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A subcommittee of the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing Wednesday on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). (See Yonder stories here and here on NAIS.) Ag Committee chair Rep. Collin Peterson is in favor of a system that would require each farm to tag each animal so that it can be tracked. The theory is that NAIS would help identify outbreaks of disease.
NAIS has generated some very heated opposition. R-CALF president Max Thornsberry testified that his group of ranchers believed NAIS was not effective in preventing the introduction of diseases into the U.S. cattle herd and that the system would be a “colossal failure.” Thornsberry said, “Congress should not allow USDA to supplant these successful programs with an unproven system that is likely to consume more resources in its administration than the agency now spends in the prevention, control and eradication of cattle diseases.”
In today’s New York Times, small farmer Shannon Hayes wrote that NAIS was a “program that would safeguard agribusiness interests would be disproportionately shouldered by small farmers, rural families and consumers of locally produced food. Worse yet, that burden would force many rural Americans to lose our way of life.”