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Dear Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee ... NAIS is bad for public health, the environment and farming.

By NFFC and 80 other farming groups  Posted by Linn Cohen-Cole (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)   No comments
Message Linn Cohen-Cole

U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations 
Room S-131, The Capitol 
Washington, DC 20510 
July 15, 2008 
Dear Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee: 
We, the undersigned organizations, urge you to keep appropriations for the School Lunch 
Program separate from the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).  The reason for this 
letter is that the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee included a provision that 
would require USDA to purchase for the School Lunch Program meat products that are derived 
from farms (premises) registered with the NAIS.  This provision undermines the School Lunch 
Program and promotes a flawed policy. 
The House subcommittee provided two reasons for this including provision. The first reason is to 
address public health concerns, specifically related to meat recalls. The second reason is to 
increase participation in the NAIS. Both reasons are fundamentally flawed. 
NAIS is a three-step program that calls for every person who owns even one livestock or poultry 
animal to register their property, tag each animal when it leaves it birthplace, and report a long 
list of movements to a database within 24 hours. The listed species include chickens, horses, 
cows, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, alpacas, elk, deer, bison, turkeys, and more, whether or not the 
animal is used for food. Group or lot identification would only be allowed where animals are 
managed as a group from birth to death and never commingled with animals outside of their 
production system. In practice, group identification would apply mainly, if not entirely, to 
confinement operations (CAFOs) and vertically integrated operations. The stated goal of NAIS is 
to provide 48-hour traceback of all live animal movements. 
NAIS will harm independent farmers and increase the consolidation of our food supply into the 
hands of a few large corporations. The school lunch provision in particular will favor the most 
vertically integrated farms that can easily prove that all their meat is from a NAIS-registered farm, as well as confinement operations that will be able to use group identification under NAIS. 
By creating incentives for CAFOs, the provision will harm both the public health and the 
environment.1 Americans who are increasingly seeking out local and sustainable foods will find 
their ability to obtain these foods limited. 
Linking NAIS to the School Lunch Program will also harm the growing movement of farm-to- school programs, while benefiting only large-scale, confinement operations where food safety 
problems are more likely to occur. The farm-to-school programs help improve children’snutrition while providing family farms with a reliable market. They also promote the local 
economy and environmentally sustainable agriculture, and re-connect children with the source of their food. But many of the small, local farmers who are participating in these programs, or who 
want to participate, are opposed to NAIS. Whether for philosophical reasons or the costs and 
burdens imposed by NAIS, these farmers are unlikely to be able to comply with the provision in 
the appropriations bill. 

 See Doug Gurian Sherman, CAFOs Uncovered: The Untold Costs of Confined Animal Feeding Operations, Union 
of Concerned Scientists (April 2008). 
In the recent Hallmark/Westland beef recall, the fault lies with the packing plant for violating 
existing regulations and with the USDA for failing to properly inspect the plant. “Downer” cows 
were slaughtered and the meat then provided to the School Lunch Program. In the video from the 
Humane Society, every time there was a clear shot of a cow’s left ear, one can see a tag.2 
Changing the type of tag to an NAIS electronic tag would do nothing to address the problem. 
For these reasons, we strongly urge you to not include any provision linking the School Lunch 
Program to NAIS.  Additional background information on why NAIS is a flawed system to 
address food safety is attached. 
We thank you for your consideration. 
Adopt a Farm Family 
America Raw Milk Producers Pricing Association 
American Grassfed Association 
American Land Foundation 
American Policy Center 
Arkansas Animal Producers Association 
California Dairy Campaign 
California Farmers Union 
Carriage Operators of North America 
Catholic Charities, Diocese of Sioux City, IA 
Cattlemen’s Texas Longhorn Registry 
Center for Rural Affairs 
Chez Panisse Foundation (CA) 
Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana 
Citizens for Private Property Rights  - Missouri 
Colorado Independent Cattlegrowers Association 
Community Food Security Coalition 
Cornucopia Institute 
Dakota Rural Action (SD) 
Davis Mountain Trans Pecos Heritage Association (TX) 
Diocese of Jefferson City, MO 
Downsize DC 
Empire State Family Farm Alliance (NY) 
Environmental Conservation Organization 
Equus Survival Trust 
Fair Food Matters (MI) 
Family Farm Defenders 
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance 
Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund 
Federation of Southern Cooperatives 
Focus on Agriculture in Rural Maine Schools (FARMS) 
Food for Maine's Future 
Grassroots International 
Illinois Independent Consumers and Farmers Ass'n 


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Met libertarian and conservative farmers and learned an incredible amount about farming and nature and science, as well as about government violations against them and against us all. The other side of the fence is nothing like what we've been (more...)
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