Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Stop the National Animal Identification System

by the Organic Consumers Association

Congress is on the brink of voting on an important amendment that could stop the USDA from spending money to implement a controversial program called the National Animal Identification System. Follow this link for more information on "Animal I.D."

While this program is being sold as a way to prevent disease, the real motive behind it is to aid corporate agribusiness. If implemented, this tracking program will have a devastating impact on small family farmers who are already struggling. Please call your representative and ask them to support this amendment.

The USDA’s current plan to create an animal identification system has lots of problems:
1. It does not prevent animal diseases like mad cow or reform the livestock production practices that lead to disease.
2. It does not address the USDA’s weak rules for recalling meat, a vital step in preventing animal diseases from impacting people.
3. It discriminates against small farmers and ranchers.
4. It does not track imported animals or animals once they reach a slaughter facility.
5. It could allow private entities (like meat industry trade associations) to manage the program’s databases, without guaranteeing farmers and ranchers that business information about their operations will be protected.

Rather than devote time and resources to implementing a flawed animal identification system, Congress and USDA should be working to prevent animal diseases like mad cow disease and avian influenza that are the result of factory farm production methods. If they are sincere about gathering information necessary to track animal diseases, they should immediately fund and implement Country of Origin Labeling for meat, which would not only give consumers information about their food, but also allow imported animals to be easily identified.

See also:
Old Big Brother Had a Farm
and
USDA Poised to Push Us Off Our Farms With the National Animal Identification System

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