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ACTION ALERT – Kentucky

TAKE ACTION: Call your Senator today to fight NAIS in Kentucky!

HB 495 is in trouble in the Senate.  The word is that Chairman Jensen plans to kill the bill by never allowing it to be heard by the Senate Agriculture Committee.  We urgently need calls!!!

The next Committee meeting is this Thursday, March 20.  It’s important that HB 495 be heard this week, because time is running out in the session.

PLEASE CALL NOW.  The legislative message line is 1-800-372-7181

  1. Leave a message for Senator Jensen
  2. Leave a message for the entire Senate Ag Committee

MESSAGE: I want HB 495 heard by the Senate Ag Committee this week.  Please vote YES on HB 495.  I do not want Kentucky to implement the National Animal Identification System.

  •  Leave a message for your Senator, asking him or her to contact Senator Jensen on your behalf and encourage him to put the bill on the agenda for Thursday’s committee meeting.  To find out who your Senator is, go to http://www.lrc.ky.gov/Legislators.htm

 

If you have a few minutes, call each of the members of the Agriculture Committee directly.  Their contact information is below.  Talk with the staff about why you are against NAIS and why HB 495 is important.   More talking points are below.

HB 495 prohibits the state of Kentucky from implementing a mandatory NAIS in the absence of a federal requirement.  It also prevents the state from coercing people into a so-called voluntary NAIS by barring the state from penalizing any farmer or withholding goods, services, licenses, permits, grants or other benefits based on non-participation in any portion of NAIS.

For more information, contact the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance at [email protected] or 866-687-6452.  Or contact the Kentucky Community Farm Alliance at 502-223-3655.

SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
(Each Senator is listed with the counties he or she represents, and then their phone number)

Sen. Tom Jensen (R), Chairman
Estill, Jackson, Laurel, Menifee, Powell
606-878-8845

Sen. Vernie McGaha (R), Vice-Chair
Adair, Casey, Pulaski, Russell
270-866-3068

Sen. David Boswell (D)
Daviess, McLean
270-771-4921

Sen. Ernie Harris (R)
Carroll, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Trimble
502-241-8307

Sen. Dan Kelly (R)
Marion, Mercer, Nelson, Taylor, Washington
859-336-9048

Sen. Bob Leeper (I)
Ballard, Marshall, McCracken
270-554-2771

Sen. Joey Pendleton (D)
Christian, Logan, Todd
270-885-1639

Sen. Dorsey Ridley (D)
Caldwell, Crittenden, Henderson, Livingston, Union, Webster
270-826-5402

Sen. Richie Sanders (R)
Allen, Barren, Edmonson, Green, Metcalfe, Simpson
270-586-5473

Sen. Ernesto Scorsone (D)
Fayette
859-254-3681

Sen. Brandon Smith (R)
Bell, Harlan, Leslie, Perry
606-436-4526

Sen. Damon Thayer (R)
Grant, Kenton, Owen, Scott
859-621-6956

 
TALKING POINTS:

  • While the USDA has stated that NAIS is voluntary at the federal level, it has been funding the states to implement the program.  Several states have gone to mandatory programs or used coercive measures to increase registrations
  • Wisconsin and Indiana have mandatory premises registration
  • Michigan has mandatory premises registration and electronic identification for cattle
  • Children in Colorado, Illinois, and North Carolina are required to register to compete in the fairs
  • North Carolina is requiring farmers to register in order to qualify for hay relief during the drought.
  • NAIS will hurt Kentucky's economy:
    • There has been no analysis at federal or state level that establishes the costs or benefits of NAIS.
    • 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 state agency 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 is not necessary for the market.  Age- and source-verification is already available through the USDA's Process Verified Program
  • 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 Kentucky to implement this program
  • Other states are also rejecting or limiting NAIS, so Kentucky will not be disadvantaged by refusing to participate.

 

MORE INFORMATION:

To view a copy of the bill, go to: www.lrc.ky.gov

HB 495 has several very good provisions, including a bar on coercing people into NAIS.  At the same time, it is not a perfect bill.  HB 495 allows the agency to implement a mandatory program IF the USDA takes “final action” under the Administrative Procedures Act mandating NAIS.  The bill’s language has been carefully limited so that the various timelines and guidance documents that USDA has issued up to this point (such as its Business Plan and User Guide) would not qualify as “final action.”  To meet this trigger, USDA would have to publish proposed regulations in the Federal Register, and adopt them after public comment.  USDA has said multiple times that it does not want to adopt mandatory federal regulations.  Instead, USDA is relying on the states to implement the program.  This is why NAIS has to be fought at BOTH the state and the federal level. While not perfect, HB 495 would protect Kentuckians from a coercive so-called voluntary program and send a signal to Congress that yet another state is against NAIS.

 

HB 5776 states:
AN ACT relating to animal identification.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky:

 
Section 1.   KRS 257.497 is amended to read as follows:

(1)     The board may promulgate administrative regulations necessary to carry out the provisions of the national animal identification system if the system becomes mandatory through final federal action in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. sec. 500 et seq., as amended. If the system becomes mandatory, the administrative regulations shall be no more stringent than the federal law or regulations.

(2)        As long as the national animal identification system is voluntary, the board shall not:

(a)        Mandate or force participation in the system or any other similar system that regulates livestock or poultry, as defined by KRS 246.010, including premise registration, animal identification, or the tracking or surveillance of livestock or poultry;

(b)        Withhold indemnity as provided in KRS 257.120 and 257.130 based solely on nonparticipation in the national animal identification system; or

(c)        Deny, revoke, or limit services, licenses, permits, grants, or other benefits or incentives to a person if that person does not participate in the national animal identification system.

(3)        Nothing in this section shall be construed as prohibiting:

(a)        The board from establishing or participating in disease control programs specifically designed to address a known disease in a specific species of livestock;

(b)        The board from operating livestock identification, brand registration, or inspection programs as authorized under the Kentucky Revised Statutes; or

(c)        Private agricultural industry organizations from establishing voluntary source verification programs for their own members or others who elect to participate.

(4)        No city, town, county, or other political subdivision of the Commonwealth shall adopt or continue in effect any ordinance, resolution, rule, or regulation requiring participation in the national animal identification system or any other similar system that regulates livestock or poultry, as defined by KRS 246.010, including premise registration, animal identification, or the tracking or surveillance of livestock or poultry. Local legislation in violation of this subsection shall be void and unenforceable.

(5)     Except as provided in subsections (6) and (7)[(2) and (3)] of this section, the board shall not release any records, data, or information collected, recorded, or otherwise, deemed confidential for the purposes of the national animal identification system.

(6)[(2)] Any records, data, or information deemed confidential under application of subsection (5)[(1)] of this section shall be subject to inspection only upon order of a court of competent jurisdiction.

(7)[(3)] Nothing in this section shall limit the release of records, data, or information to another state or federal agency if the release of the information is necessary to prevent or control disease or to protect public health, safety, or welfare.

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