The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has been alleged as a three component program, however now a fourth component facade is starting to reveal itself.
The first step of NAIS is premises enrollment, next animal identification, and then coast to coast 48 hour animal tracing.
USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Bruce I. Knight has promised that the NAIS program is easy to enroll and totally voluntary on the federal level, “if . . . enough livestock owners enroll so it does not have to go mandatory.”
The NAIS program has distributed thousands of “selling” USDA press releases quoting Knight. The constant controversy of NAIS has placed the Knight name among the top ten Internet bureaucrats according to Google, with Bruce Knight or Bruce I. Knight showing up over 17,000,000 times.
The fourth Component is meticulously touched by Knight, “If USDA decides to make all or parts of the NAIS mandatory, APHIS will follow the normal rulemaking process.” With rules, laws, inspections, taxes, regulations, or licensing comes the fourth component......Enforcement.
Enforcement of NAIS is not a happy subject especially when the first component is still not setting well with the majority of producers. However, it is a dead serious issue for animal owners who want to know what new enforcements are involved, and their price tag, before they permanently enroll.
In 2007 the US spent nearly one trillion dollars (from taxes and borrowed funds) in regulation enforcements, policing, investigations, and mandatory compliances. Although this was a huge expense to the citizenry, the fines, collections, penalties, licenses, fees and private property confiscations from all law violations was an equally swelling amount; a number impossible to locate from federal published data.
The current “rule making process” for USDA is found on line at Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute, U.S. Code., Title 7 >Chapter 109> 8313. Penalties. #8313
(b) Civil Penalties, (1) In general (A)
(i) $50,000 in the case of any individual, except that the civil penalty may not exceed $1000 in the case of an initial violation of this chapter by an individual moving regulated articles not for monetary gain;
(ii) $250,000 in the case of any other person for each violation; and
(iii) $500,000 for all violations adjudicated in a single proceeding.
Penalties appropriate to the violation is a cornerstone fundamental of the US judicial system. Enforcement is totally capricious with USDA. One could be fined in county court $1000 for a 70 mph speed violation through a school zone, yet $50,000 for crossing a state line with one number incorrect on a USDA issued livestock health certificate—for a perfectly healthy child’s pony! Dr. Max Thornsberry, President of R-CALF USA says, “The USDA is a run away agency out of control, with total disregard for U.S. citizens.”
Producers have been mystified by the massive amount of grants and funds (cooperative agreements) doled by USDA to get NAIS closer to full mandatory mode. The nearly $150,000,000 invested to promote enrollment looks large, but ..... it would only take 300 violations of $500,000 each to quickly earn it back.
US leaders watch other government trends closely in creating new laws and taxation. Europe has been a leader in pioneering thought for US policy. Government animal numbering systems have been urged in a few countries prior to the marketing of NAIS in the US. Australia is the only country to have implemented electronic tagging and tracking as is proposed by the USDA. Australia is a prototype for enforcement also.
Stephen Blair, a Director of the Angus Society of Australia was recently fined $17,300. He was prosecuted by Australian Minister McDonald for moving cattle from one of his ranches wearing ear tags from his other ranch to a livestock auction. No diseased or stolen livestock were involved. It was a matter of a government rule violation. This is a small example of the enforcement USDA could wield over US livestock producers if NAIS was exacted mandatory.
Part of the title for Bruce Knight, is “REGULATORY PROGRAMS.” This probably helps explain his tigerish priorities for the income generating fourth component of NAIS—ENFORCEMENTS.
USDA enforcements are now, and will be a coerced obligation of all licensed USDA veterinarians. Vets will be required to report all non compliance of their valued clients or be subject to immediate licensing reviews. The USDA/APHIS policing division is the Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES) with headquarters in Raleigh, NC; Fort Collins, CO; and Riverdale, MD. IES boasts of increasing thousands of “clients” with a 51% increase in case load and “more than a threefold increase in the dollar value of civil penalties” in one recent year. To enforce the ever increasing number of regulations, the government seeks to make ordinary citizens into their enforcers. Even today all neighbors, farm employees and friend or foe associates are encouraged on the IES web site to “Report potential violations, please contact IES.” Wisconsin tried to use bulk milk haulers to enforce NAIS against Amish dairy farmers in 2007. The Fourth Component is operational and extremely aggressive.
The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) printed an information flyer to dispel negative NAIS exaggerations. Question: Reports say you’re going to charge $1000 a day for not participating if it is mandatory. Answer: The TAHC is a regulatory agency and has administrative penalty provisions in it’s law as a recourse for persons who refuse to comply.
The Fourth Component is Enforcements It can be disastrously expensive. The majority of US livestock producers don’t like the thought of imprisonment and exorbitant fines.
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