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The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear the Agriculture Appropriations bill this Thursday, July 17.  With the House appropriations bill stalled, it is very important that we make sure the Senate does not put in pro-NAIS provisions to its version of the bill!

Call or fax your Senator if he or she is on the Senate Appropriations Committee.  The members are listed at:

If your Senator is not on the Committee, then contact the Chair (Senator Byrd, D-WV) and Ranking Member (Senator Cochran, R-MS).
Ask to speak to the staffer who handles appropriations.  If you get their voice mail, leave the following message, or something in your own words that makes the same points:
MESSAGE:  My name is _______.  I am a constituent [or am calling because you are Chair/Ranking Member of Appropriations, whichever applies].  I am calling because I am against the National Animal Identification System, or NAIS.  I urge the Senator to oppose the inclusion of any provision linking NAIS to other programs, including the School Lunch Program.  NAIS, which tracks live animals, will not improve food safety because most food safety problems start at the slaughterhouse and food processing facilities.
Funding for NAIS, particularly any mandatory NAIS, needs to be stopped.
Please call me back at ________.
When you talk to the staffer, be sure to make the same points as in the message, and expand on them with some of the talking points below.  Ask that the Senators keep NAIS out of the Senate Appropriations bill.

Eighty-one organizations have now signed on to a letter opposing the House Appropriations provision linking NAIS to the School Lunch Program.  The deadline to sign on has been extended indefinitely, due to the delay in the House Appropriations bills.
You can read the letter at
If your organization is willing to sign on, please email [email protected] or [email protected]  If you have questions, call Judith at 866-687-6452 or Irene at 202-543-5675.
This letter is for non-profit organizations.  If you are a for-profit entity, farm, ranch, or individual, please take the steps listed above for individuals to take action.  Thank you!

In addition to the message above, here are some more talking points about why NAIS should not be linked to the School Lunch Program (as was done in the House) or funded.  Pick one or two to focus on, and put them in your own words!
- NAIS will not improve food safety.  The massive Hallmark/Westland beef recall this past year was caused by the slaughterhouse employees' failure to follow existing regulations for handling "downer" cows.  Mandating NAIS on cattle producers will not make anybody obey the laws we already have.
- The money would be better spent on measures that truly improve animal health and food safety, such as safety inspections at packing and processing plants.
-  NAIS is not scientifically or economically sound.

- USDA has presented no science to back up its claims that NAIS will address livestock diseases.

- The USDA has never completed a cost/benefit analysis.   

- Linking NAIS to other programs, such as the School Lunch Program, uses the government's power to economically coerce farmers into NAIS. That is not a "voluntary" program. 

- Using the school lunch program to force farmers into NAIS undermines the growing farm-to-school program, which helps children get fresh, local, and sustainably raised foods.  Local farmers should not be forced into an unpopular program that has nothing to do with food quality or safety in order to provide food for our children.
- NAIS has never been specifically approved by Congress.  This massive program, which will impact millions of people, should be addressed through full and open debate, not snuck in through appropriations.

Be part of an exciting gathering of non-profit leaders, farmers and ranchers, farmers market organizers, local foods activists, and more!  Join us in Austin, Texas on August 18 and 19 for the Second Annual Farm and Food Leadership Conference.
The first day will feature top speakers on issues such as water rights and management, the National Animal ID System, genetically modified foods, the Farm Bill, and local food systems.  The second day will include workshops to help give each person the tools to effectively take action on these, or any other issue you care about!

For more information and to register, go to
WHEN: Monday and Tuesday, August 18-19, 2008
WHERE: Rubio's Event Center, 10712 FM 1625, Austin, TX.  Directions at http://rubioseventcenter.com/
AGENDA: http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/FFLT_Agenda 

Please take a few minutes and call your Senator today!  Working together, we can make our voices heard.


Judith McGeary
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance