From another list: Animal Identification Program My friend Jo Van Hoy posted this over on the St. Croix list today and it is worth reading. I do believe that the article accurately states the facts as I have read them. There is still time to contact your representatives and voice your opinion. Go to http://usaip.info/commentssheep.htm, read the proposed law, and then submit your comments in the box provided. It is easy and will not take much time. Carol _________________________________________________ "Novelty" <novelty@f...> wrote: USAIP - UNITED STATES IDENTIFICATION PLAN - editorial How many of you have heard of this plan that is being developed, with input of a select group of producers, through the auspices of the USDA? Apparently there is law already in place as of last year, and now the rules are being written. The goal is eventually to be able to track all US livestock movements from birth to slaughter. We're talking about the pet projects of the 4H youngsters (you can bet that the County and State Fairgrounds will enforce the rules) as well as the big commercial herds and flocks. If you raise any kind of livestock - not just cattle, sheep and goats - you need to understand what this will mean to you. The USAIP program is being developed to individually identify in a national database, all US livestock." So what?" you ask. You might be surprised to discover that included in the plan are not only cattle, bison, camelids (llamas, alpacas, etc.), horses, swine, sheep, goats, deer and elk, but also chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasants, guineas, quail, and pigeon. That's not all - it goes on to include trout, salmon, catfish, Tilapia, Striped Bass, shrimp, crawfish, oysters, clams, scallops, and mussels. Does that get your attention? Fueling the push for the development of this national identification system is the perceived 'need' for a method to trace back all farms and livestock in contact with an animal infected with a contagious disease within 48 hours of discovery. The intention is to set in place a system that will help US animal health officials trace the source of an animal disease outbreak and quarantine herds or flocks that were in contact with or in the vicinity of an infected animal. The 'Mad Cow' scare first in Canada, and more recently in the US in the state of Washington was very timely with the resultant surge of public fear fanned by the intense, non-stop coverage by the national media. Yes, there is a problem to address, but somehow this seems like a case of severe overkill. The complexity and cost of compliance and enforcement is mind-boggling! Isn't this working at a solution from the wrong end? More needs to be done on the prevention end - tighten up enforcement of laws already on the books, make sure that feed producers are not including illegal ingredients in their products, educate livestock owners about disease prevention, show farmers how to go about protecting themselves and their animals, teach the public about what questions to ask, and what to look for in the meat/eggs/milk that they consume. People need to get back to taking responsibility for themselves - the government has no business exercising this much control. It exceeds the definition of their duties according to our US Constitution, which was still in effect to my knowledge. From an article written by Teresa Bjork comes this outline of the proposed plan, to be implemented in three stages: Phase I - All premises involved in livestock production, including farms, auction barns, and processing facilities, will receive an ID number that is unique throughout the US. The task force proposes that Phase I begin in July 2004 (my emphasis). Phase II - All livestock will receive unique individual ID numbers, beginning July, 2005. In the case of pork and poultry, groups or lots will receive unique ID numbers. Animals will receive visible ear tags featuring the ID numbers. Starting in July, 2005 the system will use radio frequency identification devices (RFID) to electronically identify and track (by GPS) animals. Phase III - All animal movements will be tracked electronically (even to the grave!). The reporting of interstate animal movements will begin in July, 2005, while intrastate movement tracing will begin in July, 2006. (continued on page 3........) The centralized database to collect all this information is to be maintained by USDA/APHIS. Do you recall all the uproar about the Scrapie Eradication program? All those premise ID's assigned in every state? How much money has been spent on that project, which has still not been fully clarified and made to conform from state to state? It is already about to become obsolete - all new premise IDs for this program will be issued and the old ones phased out in one to two years. By the way, premise IDs will be very specific - not just a physical address, but a GPS coordinate as well. You should also look into the penalties and fines that could be imposed if you fail to jump through all the hoops. (This is Federal Law - they will be steep! Read page 46, VI-H, Producer Responsibility) Who will have access to all the information stored in the massive database? We are told that it will be the USDA/APHIS and "only for animal health purposes". It will be accessible only by officials using controlled passwords (how do you spell 'hacker', 'filegate, etc.? Privacy is obsolete!). The rules are still in the proposal stage, but it is being pushed hard and fast, and there is advice being circulated by some of those working on the project that we not muddy the waters with concerns or complaints directed to our legislators. We are told that it might 'confuse' the project and lead to outcomes that we will like even less. We elected our legislators to protect our interests as US citizens. I doubt that we would be wrong to ask them to come to our defense. You can read the proposal for yourself - 74 pages of it so far, and many sections are incomplete, including the specific rules for [sheep]. The web address is http://usaip.info, and I urge you to study it for yourself! Your comments are welcome -- e-mail address: KGBAssn@aol.com. Pat Showalter THE KINDER GOAT BREEDERS ASSOCIATION (http://members.aol.com/KGBAssn/) Snohomish, Wn.