USDA Three More Public Meetings on Animal Identification*******

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances' started by wilds of pa, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Songster

    Liberty Ark Coalition

    Liberty Ark Action Alert: USDA Announces Three More Public Meetings on Animal Identification:
    More Opportunities to Tell The Agency What You Think About Animal ID!

    Date: August 9, 2010
    The USDA continues to hold public meetings to discuss its “new framework” for animal traceability. USDA has stated that this new framework will apply only to animals that cross interstate borders and will emphasize low-cost identification methods. But Big Ag and Big Tech are pushing for a more expansive – and expensive -- federal program, while they also make plans to re-create NAIS at the state level. It also appears that some career bureaucrats who supported NAIS continue to agree with Big Ag and Big Tech's views.

    The public meetings are an opportunity to have input before the agency writes its proposed rule. The next meetings are in August in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Washington.


    Come to the meeting and make your voice heard!

    Wednesday, August 18
    Crowne Plaza Madison
    4402 East Washington Avenue
    Madison, WI 53704

    Friday, August 20
    Doubletree Hotel Atlanta Airport
    3400 Norman Berry Drive
    Atlanta, GA 30344

    Tuesday, August 24
    Red Lion Hotel
    2525 N 20th Avenue
    Pasco, WA 99301

    The meetings will take place between 8 am and 4 pm, and the USDA has more information posted at

    morning will consist of presentations by government officials, followed by breakout sessions at tables based on species groups. After the small groups have reported back to the full audience, a USDA official will respond to written questions, and there may be an opportunity at the very end for oral questions or comments.

    Below are a couple of suggestions to help you be effective:

    1) Plan your written questions ahead of time. When the USDA official goes through the questions in the afternoon, if he doesn’t actually answer your question, stand up and politely insist on an answer.

    2) At the small group discussion, be prepared to be an advocate for your views and to politely disagree with the facilitator(s). If they claim that a “consensus” has been reached with an answer that you don’t agree with, say so. At the end, one person from the table will report back to the full group. Let the spokesperson give his or her report, and then politely speak up to add any points that were covered by the group that were skipped.


    The USDA has held five public meetings on its new animal traceability framework. Below is information drawn from people attending the previous meetings.

    The USDA’s new proposal was developed by a "Regulatory Working Group” made up of five state vets and five tribal representatives. The proposal includes four performance standards, which set how quickly States and Tribes must be able to perform four activities:

    1. The State where the animal is located must notify the State or Tribe where the animal of interest was originally identified: 95% within 1 business day

    2. The State or Tribe where the animal of interest was officially identified must identify the "traceability unit" in which the animal was identified: 75% within 5 business days, with a later phase requiring 95% within 2 business days

    3. The State where the animal is located must notify the State or Tribe from which the animal was last shipped: 95% within 7 business days, with a later phase requiring 95% within 3 business days

    4. The State from which the animal was last shipped must identify the "traceability unit" from which the animal was shipped: 75% within 5 business days, with a later phase requiring 95% within 2 business days

    Many concerns have already been raised at these earlier meetings:

    • What is the basis for the new proposal? The “performance standards,” like NAIS, lack a scientific basis. At one breakout table, a USDA vet stated that the performance standards were based on the “experience” of the state vets and regulatory officials. While experience is important, why is their experience prioritized over the experience of animal owners who deal with animal health every day? Before imposing any new requirements on animal owners, the agency needs to provide solid scientific and economic analyses to show why these steps are needed.

    • Are performance standards the right approach? Should USDA be setting standards when it is far from clear how the States would be able to achieve them?

    • There is still no analysis of where the real problem lies. Is it truly an animal identification problem? Or are the problems with traceability due to bureaucratic inefficiencies, lack of enforcement of existing regulations, or other issues? On the issue of animal health, where exactly are the gaps?

    • There is a continued assumption that electronic ID is the best approach. While USDA has committed to using low-tech methods for the framework, there are repeated references to “progress over time,” and every government speaker emphasized the benefits of RFID tags. Yet the advocates of electronic ID continue to fail to show that it is needed or cost-effective.

