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USDA Approves Four Additional Visual Identification Tags For Use In The NAIS

Article from The Cattle Network

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2008--The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today approved several new visual identification tags:  three individual animal identification 840 tags from Destron Fearing/Digital Angel, where 840 represents the U.S. country code, and one premises identification tag from Allflex.  In USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS), identification tags and devices are used to provide a greater level of animal traceability in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

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R-CALF: Groups Urge Congress To Immediately Halt Any Further Advancement Of NAIS - July 24, 2008

cattlenetwork - The Source for Cattle News

Washington, D.C. – In formal correspondence sent today to the leaders of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, two national groups and nine others – all from different states – requested that Congress immediately halt any further advancement of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and to conduct an oversight hearing on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) NAIS activities to carefully and deliberately investigate the full ramifications of USDA’s NAIS-related actions and proposals.

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September 8, 2008 -  FTCLDF General Counsel, Gary Cox was admitted to the District Court for the District of Columbia Bar. 

Following the admission, he filed the NAIS Complaint against the USDA and Michigan Department of Agriculture.  

Case Number: 1:08-cv-01546               Judge: The Honorable Rosemary M. Collyer

Complaint for Preliminary and Other Injunctive Relief

FTCLDF and 61 other organizations ask Congress not to link the School Lunch Program to the National Animal ID System

Notice of Intent to Sue – Table of Exhibits
Exhibit A Exhibit B Exhibit C
Exhibit D Exhibit E Exhibit F
Exhibit G Exhibit H Exhibit I
Exhibit J Exhibit K Exhibit L
Exhibit M Exhibit N Exhibit O
Exhibit P Exhibit Q Exhibit R
Exhibit S Exhibit T Exhibit U

See the press coverage on our Notice of Intent to Sue the USDA and MDA.

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Reasons to Stop the NAIS

(National Animal Identification System)

This costly and poorly conceived program is now mandatory in some states. It requires farmers to tag each animal, in most cases using electronic identification, and report off-farm movements to a database via computer. Here are ten good reasons to nip this program in the bud.

  1. Not needed.  We have existing tracking systems that have met our needs for decades.
  2. Expensive.  The government has spent over $100 million on just the first stage so far, with no cost-benefit analysis.  The costs of the whole program could easily be $37 or more per animal, creating a multi-billion dollar expense that will ultimately be paid through increased taxes and costs of food.
  3. Technology-dependent.  NAIS requires computers and internet access.  Amish farmers don’t have electricity, and many other farmers don’t have or want internet access.  This program makes high-tech companies rich, at the expense of everyone else.
  4. Corporate welfare.  The factory farms get to use “group identification”, while small farmers are stuck tagging each animal.
  5. Won’t improve food safety.  The tags are removed at the slaughterhouse, so NAIS does not improve our ability to track animals into the food chain.  It’s won’t prevent sick animals from being used for human consumption and won’t prevent or improve recalls.
  6. Will reduce food safety and choices!  Because of its high costs and government intrusion, NAIS will drive small farmers out of business, reducing people’s ability to buy local foods directly from farmers.  Eating local is your best way to “source verify” your food!
  7. Animal welfare.  Studies indicate that microchips may cause cancer in animals.  And by continuing to push farmers to “get big or get out”, NAIS will increase the number of animals in inhumane factory farm system.
  8. Exploding government bureaucracy. 
  9. Religious freedom.  Many Amish, Mennonites, and other Christian farmers consider the mandatory microchipping to be the fulfillment of Revelations, and they cannot comply.
  10.  Privacy and property rights.  NAIS would create the first permanent federal registration system for land and personal property.  It would require reporting of normal, daily events in people’s lives – buying or selling an animal, taking horses to shows, or providing food for their own table. 
  11. Impossible to implement.   The USDA can't monitor what is being done to cows in 100 slaughter plants. How can they keep track of 180 million animals (and billions of chickens) on more than a million farms?  The only country to implement electronic tagging of cattle, Australia, has a database that is in chaos.
  12. Impossible to enforce.  The government says they don’t have the resources to enforce the current laws, including inspecting imported foods and slaughterhouses in this country!  NAIS will create a black market for animal ownership and make lawbreakers out of ordinary citizens.
  13. Where does it end?  Some of the same high-tech companies want to microchip humans, and are already pushing to microchip children, the elderly and prisoners.

Donate Now to help STOP NAIS.

Donate to the Fund, to defray the costs of legal, legislative and lobby actions: Donate online or download the Donation Form.

In making your donation it may be helpful to consider.

Donations to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund ARE NOT tax deductible, because the primary mission of the Fund is to effect change in legal, lobby and legislative arenas. The donations received are 100% usable by the Fund for the primary mission.

Donations to the Farm-to-Consumer Foundation ARE tax deductible, because the primary mission of the Foundation is to educate and provide memberships to those in need. The Foundation is restricted in the support it can provide the Fund.  The Foundation has established special pages for contribution for the legal expenses in specific cases, such as the case to stop NAIS and the AB1735 lawsuit.

If you want to donate to the Foundation, go to click here.

Release No. 0102.08
Joelle Schelhaus (301) 734-0595
Angela Harless (202) 720-4623


WASHINGTON, April 15, 2008--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that it has implemented a key strategy from its Business Plan to Advance Animal Disease Traceability by providing National Animal Identification System (NAIS) compliant "840" radio frequency (RF) eartags to animal health officials for use in the bovine tuberculosis (TB) control program.

NAIS-compliant "840" tags provide for individual identification of livestock through a 15-digit number beginning with the U.S. country code. Through the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the "840" tags allow animal health officials to electronically identify an animal. This increases the efficiency of animal disease investigations that involve the tracing of exposed and potentially infected animals. RFID technology also increases the accuracy of recording the animal's 15-digit animal identification number (AIN). USDA has purchased a total of 1.5 million "840" RF animal identification tags to support animal disease control programs, including the bovine TB and brucellosis programs.

"Using NAIS-compliant tags with RF technology establishes a consistent data format across our animal disease programs. It will also increase the efficiency and accuracy of the on-ground animal health task force conducting bovine TB testing and response," said Bruce Knight, undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs. "This effort supports a key strategy outlined in our business plan and is another step toward reaching NAIS' ultimate goal of 48-hour traceability."

Recently, USDA shipped 28,000 tags to California to support bovine TB testing as part of an ongoing investigation. So far, a total of 6,600 cattle in two California herds have been tagged with "840" devices. The goal is to link the cattle to their premises of origin, so that if there is an outbreak in the future the movements of the infected animals can be quickly traced. Bovine tuberculosis investigations are currently occurring in several States. Since 2002, bovine TB detections in six states have required the destruction of more than 25,000 cattle. USDA has tested over 787,000 animals in response to TB outbreaks since 2004.

RF tags have been used in beef and dairy operations for management and marketing purposes for several years. Incorporating AIN RF tags into animal disease programs promotes the standardization of identification methods and technology so that they can be used by producers and animal health officials for multiple purposes.

Currently, there are five USDA-approved manufacturers that produce eight devices for official NAIS use. Seven of these devices are RFID eartags, while the other device is an injectable transponder to be used in horses and other farm animals not intended to enter the food production chain.

NAIS is a modern, streamlined information system that helps producers and animal health officials respond quickly and effectively to events affecting animal health in the United States. NAIS utilizes premises registration, animal identification and animal tracing components to both locate potentially diseased animals and eliminate animals from disease suspicion. It is a state-federal-industry partnership, which is voluntary at the federal level. For more information on NAIS, go to www.usda.gov/nais .