I am a [insert livestock producer and/or consumer] from [insert your town and state] and I urge you to reject the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
NAIS is government intrusion at its worst. It is un-American for Congress and USDA to force each U.S. farmer and rancher to register with, and report to, the federal government their real property, the number and species of livestock they own, the number of animals produced from each year’s production, and the date and location where their livestock are located or moved – even when their livestock are not moved in interstate commerce or sold for human consumption. With few exceptions, no other segment of America’s free enterprise system is subject to such a heightened level of direct government surveillance.
USDA and Congress are using fear tactics to justify NAIS. They claim the U.S. is behind other countries in disease preparedness and cannot effectively control and eradicate animal diseases. This is absurd. The U.S. veterinary infrastructure is the envy of the world. For decades, U.S. livestock producers worked with their local veterinarians, state veterinarians, and regional and national USDA veterinarians to make the U.S. livestock herd the healthiest herd in the world. It is dishonest and irresponsible to assert the U.S. is second behind any other country in its ability to prevent, control and eradicate animal diseases.
The problem NAIS is supposed to solve is not real; it is speculative. The U.S. has controlled every disease ever to enter the United States. If this were not true, why did USDA significantly cut back its BSE surveillance testing and why does the agency allow the importation of Mexican cattle known to continually reintroduce bovine tuberculosis into the United States? Congress refuses to address the real disease problems facing U.S. livestock producers and consumers. The massive meat recalls involving millions of pounds of meat were not caused by U.S. livestock producers; they were caused by unsanitary conditions at U.S. and foreign slaughterhouses. The 2003 mad cow disease case in an imported cow that closed U.S. export markets was not caused by U.S. livestock producers. It was caused by USDA’s failure to restrict Canadian imports after Canada discovered its first case of mad cow disease in 1993.
Rather than prevent the introduction of foreign animal diseases by strengthening our border restrictions and addressing the actual source of meat contamination by enforcing food safety standards in U.S. and foreign slaughterhouses, Congress and USDA intend to impose the most onerous regulatory regime imaginable upon U.S. livestock producers.
Please stop NAIS and work with R-CALF USA to develop a sensible plan that would benefit livestock producers by improving our already effective disease prevention, control, and eradication programs.
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