The National Animal Identification System had not been on my radar screen-but now it is. I am not too sure how concerned I should be. Here's the deal: one of the responses to 9/11 was concern for our food supply. Thus some bright guy came up with the idea of keeping tags on ALL livestock in the country. (Never mind that we only inspect a minuscule portion of the crates which enter our ports-let's track ever chicken which may be used to contaminate the populace.)
Of course any mass contamination is a product of our big-Ag system anyway-just as the recent and recurring spinach, tomato, etc e. coli and salmonella outbreaks demonstrate. If livestock farms were small and local or at least regional, the nation wouldn't be susceptible to these dangers anyway. But we can't let anything get in the way of letting the government micromanage our lives.
Of course it all says the NAIS is voluntary... yet get these quotes from the NAIS in a Nutshell Brochure (my emphasis):
NAIS consists of three voluntary components:
1. Premise (or site) identification
2. Animal identification
3. Animal tracing.
And the second quote from the same brochure (again, my emphasis):
If the animals are for your own use and don't leave the premises you will not need to identify them, but you do have to register your premises using NAIS.
Sounds real voluntary to me. Here's another money quote from the USDA NAIS site:
USDA maintains limited premises information and will protect individuals' private information and confidential business information from disclosure.
... just like our Social Security numbers would NEVER be used as personal identification numbers-oh yeah!
There is a small pig farmer in Vermont who is trying to fight NAIS; here's the website.
Do you know that in SC it is illegal for me to trade half a pig to my neighbor for, let's say several months supply of vegetables? Things are way out of hand folks.
Oremus pro invicem!