Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NAIS opponents seek to end program

Animal ID opponents still seek end to program
by North Platte Bulletin Staff - 11/23/2009

A 100-group coalition -- in letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and to Congress -- urges that the National Animal Identification System be dissolved completely and that all 100 organizations look forward to working with USDA “…to enhance our nation’s animal disease preparedness in a manner that builds upon our past successes and respects the interests of U.S. livestock producers and consumers.”

In the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress reduced NAIS funding to $5.3 million, but did not specify how those funds were to be allocated.

The letter to Congress, sent Nov. 18, asks to “…support the limited use of NAIS funding to shut down the program, and to refocus the agency on measures that truly improve animal health.”

The 100 groups recommend that USDA:

-- Formally withdraw all pending rulemaking initiated by the agency to advance NAIS and pay the associated costs;

-- Pay all existing contractual obligations and NAIS-related costs that USDA incurred prior to Sept. 30, 2009;

-- Pay all costs associated with transferring the computer hardware acquired by USDA as part of NAIS to state animal health agencies, to enable state agencies to improve their ability to communicate among agencies in the event of a disease outbreak; and,

-- Pay all costs associated with providing the people of the United States and Congress with an official, comprehensive report on all of the testimony USDA received at each of the NAIS listening sessions held throughout the country in 2009.

“We urge this course of action because, contrary to its stated purposes, NAIS will not address animal disease or food safety problems,” the letter states. “Instead, NAIS imposes high costs and paperwork burdens on family farmers and create incentives for corporate-controlled confined animal feeding operations and vertically integrated systems.”

Full story and coalition list ...