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Update on Anti-NAIS Bill in Illinois

Illinois HB 5776 passed the Senate!  This bill does two things: (1) forbids the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) from requiring premises registration or NAIS electronic identification for participating in fairs, unless required by federal law and (2) requires the IDOA to develop a procedure for people to withdraw from NAIS, so that the thousands of people who have already signed up can get back out.

The Senate version of the bill is different from the House version, so the bill has gone back to the House.  Either the House will have to concur in the Senate version, or the Senate will be asked to concur in the House version.  The difference between the two versions is not related to NAIS.  Rather, it’s a provision which would strip the Governor and agency of rulemaking authority without legislative approval.  The provision was added to many of the bills in the House and is about the balance of power between the branches of government.  The Senate removed the provision.

HB 5776 unanimously passed both the Illinois House and the Senate, so we know there is extremely broad support for the bill.  Unfortunately, the other issues mean that the fate of the bill is uncertain.  Please call both your state Senator and Representative to urge their continued support for HB 5776.

For more information about NAIS and Illinois, go to http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/illinois-2008 or call the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance at 866-687-6452

TAKE ACTION

Call your Illinois Representative and Senator. You can look up who represents you at www.congress.org.  Remember, HB 5776 is a state bill, so look for your state legislators’ information. You can also call the Illinois Legislature's information line at 217-782-3944 and ask to be connected to your Representative’s and Senator’s offices.

MESSAGE:

“I am a constituent who is against the National Animal Identification System.  I appreciate Representative (or Senator) _________ voting yes on HB 5776 when it came to the floor.  Now that the Senate and House have passed different versions, I am asking that he (she) set aside any other issues and help pass HB 5776.”

ADDITIONAL TALKING POINTS

  • NAIS will hurt Illinois’ economy:
    • No agency has completed a cost-benefit analysis.
    • Costs of the program include the cost of the tags, hardware, software, time and labor
    • Many small farmer and ranchers cannot afford these costs
    • Service providers (veterinarians, feed stores, auction houses, meat processors, etc.) will be harmed when the farmers and ranchers go out of business.
    • Remaining farmers will pass the costs on to consumers, lowering demand for local foods
  • Neither the USDA nor the Illinois Agriculture Department has scientific proof that NAIS will improve disease control:
    • It does not address the cause, treatment, or transmission of disease, in domestic or wild animals.
    • It does not significantly improve on current methods for identification and tracking of disease.
  • NAIS will not improve food safety
    • USDA itself has stated that this is not a food safety program
    • Contamination of food with e. coli and other bacteria occurs at the slaughterhouse or afterwards, while NAIS will stop before that point.
  • NAIS will not protect against terrorism and the technology is flawed
    • The microchips chosen by the state can be cloned, destroyed, or infected with computer viruses, and reprogrammed. Any terrorist or thief can use this.
    • The database of information, created by the state agency and available to USDA, will provide a target for hackers.
  • NAIS infringes on people's constitutional rights, including due process, privacy, and religious freedom.
  • NAIS unfairly attacks the rights of pet owners and those who raise animals as food for their family.
  • USDA states that NAIS is voluntary at the federal level, so there is no "federal mandate" requiring Illinois to implement this program
  • Other states are also rejecting or limiting NAIS, so Illinois will not be disadvantaged by refusing to participate.