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NAIS - National Animal Identification System



The Senate Agriculture Committee approved the Farm Bill with Section 10305, which defines NAIS and provides exceptions from public disclosure for information collected under NAIS.  This section does not directly implement or mandate NAIS, but it does imply Congressional approval of what the USDA has been doing.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the Farm Bill next week.  After that, it will go to a conference committee with both Senators and Representatives.   Also, sometime in the next two months the Senate will vote on the Agriculture Appropriations bill, which provides funding for NAIS.  So the first priority is to pressure our Senators to take NAIS out of the Farm Bill on the floor.  The second priority is to educate both the Senators and the Representatives about the problems with NAIS generally and the need to stop funding.

1)  Call or fax both of your Senators immediately.  You can find contact information for your Senators at http://www.senate.gov.
MESSAGE 1:  Take Section 10305 out of the Farm Bill because it implies approval of USDA's implementation of NAIS.   Section 10305 also provides false reassurance that the information in the databases will be confidential, when experience has shown that information in databases is vulnerable to both hackers and marketing misuse.
Some reasons NAIS needs to be stopped, not encouraged:

    * There is no evidence that it will improve animal disease control
    * It will not increase food safety, because food contamination happens at the slaughterhouses and processing plants
    * It will cost billions of dollars that individual farmers and our economy cannot afford
    * USDA's implementation of the program, through funding of state programs, has resulted in fraudulent and coercive methods being used to increase registrations.
    * Regardless of the protections in the bill, having the government or private entities compile this information leaves us open to harassment or worse by people who hack into that database or use the information for purposes other than what is intended.

MESSAGE 2: Congress should stop funding NAIS because it is an expensive and intrusive program that will not actually improve animal health or food safety.  Email the staffer a copy of the letter that the Liberty Ark Coalition sent to the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees - you can find it at http://www.libertyark.net/ltr-102407.pdf

2)  Call or fax your Representative.  You can find contact information for your Representative at http://www.house.gov/.  Use the same message as for your Senators.

For more information on NAIS, go to www.farmandranchfreedom.org, or contact Judith@farmandranchfreedom.org

If you are calling your Senators, and don't have unlimited long-distance, here are some toll-free numbers for the Capitol Switchboard:
Remember to ask to speak to the staffer who handles agricultural issues.  If he or she is not available, leave a detailed voice mail message, including the fact that you are a constituent and your phone number.
If you prefer to write a letter, it is best to FAX the letter to your Senator or Representative.  Because of security measures, letters mailed to DC take weeks or months to get there.  If you can't fax, then either mail a letter to the local district office or use email.  With email, we recommend that you follow up with a call, to make sure the email does not simply get overlooked.  (Or just use the talking points above and call.)
Sample Letter:
Dear _________:
I oppose Section 10305 of the Farm Bill because it implies approval of the USDA's National Animal Identification System (NAIS).  NAIS has never been approved or even debated by either branch of Congress and few members of the Senate or House know the details of the program.  The USDA has not provided any scientific basis for this "feel good" program that will cost farmers and taxpayers billions of dollars, resulting in irreparable harm to independent agriculture in this country.  Although USDA claims the program is voluntary, it has funded coercive and misleading methods used by both states and private entities to force people to participate.  
I urge you to remove section 10305 from the Farm Bill and to stop funding for NAIS.
City, State Zip

Section 10305 of the Farm Bill, as approved by the Senate Agriculture Committee, amends the Animal Health Protection Act to (1) insert a definition of NAIS; and (2) provide various exceptions from public disclosure for information collected under NAIS.  The inclusion of Section 10305 represents a tacit approval of NAIS, which is a very serious problem for the grassroots opposition to NAIS.  But it is not a complete adoption of NAIS, nor does it mandate NAIS directly.  Section 10305 represents a battle in this war against NAIS, but it is not a decisive battle for either side.  It's critical that we keep working to educate all the Senators and Representatives about NAIS, and why it is the wrong thing for America.

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              Page Updated: Thursday May 07, 2009 09:14 AM  Pacific

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