Group Asks That NAIS Program Be Dissolved

November 29, 2009 06:00 PM

Source: R-CALF USA news release

A 100-group coalition sent letters to USDA and Congress urging that the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) be dissolved completely. The letter to Congress asks members of the House and Senate to "…support the limited use of NAIS funding to shut down the program, and to refocus the agency on measures that truly improve animal health and that respect the interests of both livestock owners and consumers.” 

In the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, Congress reduced NAIS funding to $5.3 million, but did not specify how those funds were to be allocated. 

"We respectfully request that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognize the fundamental flaws in NAIS and the public opposition to the program, and not use the $5.3 million appropriated for NAIS to further advance, in any way, this program,” states the letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  

Instead, the coalition recommend that USDA expressly limit the use of the funds to:  

1) Formally withdraw all pending rulemaking initiated by the agency to advance NAIS and pay the associated costs;

2) Pay all existing contractual obligations and NAIS-related costs that USDA incurred prior to Sept. 30, 2009;  

3) Pay all costs associated with transferring the computer hardware acquired by USDA as part of NAIS to state animal health agencies, to enable state agencies to improve their ability to communicate among agencies in the event of a disease outbreak; and, 

4) Pay all costs associated with providing the people of the United States and Congress with an official, comprehensive report on all of the testimony USDA received at each of the NAIS listening sessions held throughout the country in 2009. 

"We urge this course of action because, contrary to its stated purposes, NAIS will not address animal disease or food safety problems,” the letter to Congress states. "Instead, NAIS imposes high costs and paperwork burdens on family farmers and creates incentives for corporate-controlled confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and vertically integrated systems. This ill-conceived and badly implemented program should be halted.” 

Click here to read the full release and see a list of the members of the coalition.

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