Saturday, January 20, 2007


Something not even many folks in ag-related states such as Iowa and Montana are really aware of is the senseless, intrusive, bureaucratic nightmare-to-come NAIS, or National Animal Identification System. People should be aware of this, as food is a mighty important factor in human survival. It ranks right up there with water and air. Sadly, a great many of our populace think food "grows" under celophane in super market shelves and fridges.

What NAIS wishes to do is make every farmer and rancher in these United States (and remember, the United States Department of Agriculture employs eleven people for every farmer and rancher in the country, and these bureau-hacks have to justify their existanence somehow) to register their property with the government, individually tag each animal, including chickens, with an RFID tag, and report every "event" that happens to that critter to the NAIS database. The overall net effect would be to destroy what is left of family farms and small "hobby" and organic farmers.

All the Big Brother intrusiveness aside, this boondoggle is gonna cost people alot of money. As the saying goes, "Follow the money!" And NAIS was designed by and for (surpise!) huge corporate agri-business. You know, the people who already have a huge monopoly on everything from seed corn to meat packing plants. But unlike Bill Gates and Microsoft, big agri-business is smart (and crooked) enough to pay vast sums of "protection money" to the boys and girls on Capital Hill and, with the best politicians money can buy safely in their pockets, voila! they are not a monopoly.

These are the boys to whom money is the bottom line. You know, the ones who raise animals in assembly-line feedlots and confinements and have to pump the critters full of hormones and antibiotics and steroids and altered genes and God knows what all (a) just so they can survive in overcrowded, unnatural conditions and (b) so that growth and profit will be maximized. The ones who splice fish DNA into your tomatoes so they look all red and pretty in the grocery aisle. The ones who produce genetically altered "terminator" seeds that cannot reproduce naturally so you are totally dependent on them for next year's crop. The ones who got the USDA to recently approve cloned meat; just how have they conducted long-term health studies on that one? The ones who have led these United States, with the world's greatest and most fertile farmland, to become a net importer of food. The ones who hire illegal aliens for their fields and slaughterhouses. And by the way, does anyone besides me wonder about these recent e. coli outbreaks when we have thousands of illegals from impoverished central and south American countires full of exotic diseases we eradicated decades ago and poor sanitation and health care out defacating in the middle of the lettuce fields they are picking?

No, don't worry, the big boys will do fine under NAIS. They will buy their RFID tags in vast lots at a substantial discount, unlike the hobby farmer who needs only a half a dozen tags. They can hire more illegals to do the dirty work for a pittance. They can afford the $1000 scanners. They will receive "special dispensation" so that huge poultry farms with thousands of birds need only one "group ID" tag. And they can just pass any extra costs on the the consumer while the system helps to eradicate the tiny amount of small farm competition they have left.

Just think. Hobby Farmer Joe has a couple of dozen laying hens out in the shed. Since they came from two different "premises of origin", each and every one has to be given an individual identification number and tagged with an RFID chip. If he sells one to his brother-in-law for Sunday fried chicken, this must be reported to Big Brother. If, one morning, he finds fresh coyote tracks and chicken feathers, he must go through and identify all the other chickens so he can report the one that got eaten. If Dick and Jane enjoy weekend horseback rides, they will have to report to Big Brother each and ever time the trailer leaves the house for a trail ride, fair, exhibition, or even change of pasture. Even little Susie's 4-H bottle baby calf will also be under Federal scrutiny.

NAIS will apply to horses, chickens, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, deer, elk, bison, turkeys, pigeons and even fish ponds. I have not heard a definate answer to the rumors whether your doggies and kitties will be included too. It seems odd to me that the same bloated Federal government that cannot keep track of 20-25 million illegal people thinks it can suddenly keep track of many times that number of livestock animals.

All this, of course, is supposedly for our safety and protection, according to the benevolent Nanny State. Allow me to offer a few other reasons I suspect weigh heavily in the bargain.

First, of course, is for the benefit of the big agri-business monopoly. If there are no independent small farms left, you have no choice but to buy their genetically altered shot-up mass-produced products and pay whatever they demand. The government, too, would of course benefit. The Federal government is the single largest employer in these United States these days (not, I suspect, what the founding Fathers quite had in mind), with a very powerful union to back it up. Just think of all the good=paying full-benefits job packages for uncaring, indifferent bureaucratic drones and hacks this boondoggle will provide. And it will enable the USDA to belly up to the trough for a huge influx of taxpayer dollars in the form of "Homeland Security" money.

So my motto is "Kiss my NAIS", and I have been letting my duly elected reprehensitives know.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Wow! I had heard a little about this before, but I never knew how extensive it is to be. Sounds like an expensive boondoggle in the works, as well as needless snoopiness by the Feds.