David Pfrang's NAIS testimony 6-09 - KCA strongly opposes NAIS for the following reasons...
I am David Pfrang and the recent past president of the Kansas Cattlemen's Association. I am a livestock producer, and I am speaking on behalf of the KCA. We strongly oppose NAIS for the following reasons:
NAIS is disease management and not disease prevention. Disease prevention, like closing the border to diseased foreign cattle, must be in place before NAIS should be considered.
There's too much chance for information to be misused. The federal database has not been proven to be secure, and producers do not want their information leaked. Producers have little faith that the USDA will keep ALL of our information confidential.
AIS will increase the cost of production, but there is no increase in the benefits to producers. Instead, the increase in marketing will only help the packer's margins. And, NAIS is not forced on them. It's forced on us.
The need for a single animal identification, like NAIS, just doesn't make sense. When there actually is an outbreak, you need to quarantine the entire pen as well as the surrounding pens plus alleyways, and the list goes on and on. Do you really think you can "trace in 48"? If Foot and Mouth Disease were to break out in Jefferson City, it would travel faster than any of your traceability systems... and you will still miss the cattle that never got read by the magical wand, lost their RFID ear tag, or information that never got put into YOUR system due to human error.
With NAIS, the trace back starts at birth but it stops at the packing plant door. It is at this point that contamination most often occurs, and the concern for consumer safety should be the top priority. Since NAIS does not address food safety at all, it does not benefit the consumer.
NAIS would be another example of losing our individual freedom. We already have to report our crop acreage to the crop service, and they take aerial photos of our land. When will the US government stop micromanaging us? Last I checked, we were a free country. The people are supposed to run the country. The country is not supposed to run the people.
In Kansas we have the Kansas Emergency Management Team to supposedly step in should any kind of outbreak occur. Let me share with you what this bureaucratic group has done for my area. Several years ago we had a cow at the Holton sale barn in Jackson County that had sores in her mouth caused from eating thistles. But this Kansas Emergency Team blew things out of proportion so much that the market crashed, producers lost millions of dollars, before they even got the tests back.
In 2004 the Kansas Legislature tried to pass mandatory Kansas premise I.D. through the backing of Kansas Livestock Assoc., Farm Bureau and Sea Board. It failed Big Time because we, the producers, fought just as we are fighting back today.
There's no need to invest in yet another system when we already have all these other ID systems in place:
- Feed yard records (consists of individual records)
- Farm records (birth records)
- Sale barn auction records (owners name, address, license tag #, trucking firm)
- Trucking records
- Veterinarian records
- Brucellosis testing
- Video auction records
- Internet sale records
- Affidavits for COOL
- Health papers to transfer animals to different states
- Marketing records (source and age; EU; all natural programs)
I have very little faith in USDA based on past performances. USDA can't seem to implement COOL the way the law states. (Consumer Right To Know). USDA is trying to regionalize countries for imports when it should be stopping all trade from these infected countries in order to protect our consumers.
I also question the logic in relocating a bio lab in the heartland of the Midwest where highly contagious diseases are actually being brought in for research.
With NAIS you are trying to force a program on producers that is supposed to help us, but you are doing nothing but adding more burdens on us. USDA was started years ago by President Abraham Lincoln to help the farmers and consumers. These days USDA is actually working against us by trying to start programs like NAIS that will destroy rural communities, small businesses, and everyday Americans that work to make a better life for their families. You are supposed to work for us and the consumer. In our country the march for socialism is here, and NAIS is another example of it. It's time to take this country back!!