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August 14, 2010

USDA Public Meetings on Animal Disease Traceability

Although USDA has backtracked on its plans for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), the fight is not over yet!

As announced in February, USDA is working on a "new framework" for animal traceability.  USDA has stated that this new framework will apply only to animals that cross interstate borders and will emphasize low-cost identification methods.  But Big Ag and Big Tech are pushing for a more expansive--and expensive--federal program, even as they also make plans to re-create NAIS at the state level.

The USDA is holding a series of public meetings on its new framework, and has announced three more during August: Madison, Wisconsin; Atlanta, Georgia; and Pasco, Washington. 


Come to the meeting and make your voice heard! 

Wednesday, August 18
Crowne Plaza Madison
4402 East Washington Avenue
Madison, WI 53704

Friday, August 20
Doubletree Hotel Atlanta Airport
3400 Norman Berry Drive
Atlanta, GA 30344

Tuesday, August 24
Red Lion Hotel
2525 N 20th Avenue
Pasco, WA 99301

The meetings will take place between 8 am and 4 pm, and the USDA has more information posted at

The morning will consist of presentations by government officials, followed by breakout sessions at tables based on species groups.  After the small groups have reported back to the full audience, a USDA official will respond to written questions, and there may be an opportunity at the very end for oral questions or comments.

Below are a couple of suggestions to help you be effective:

1)       Plan your written questions ahead of time.  When the USDA official goes through the questions in the afternoon, if he doesn't actually answer your question, stand up and politely insist on an answer. 

2)       At the small group discussion, be prepared to be an advocate for your views and to politely disagree with the facilitator(s).  If they claim that a "consensus" has been reached with an answer that you don't agree with, say so.  At the end, one person from the table will report back to the full group.  Let the spokesperson give his or her report, and then politely speak up to add any points that were covered by the group that were skipped.

For more information on the previous public meetings and USDA's proposed framework, visit the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance:

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