A heads-up to 4-H and FFA families and anyone who owns livestock in the state of Colorado: Colorado State University has announced that premises registration under the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) will be mandatory for all 4-H/FFA youths in October 2007 as a part of registration in a livestock project. Premises registration is voluntary at the federal level at this time, but CSU thinks it will become essential in all segments of the livestock industry in the future.
The NAIS is to be implemented in three stages:
1. Premises Registration. Every livestock owner would have to register the premises where the livestock is held. Livestock animals include cattle, hogs, sheep, goats, poultry, horses, bison, deer, elk, alpacas, llamas and others.
2. Animal Identification. Animals would either be implanted with a microchip or tagged with a radio frequency device. Group or lot identification could be used only where groups of animals are managed together from birth to death and not commingled with other animals. In practice, only large confinement producers of poultry and swine would be able to avail themselves to tagging by lot. Animals not meeting the requirements for group identification will be individually tagged/chipped.
3. Animal tracking. Every time a tag is applied, a lost or an animal needs to be re-tagged, an animal is missing, an animal is commingled with other animals (i.e. rodeos, horse shows, livestock shows, clinics, etc.) or an animal is sold publicly or privately, the event would have to be reported to the government within 24 hours.
Premises registration itself is free, but tagging, reporting and tracing are all at the expense of the livestock owner.
The entire NAIS program is still in draft form. Please access a copy of this lengthy document at the Colorado Department of Agriculture Web site and read it. The word draft is clearly watermarked on every single page of the document. It seems quite insidious to me that 4-H/FFA families are being mandated to have their premises identified into a program that is in draft form. It would be similar to being mandated by a government entity to acquire a loan at a bank chosen by the government and, after the loan is signed, wait to find out how much you borrowed and what the terms and conditions of the loan may be. Once your premises have been registered, they are forever registered, regardless of what changes are made in the NAIS program.
4-H agents are agents of the USDA, according to Dr. Goodwin of CSU. Whatever assurances you are given by anyone (including myself) regarding what may be required of you with respect to the NAIS program can be no more than pure speculation.
While it may be sad that my child will be prohibited from showing a lamb at the Colorado State Fair in 2007 and any county fair in the state of Colorado in 2008, it is a small price to pay to maintain freedom from constant government surveillance as a private citizen who has not been accused of or convicted of any crime.
Is the NAIS program a violation of the rights afforded me under the Constitution of the United States?
I have not been promised or received any grants, have no corporate ties, am not up for election or re-election, owe nothing to any lobbyist and am no one's agent - other than my family's. Please do your own research on this subject. Type the words "NAIS Opposition" into any search engine and see what comes up.