    • The proposal is confusing and unclear. For example, there is no written definition of “traceability unit,” and we’ve now heard three different definitions at three different public meetings. At the Colorado meeting, Colorado State Vet Dr. Roehr stated that it was a geographical unit and could be anything from the whole state to a set of counties to a county to an individual premises. At the Utah meeting, Montana State Vet Dr. Zaluski stated that the traceability unit was either a physical location or a group of animals. At the Texas meeting, Oklahoma State Vet Dr. Brewer stated that “ultimately” it is a premises. Three members of the Regulatory Working Group, with three different statements on what the term means!

    How can the public provide input when the people who drafted the proposal can’t even explain it clearly? How can we provide useful input without first getting answers about what the program is, how it will be implemented, its purposes and goals? The proposal is extremely ambiguous, but it appears to set the stage for traceability back to individual premises and ultimately RFID tagging of each animal. Is this USDA’s intent? Or is it being driven by industry and the career bureaucrats who have spent more than a decade building NAIS? Right now, it's not clear.

    Come to the meetings in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Washington, and make your voice heard!

    Go to for more information.

    Liberty Ark Coalition
    Email: [email protected]
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Today, we were at the county co-op. They do have chicks and guineas and now, they won't be doing it anymore. She said the Dept of Ag in GA came and told her that she had to keep records of where every bird went for FIVE YEARS, and handed her a several-inch-thick manual. She told them to stuff it, that she wouldn't do it, period and so no more chicks at the co-op. There are three feed stores in the town next to ours, one has chicks almost year round. Well, guess I really won't be buying feed store chicks anymore. Hadn't intended to, but even if I did, I'd now change my plans. It's coming, under one name or another, it's coming, I'm afraid.
  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Pretty outrageous. NAIS gets shut down over and over, and someone keeps resurrecting it!

    I have no problem with documenting animals that enter the commercial food chain, WHEN THEY ENTER IT, or even requiring similar records for small scale public sales, but there are large numbers of livestock that do NOT enter the food chain. A certain percentage of all livestock species are kept for exhibition purposes. Additionally some are kept for personal use, and then there are some that are pets. And then let's not forget breeding stock.

    Current documentation seems to work pretty well; why is there a perceived need to alter it? Oh, it's to destroy the smaller scale farmer/rancher. GRRRR.
  4. wilds of pa

    wilds of pa Songster

    Well really what it comes down to is control and money..those are the end result of this thing.. loss of freedoms, just as they are always after our right to bare arms..
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  5. TomNY

    TomNY Songster

    Mar 12, 2010
    I thought the original poultry identification fact finding meeting at APHIS headquarters in Riverdale MD went very well. I think most of hype is the result of misinformation or personal agendas. Look at all the ads that popped up for poultry ID aids. Tom
  6. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    I have very mixed feelings about animal identification.

    As a cattle producer I can see the benefit of being able to quickly trace where an animal came from in the event of something like mad cow. To me it is better to be able to isolate what herd needs to have further testing as opposed to quarentining or destroying every beef herd that sold calves thru the same sale barn that an infected animal was sold thru because they aren't sure which herd it came from. But that is assuming that they could ever get a system in place that would work and the odds of that happening anytime soon are probably not very good. The only way they could ever get all cattle producers on board with it is if they would make it impossible to sell without the required ear tags or micro-chips. That is the only way we would ever participate.
  7. greathorse

    greathorse Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    Quote:I hope we are a long ways from restricting your right to Bare your arms or any other appendage for that matter. Bearing Arms may be another matter entirely.

    Just teasing you a bit. I know what you meant
  8. turtlebird

    turtlebird Songster

    Dec 11, 2009
    Quote:Good point Katy. Perhaps they have the greater good of all animal producers, flock raisers in mind. Hmmmmmm
  9. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Quote:It would help if the us government would stop allowing companies to feed the cattle ground up bones and innards from other cows and chickens. Last I checked a healthy diet would help us have healthier animals... and in the long run it would cost less then tagging and tracking every animal from here to Cali.
  10. greathorse

    greathorse Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado

    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010

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