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Producers rally against animal ID

By Jessica Kokesh, Journal staff

Article from The Rapid City Journal

Livestock producers from as far away as Kansas filled the atrium at the Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn hotel Thursday, showing poster illustrations of their cattle brands, examples of their existing animal identification system.  

The group of 300 to 400 objected to the proposed electronic National Animal Identification System, which opponents said will be too expensive and not solve the problem of diseased animals coming from other countries.

The Agriculture Department is holding listening sessions across the country on the system, and South Dakota Stockgrowers Association president Larry Nelson said about 90 percent of those attending oppose NAIS.

"This is the best example of government coming to us, saying 'We're here and we're here to help,' but not visiting with us ahead of time," Nelson said.

Judy McCullough with the Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming (ICOW) said the cattlemen of Wyoming have already said "no" to the plan and will not pay for "huge government."

"If the government is still for the people and by the people, they'll listen to this uprising," McCullough said. "NAIS ought to be struck dead, never to raise its ugly, evil head again."

Nelson said he hoped the USDA heeds that message and said producers will be watching.

"If they can't get the message from this, then it can't be gotten," he said.

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