The Cattlemen's Texas Longhorn Registry does not support any form of a mandatory National Animal Identification System (NAIS), including mandatory premises registration, animal identification, and/or government-mandated animal tracking. We are deeply concerned how such legislation would affect the wellbeing of our irreplaceable genetic base of this heritage breed.
NAIS invades our privacy and violates the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. NAIS, and any program like it, would adversely affect availability of locally produced, healthy food. The safety and security of our food supply is best protected when producers are responsible for sustaining a healthy herd and ecosystem. Government databases, in contrast, do not improve the health of the animals and are technologically vulnerable.
We advocate cattle be kept in their natural environment where instincts influence their behavior. We discourage confined feeding and unnecessary handling that are responsible for most bovine injuries and illnesses. Producers should remain free to move animals, while complying with current animal health requirements, without the added burden of reporting such movement to the custodian of a surveillance archive. Any government requirements limiting the free movement, sale, or use of animals should be clearly supported by scientific evidence showing that the animal health benefits to be obtained outweigh the costs in time, money, and the loss of freedom.
We support marketing of locally produced foods grown on sustainable farms. If an animal identification system benefits the export market, then it should be market driven with voluntary participation of those who will benefit from export. Independent producers and taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize the system. NAIS will not improve animal health or prevent the spread of disease, but it would cost producers, consumers and taxpayers higher fees to maintain databases that benefit only a few corporations. Tracking should be left to private enterprise utilizing Process Verified Programs that assure product quality and compassionate and humane standards of production.
We believe the NAIS is a leap away from democracy and our Bill of Rights. It is the first of many steps to follow that strip away citizens' freedoms in favor of corporate dominance that will ultimately trap this country into dependence on foreign commodities. We support the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance in their position of opposition to a NAIS. We encourage our members to contact their legislators and request legislation that bars a mandatory program, stops government funding, and protects individuals from coercion or pressure to participate in any voluntary program.
Links for more information about NAIS
http://www.farmandranchfreedom.org/ Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance
http://www.westonaprice.org/ Weston A. Price Foundation
http://www.albc-usa.org/news/jun1_06.html American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/08/AR2007090800997_pf.html Latest news linking cancer to implanted microchips
http://www.alternet.org/rights/62858/ NAIS Truths
Be afraid of the World Health Organization’s Codex Alimentarius! http://www.nationalhealthfreedom.org
The issue of NAIS raises a related issue: the government's policy if there is an outbreak of a disease. NAIS is designed to make it easier for the government to find every animal. So producers need to be educated about the government's mandatory depopulation plan for Hoof and Mouth Disease. Hysteria and the export market are driving governmental decisions that effect citizens' lives, rather than sound scientific evidence and decision-making. -
Hoof and Mouth Disease (also known as Foot and Mouth Disease) is:
• not transmissible to humans
• highly contagious among hoofed farm animals and some wildlife and easily spread by humans from farm-to-farm on equipment and clothing
• a pox-like viral disease rarely fatal to adult livestock and if allowed to run its course, entire herds can develop immunity to the disease and never again be afflicted
• responsible for temporary economic losses due to weight loss while animals are infected
• preventable with a vaccine, but our government will not allow its use because animals testing positive with a Hoof and Mouth titer cannot be exported.
• the cause of mass-hysteria in Europe that resulted in herd depopulations that caused excessive economic losses to farmers by destroying their source of income when many were not licensed to work off the farm, annihilated bloodlines that in many instances took years or even generations to develop, sent many farmers into massive debt that resulted in the loss of their farms and livelihoods, caused many clinical cases of depression and was attributed to multiple suicides in farming communities.
For more information about the U.S. government's unpreparedness in dealing with foreign animal disease, read the Government Accountability Office Report 05-214 on Homeland Security and Agroterrorism
For more information about government intervention into the privacy of farmers, read Mad Sheep by Linda Faillace. This true story recounts her family's loss of a prize flock of sheep in 2001 when the federal government incorrectly suspected the animals were diseased.
(as quoted from inside front cover of book)
"Linda and Larry Faillace wanted to start a farm. They dreamed of raising sheep and making cheese in rural Vermont. They did the research, followed the rules, and worked hard for years. Finally their family business began to succeed; healthy new lambs were born on their small hillside farm while the Faillaces and their three children learned herding, milking, and cheesemaking together. Then, without warning, all their dreams turned into a nightmare. The U.S. Department of Agriculture told them that the sheep they imported from Europe and New Zealand (with the USDA's seal of approval) carried BSE, the dreaded "mad cow disease". After months of harassment and surveillance including USDA agents spying from nearby mountaintops armed federal agents seized the Faillace's flock. Despite documented proof that the government agency's claims were not only false but also impossible, the animals were slaughtered. A family farm was destroyed so that the USDA could claim it was protecting the public from mad cow disease and protecting the beef industry from an outbreak of BSE, which had sent Britain's beef business into a tail spin. Mad Sheep is the unforgettable story of one family's struggle against a bullying and corrupt government agency that long ago abandoned the family farmer to serve the needs of corporate agriculture and the industrialization of our food supply."
In September of 2006, armed government agents stormed the hog and sheep farm of Cindi and Danny Henshaw in Virginia and violently slaughtered by shotgun the Henshaw's livelihood, while armed guards controlled the Henshaws movements on their own property for eleven days. At the same time, another depopulation took place on the hog farm of Eugene Davis in Virginia. The pretense of this "depopulation" was suspicion of the animals carrying pseudorabies, a disease not contagious to humans, but reportable in the "pseudorabies-free" state of Virginia. Pseudorabies is a viral disease most prevalent in swine, often causing newborn piglets to die. Older pigs can survive infection, becoming carriers of the pseudorabies virus. Other species of animals can become infected from swine, which is also known as Aujeszky's disease and "mad itch." It is non-fatal in ruminants and infected cattle and sheep may first show signs of pseudorabies by scratching and biting themselves. In dogs and cats, pseudorabies can cause sudden death. Exposure is through consumption of raw infected pork products. This disease is preventable with vaccine. Agents charged with depopulation violated Virginia regulations that allow the sale of hogs that test positive for slaughter for human consumption. The live animals were neither tested or were their owners allowed to recoup their losses by sale of any infected animals. Instead their Constitutional rights to privacy and property were violated and the state presented the owners with a bill for their "depopulation services." The bleeding carcasses were improperly removed by the agents from the premises, creating the possibility of spread of disease to wildlife and local pets.