Monday, December 10, 2007

Does the USDA Know What Your Dog is Doing?

photo by klynslis

If you own a pet, you are impacted, too. The National Animal Identification System or NAIS is being implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Currently, participation is voluntary. The plan is to make it mandatory.

What is it? - USDA regulation that requires every animal owner to register as a farm site and tag each and every animal with an ID tag. Every animal owner has 48 hours to report an "event" to the USDA. An event includes coming into contact with animals on another farm site or taking you animal off your "farm" site. Want your lap dog to go shopping with you? Better get ready to file paperwork or login online and self-report.

Exception - Large animal producers can get one ID tag for a "lot" of animals as opposed to one for every animal.

Why I think it's a bad idea - This regulation is entirely reactive. The main purpose is to be able to track disease outbreaks back to individual farmers or producers. This focuses blame at the source instead of focusing on ways to solve the problem throughout the agricultural supply chain. It is the large producers, the corn-fed beef lots and commercial poultry farmers whose management practices are most likely to lead to disease outbreaks. Small farmers and homesteaders with a few animals on plenty of pasture in plenty of space are less likely to be subjecting their animals to disease likely environments. Why is the USDA not encouraging sustainable agricultural management? Small farms, homesteaders and people with one or two chickens will bear the burden of cost for tagging each and every animal on the "farm" while big producers get a break.

You can read a lot more about this issue at There are also contacts on the right hand side of this website which will allow you to voice your opinion on this important issue.
Before anyone gets ready to send an email objecting to my one-sided presentation of this topic, you need to know that anything published here on this blog is strictly my opinion. You are, of course, entitled to your own.
Any thoughts you have on this issue? Post a comment below. And contact your Congressional representatives and Senators. Let them know what you think.


2 LMZ FARMS said...

Alot of my farmer friends have been talking about this. Believe me, we all are against this. We agree, like you, it will be us small farmers that will pay for this and not your big feed lots or farms. Just another way for the government to knock out us small farms and to have their hand in everything. Hope you and yours have a blessed day.

Mule Shoe Farm said...

Thanks for your comment. As long as we take action with our opposition by contacting our congressmen, we have a chance that it won't become mandatory. But we're up against some pretty powerful interests. I think small farms, CSAs, homesteads and pet owners should be exempt and that the USDA should sink its money into programs which force the large producers to implement better management practices.

Feel free to comment by clicking on the comment link above. I want to see what you have to say.