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Edmond, Oklahoma, attorney Harlan Hentges tells us that the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has announced that it would “force youth exhibitors at livestock shows to sign up for a ‘voluntary’ National Animal Identification System.”  That is what the Oklahoma Agriculture Blog (Oklahoma’s Official Agriculture Information Site) says: “Participants in swine shows and exhibits will be required to have an official premise identification card issued by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry effective August 1. Officials say the rule will protect both economic and social interests.” 

Attorney Hentges objects. “Using children to force farmers to do something that is supposed to be ‘voluntary’ is something far worse than NAIS. This use of children to manipulate parents is entirely illegitimate — perhaps it is best described as Orwellian.” 

The Oklahoma ag department argued that it placed the requirement on the young exhibitors as a way to track the possible spread of H1N1 virus (yes, the “swine” flu). Hentges wrote this was a “patently false claim” — false “because the NAIS system is not operational and will not be for years, if ever. (The state) is only getting information.” He adds. “These are not the actions of independent public servants. This is Big Brother.”

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