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USDA Listening Sessions Public Comments

For the record by Barbara Steever

I've owned horses for 33 yrs and I know a pile of horse shi* when I see it.

First, I am not a stakeholder, I'm an owner.

NAIS Listening Session
NAIS Listening Session

NAIS will never be acceptable because it violates the Bill of Rights, and those rights are non-negotiable. By what authority does USDA, or even Congress, violate the First and Fourth Amendments?

The Amish and similar groups cannot participate without violating their core beliefs. My private property is not a premises that can be entered without permission or a warrant. USDA has not given a satisfactory response to these concerns. In fact, they dance around the questions whenever they are brought up. 

My horses are not guinea pigs or cash cows for microchip manufacturers, and I won't risk their health or my finances for a questionable technology that doesn't benefit me in any way. I've reviewed the so called benefits stated in the Cost Benefit Analysis and they are a joke.

I will not file tracking reports on my horses unless you pay me for my labor, and I will not file reports on my client's horses when they travel to and from my farm, because I am not a spy.

The Cost Benefit Analysis is seriously biased and flawed. Funded by APHIS and compiled with the help of the architects of NAIS. It is full of assumptions that do not accurately represent the horse world in which I participate, and contains misleading and false statistics. It is obvious from reading through it that the only real beneficiaries of NAIS are those businesses that are involved in imports and exports. In fact, individual livestock owners are dismissed as insignificant.

USDA is disingenuous when it says it wants to control the spread of disease. Why then are you lowering import restrictions to allow cattle from Mexico that have Bovine TB, trying to bring in cattle from Argentina which is known to have a reservoir of FMD, cattle over 30 months of age from Canada that have a higher risk of BSE and disallowing a private business from testing for BSE in response to their client's needs. Why are you not aggressively pursuing a cure for Johne's Disease, and moving a high security disease containment facility into the middle of cattle country? USDA has changed our import policy from zero tolerance to managed risk. We are already seeing the failures of that policy. NAIS is not a disease control plan, it is a damage control plan to try to clean up the disaster you will create. You are opening up a Pandora's box.

Let's be honest about the real reason for NAIS. It is to comply with OIE regulations by 2010 and to Hell with the Bill of Rights and us "insignificant" people! I view USDA, the state Agriculture Dep'ts, and the pro NAIS legislators actions as traitorous. You are selling us out for profits for multinational corporations.You have fooled some of the people, but you haven't fooled all of them. WTO agreements do not supercede the Constitution. I will not comply!
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