 2008, the NAIS will be mandatory. (Plan, pp. 2, 10, 17.)

Every person who owns even one horse, cow, pig, chicken, sheep, pigeon, or virtually any livestock animal, will be forced to register their home, including owner's name, address, and telephone number, and keyed to Global Positioning System coordinates for satellite monitoring, in a giant federal database under a 7-digit "premises ID number." (St., pp. 3-4, 10-12; Plan, p. 5.)

Every animal will have to be assigned a 15-digit ID number, also to be kept in a giant federal database. The form of ID will most likely be a tag or microchip containing a Radio Frequency Identification Device, designed to be read from a distance. (Plan, p. 10; St., pp. 6, 12, 20, 27-28.)

The plan may also include collecting the DNA of every animal and/or a retinal scan of every animal. (Plan, p.13.)

The owner will be required to report: the birthdate of an animal, the application of every animal's ID tag, every time an animal leaves or enters the property, every time an animal loses a tag, every time a tag is replaced, the slaughter or death of an animal, or if any animal is missing. Such events must be reported within 24 hours. (St., pp. 12-13, 17-21.)

Third parties, such as veterinarians, will be required to report "sightings" of animals. (St., p. 25.) In other words, if you call a vet to your property to treat your horse, cow, or any other animal, and the vet finds any animal without the mandatory 15-digit computer-readable ID, the vet may be required to report you.

If you do not comply, the USDA will exercise "enforcement" against you. (St., p. 7; Plan, p. 17.) The USDA has not yet specified the nature of "enforcement," but presumably it will include imposing fines and/or seizing your animals.

There are no exceptions -- under the USDA plan, you will be forced to register and report even if you raise animals only for your own food or keep horses for draft or for transportation.

The Negative Effects

Eradication of Small Farms - People with just a few meat animals or 40-cow dairies are already living on the edge financially. The USDA plan will force many of them to give up farming.

Loss of the True Security of Organic and Local Foods - The NAIS is touted by the USDA and agricorporations as a way to make our food supply "secure" against diseases or terrorism. However, most people instinctively understand that real food security comes from raising food yourself or buying from a local farmer you actually know. The USDA plan will only kill off more local sources of production and further promote the giant industrial methods which cause many food safety and disease problems.

Extreme Damage to Personal Privacy - Legally, livestock animals are a form of personal property. It is unprecedented for the United States government to conduct large-scale computer-aided surveillance of its citizens simply because they own a common type of property. (The only exceptions are registration of motor vehicles and guns, due to their clear inherent dangers - but they are registered at the state level, not by the federal government.) The NAIS would actually subject the owner of a chicken to far more surveillance than the owner of a gun. Surveillance of small-scale livestock owners is like the government subjecting people to surveillance for owning a couch, a TV, a lawnmower.

What about non-livestock animals?

Will the government next want to register all cats, dogs, and parakeets, and demand the global positioning coordinates of their owners' houses and apartments?

Insult to Animal Welfare - The NAIS is the ultimate objectification of higher, sensitive living creatures, treating individual animals as if they were cans of peas with a bar code. Many people who raise their own animals or buy from small, local producers do so because they are very troubled by industrial-scale production of chickens, cattle, and pigs. These people will be forced either to sacrifice their personal privacy to government surveillance, or to stop raising their own food by humane standards.

Burden on Religious Freedom - Many adherents of plain (and other) faiths raise their own food animals and use animals in farming and transportation because their beliefs require them to live this way. Such people obviously cannot comply with the USDA's computerized, technology-dependent system. The NAIS will force these people to violate their religious beliefs.

What You Can Do

Small-scale keepers of poultry and other livestock can take action to create an effective movement in opposition to the USDA/agricorporate plan. First, small-scale livestock owners should not participate in any so-called "voluntary" state or federal program to register farms or animals. The USDA is using farmers' supposed willingness to enter a "voluntary" program as a justification for making the program mandatory. (See Plan, "Executive Summary" and pp. 7-8.)

Small farmers and livestock owners can also help inform and organize others. The USDA presently does not plan to finalize its rules for mandatory ID until the summer of 2006. There is still time to oppose this plan.

Several farmers and other concerned citizens have joined together to form FARM for LIFETM, a public-interest organization to support the rights of small and subsistence farmers and consumers of organic, natural, and local foods. FARM for LIFE's first project is to stop the USDA plan for mandatory animal ID.

