On March 11th, a congressional committee held a public hearing on plans to expand NAIS, the National Animal Identification System. This issue has been on my radar thanks to Monica Hughes’ blogging on it on the FA/RM blog. An action alert from the Weston A. Price Foundation describes the proposal as follows:
The USDA has proposed a rule to require all farms and ranches where animals are raised to be registered in a federal database under the NAIS for existing disease control programs. The draft rule covers programs for cattle, goats, sheep, and swine. It also sets the stage for mandatory NAIS animal identification in the future.
It’s not too late to comment. The alert noted that:
You can submit written testimony to the subcommittee up to 10 days after the hearing. Send your testimony to the Hearing Clerk, Jamie Mitchell, at [email protected]. Be sure to put “March 11 Hearing – Animal Identification Programs” in the subject line. Keep your comments clear, polite, and concise.
Here is the e-mail that I sent yesterday. I encourage others to write their own letters.
From: Diana Hsieh Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 09:58:58 -0600 To: Subject: March 11 Hearing – Animal Identification Programs
Dear Members of the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry –
I am writing to you to oppose National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
I am an ordinary citizen from Colorado, albeit with some interest in raising livestock myself. I am opposed to NAIS because:
* NAIS violates the property rights of all farmers. Farmers should not be required to tag their livestock any more than parents should be required to tag their children. Livestock is private property, and the government should respect that by limiting itself to protecting the rights of property and contract.
* The costs of compliance with NAIS will drive smaller farmers out of business. Sadly, I suspect that many large farms — particularly those already on the government dole — are pushing for NAIS for that very reason. They are eliminating their competition by government regulation. That’s anti-American. The government should not be complicit in such schemes.
* NAIS will raise prices for consumers. Food prices have already gone through the roof. Particularly during an economic downturn, to require farmers to incur more costs — which will then be passed on to consumers — is very bad economic policy. Freedom, not government controls and regulation, is the key to economic prosperity.
* NAIS will not protect the food supply. The government does a lousy job of protecting the food supply, as the recent peanut butter and tomato scares show. The solution is not more burdensome regulations. It is a free market in agriculture. Under that system, Americans would have the capacity to buy from known local farmers or rely on the private certification of their choice. Americans will be responsible for their own safety — just as they ought to be. We are not children: we are rational adults who ought to be free to act on our own best judgment.
NAIS is indefensible. It is anti-American. It should be wholly abandoned.
For more information on Free Market Agriculture, see the web site of Free Agriculture – Restore Markets (FA/RM) at http://fa-rm.org/.
Diana Hsieh Ph.D Candidate, Philosophy, CU Boulder E-mail: [email protected] Blog: http://www.dianahsieh.com/blog Twitter: http://twitter.com/DianaHsieh Secular Government: http://www.SecularGovernment.us Free Market Medicine: http://www.WeStandFIRM.org
I also sent that letter to my two senators and one representative in Washington.
If you express your opposition to this dangerous and expensive expansion of government control over the private property of farmers, write to the subcommittee hearing clerk at [email protected]. You can find and contact your own representatives via Congress.org. You are welcome to use my letter (or portions thereof) as you see fit. Please feel free to post what you write in the comments.