Need-to-Know Info on Animal ID: The USDA Has Targeted Farms and Livestock Facilities, and Their Livestock, for Intrusive, Unnecessary, and Eventually Mandatory Identification and Tracking Regulations

By Gilmore, Jodie | The New American, May 15, 2006 | Go to article overview

Need-to-Know Info on Animal ID: The USDA Has Targeted Farms and Livestock Facilities, and Their Livestock, for Intrusive, Unnecessary, and Eventually Mandatory Identification and Tracking Regulations


Gilmore, Jodie, The New American


The United States Department of Agriculture would have you believe Americans are at high risk from being infected with one or more animal-borne diseases--such as mad cow disease and Asian bird flu.

The USDA's National Animal Identification System (NAIS) promises animal tracking from birth through death to stave off the transmission of these diseases. Animals will be identified using a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag, or other type of identification mechanism. Species to be covered by the system include cattle, swine, sheep, goats, horses, poultry, bison, deer, elk, llamas, and alpacas.

The USDA claims the NAIS is necessary to help make our food safe, and they have done a good job of marketing the program. A thoughtful examination of the facts, however, reveals the NAIS is not as portrayed.

Is the NAIS Legal?

The NAIS is patently illegal, posing problems on several constitutional fronts.

The NAIS is clearly in opposition to the search and seizure laws upheld by the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If the NAIS is implemented, USDA officials will not need a warrant to enter a premises to inspect animals; they will be able to enter private property whenever they deem it "necessary." Also, the NAIS Draft Program Standards (DPS) indicate that identification will include the GPS coordinates of the premises where the animals are kept. According to Mary Zanoni, who holds a law degree from Yale and is now the executive director of Farm for Life, a nonprofit organization supporting small-scale and sustainable agriculture, legal precedents define GPS monitoring as an illegal search of citizens' homes.

As if that weren't enough, the NAIS also has the potential to violate both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, which state that no one can be deprived of property without due process of law. The USDA claims the right to remove animals from a premises, and it makes no mention of remuneration to the rancher.

"The federal government doesn't have jurisdiction to come onto your private property and put a tag on your animal," said former Congressman Helen Chenoweth-Hage. "It's a due process issue." But, she said, the feds have a long history of overlooking the constitutional protections for life, liberty, and property.

The USDA is ignoring the illegality of the NAIS and is trying to convince states and agricultural groups that the NAIS is necessary, promoting it under three flagship tactics: disease, terrorism, and market competitiveness.

Will the NAIS Prevent Disease?

The spread of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), or "mad cow disease," is the most prominent mantra of the USDA when promoting the NAIS. The truth is that the NAIS is not necessary for the control of BSE. In 1998, a Harvard Center for Risk Analysis study (commissioned by the USDA) concluded that, if BSE were introduced into the United States, due to the preventive measures already in place, it would be extremely unlikely to become established here. According to the Harvard study, "Measures in the U.S. that are most effective at reducing the spread of BSE include the ban on the import of live ruminants and ruminant meat and bone meal from the UK (since 1989) and all of Europe (since 1997) by USDA/APHIS, and the feed ban instituted by the Food and Drug Administration in 1997 to prevent recycling of potentially infectious cattle tissues. This feed ban greatly reduces the chance that BSE will spread from a sick animal back to other cattle through feed." Of the three BSE-positive cows in the United States, not one entered the food supply (and at least one came from Canada, which ironically already has a system similar to the NAIS).

Not only does the United States already have measures in place to protect the food supply from BSE, but worldwide, BSE is a diminishing threat. Cases of BSE have declined about 50 percent per year over the last three years, with only 474 animals dying of BSE in 2005. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Need-to-Know Info on Animal ID: The USDA Has Targeted Farms and Livestock Facilities, and Their Livestock, for Intrusive, Unnecessary, and Eventually Mandatory Identification and Tracking Regulations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.