The organization will publish a newsletter three times a year (first publication scheduled for November 1, 2005), to inform citizens of developments concerning animal ID and other issues vital to the small farming and natural/organic food communities. Newsletter subscribers will also be sent information at appropriate times on how to contact lawmakers and the USDA to oppose animal ID. In addition, FARM for LIFETM will coordinate with other existing interest groups to mount an effective campaign against animal ID.

Please help STOP animal ID and support FARM for LIFETM by subscribing to the newsletter: $25 Individual Subscription (1 year), $40 Institutional Subscription (1 year), Please help with an additional donation in any amount. Make your check payable to "Farm for Life" and mail to: Farm for Life, PO Box 501, Canton, New York 13617.


I have reprinted this article by:

Mary Zanoni, Ph.D. (Cornell), J.D. (Yale),
Executive Director of Farm for LifeTM
P.O. Box 501, Canton, New York 13617

Email: [email protected]

Veteran Member
Veteran Member
Posts: 326
Joined: 31 Dec 2003, 15:53
Location: North America

Postby Paulo » 28 Oct 2005, 21:16

Wow Linn,
This news sure is giving me flashbacks on totalitarian regimes! The same manipulations are carried on on those places.
Interesting enough... today I thought of a new right before I had ever read this article: "The right to arm bears should not be infringed."


Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
Posts: 461
Joined: 25 Dec 2003, 09:58
Location: North America

Support the Right to Arm Bears

Postby linn » 02 Nov 2005, 09:56

Paulo wrote:Interesting enough... today I thought of a new right before I had ever read this article: "The right to arm bears should not be infringed."

Speaking of arming bears ...

Support the Right to Arm Bears
Nov 1, 2005, 00:30

Last week's local section of The Washington Post celebrated -- yes, celebrated -- the killing of a black bear by an 8-year-old girl. The compassionate among us mourned not just the cruel and completely unnecessary killing of one of nature's most fabulous creatures, but the love of violence and destruction instilled in this child by her family.

That certain Americans sadly find valor in killing is beyond doubt. But in many ways, it's also beyond belief. That they would take pleasure in a wantonly destructive act and train this into an 8-year-old female heart is beyond forgiveness.

We've heard it all before. Hunters love nature. Hunters work to preserve wildlife. Hunters are great stewards of the environment. Hunters eat what they kill. What was the justification here? That enough bears exist in Maryland to kill them off without destroying the species, as mankind once almost did. Only cowards could find solace, justification and pride in that.

There's no sport in taking down a large, lumbering animal with a .243 caliber rifle, the kind used by the young girl portrayed in worshipful prose by the Post. That's the same caliber weapon NATO uses in its assault weapons. There's more technology than sport in today's high-powered, scoped weapons. (The Post did not report whether the rifle she used was scoped or not.)

I've sat in the Maryland woods and watched deer saunter by, totally unaffected by my presence. I've watched grizzlies, mothers and cubs, in Alaska's Denali National Park. If destruction of their lives had been my goal, the task would have been simple. Nothing to laud, any more than the lauding of fecklessness itself.

A week or so ago, I drove down a dirt road through a 200-acre farm along the Chesapeake Bay. I passed two hunters, all dressed up in fatigues, rifles in hand, apparently waiting for some prey to pass close by. They looked more like overgrown school boys in arrested development than men.

Despite all this, the Post described the state's first bear kill of the season in glorified terms: "There's a new hunting legend in the mountains of Western Maryland. Born to the woods, she's 4 1/2 feet tall and 8 years old, with a shock of light brown hair and a steady trigger finger that put two bullets into a black bear's chest cavity Monday, according to her and her father and granduncle, who were hunting with her."

That her family's prideful recitation of the facts included the nugget she "skipped school" to take part in the hunt clues us into their hierarchy of values: fake machismo over education. Sad, sad, sad.

Perhaps because there are few satisfying wars to fight anymore (what true war hero would stack, for example, Iraq up against World War II?), the testosterone-challenged among us now need to vent their need to destroy one of nature's most stunning creations. It's sad enough when that false sense of power is visited on boys. It's sadder still when it's foisted on young girls.

It's almost as horrific as the latest blend of technology and feckless machismo: Internet hunting. Some skewed mind devised a system that mounts a rifle and a camera onto a platform pointed at caged creatures. With a click of a computer mouse, "bang, bang" and the creature is destroyed. Congress is considering a bill (and so are several states, including Texas, Michigan and Minnesota) that would ban the interstate practice of same, which proponents defend as a way of allowing the disabled to hunt. Methinks the disabled have more important things to do.

There's a special place in the afterlife for worshipers of the cruel, for those who feign strength by destroying life.

(Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail bonnieerbe(at) ... 7600.shtml

Return to “Animals”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests