"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, May 24, 2008

NAIS - Where's The Beef...Literally

NAIS is an acronym for National Animal Identification System, a program of the USDA. Here is a brief explanation of the voluntary no cost program, posted from the USDA's website.
To protect the health of U.S. livestock and poultry and the economic well-being of those industries, we must be able to quickly and effectively trace an animal disease to its source.

When a disease outbreak occurs, animal health officials need to know:

  • Which animals are involved in a disease outbreak
  • Where the infected animals are currently located
  • What other animals might have been exposed to the disease

By choosing to participate in NAIS, you will join a national disease response network built to protect your animals, your neighbors, and your economic livelihood against the devastation of a foreign animal disease outbreak.


The program is designed to ensure consumer confidence and protect the health and viability of the nation's livestock. NAIS will allow for continued expansion in the export market of livestock and all producers will benefit when the marketability of their product improves according to CattleNetwork web site.

NAIS protects the animal livestock industry and food market from a disastrous outbreak such as "mad cow" disease. The system would allow food safety officials to track, in a rapid response time frame, the origin and mitigate the spread of the disease like mad cow.

Mad Cow disease would massacre the agricultural industry; animal agriculture is an $80 billion industry, and the impact on the national economy would be devastating if a disease outbreak such as mad cow were to occur.

"Premises registration is an effort to identify all the locations in the United States where livestock and/or poultry are raised or housed. It's the first step in improving animal disease response" according to the USDA website. The program is supported by Farm Bureau and New York State is one of the leading states in the country for the registration of premises according to NAIS premise statistical reports, with over 75% premises registered, New York is ranked #5 in country.

The county fair season is around the corner, which means increased movement of livestock and poultry. The NAIS program is a way to ensure the agriculture industry that such events can continue to occur without concern.

The cost associated with not participating in the NAIS program could be very high for the industry, as witness from the spread of mad cow disease in Europe.

The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, who supports the program, reports on their long history of "preventing, controlling, and eradicating diseases of animal health and public health significance" and that none of this is accomplished without cooperative "forward thinking" active participants.

New York State Senator Darrel Aubertine, according to a recent article in the Watertown Daily Times is opposed to NAIS. It is ironic he would oppose such a measure to protect the agricultural community while there is overwhelming documented support for the program. He is opposed to a program designed for food safety, while he was so concerned about another food safety issue MPC.

Milk Protein Concentrates was the subject of legislation, A01999, sponsored by then Assemblyman Aubertine that prevented labeling products with MPCs as dairy products. The objective of MPC labeling, COOL (country of origin labeling) and NAIS are all somewhat similar in nature; consumer and food safety and public health.

Why would Senator Aubertine be opposed to food safety and public health?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Darrel is merely pandering to a small group of farmers in Jefferson and St.Lawrence County. That is how I read the article in the times.

Food safety will continue to become a bigger and bigger issue.

Just think of all the beef recalls in the recent years. While that is a processor recall, we need to insure every step from the feedlot to the consumer has built in safety measures. NAIS is a key component.

Jay Matteson, Jefferson County's Agricultural guy, on his morning show this Friday talked about NAIS. He mentioned that there are some issues with the program, but he agrees that it is an important program.

Farmers are the frontline of protecting our food supply and I deeply respect what they do. This program might create some headaches, but progressive thinking farmers will see NAIS as a program the will insure not only the safety of our food, but ultimately the viability of their industry.

Heres to our Ag Industry, have a great season!

RWiley said...

The farmers of Mr. Aubertine's district are still family operations trying to compete with the big boys. The animal identification project is very costly and labor intensive. The small farmer and family, gets a smaller cut, has less effect on price control and even with some subsidy, will suffer an immediate income reduction. Ironically, most Republicans would normally resist this type of government control and scream, "lay off". For example, most flowers sold here come from countries like Ecuador and Chili. What if we suffered a flower disease scare? Can you imagine a small town florist having to run a tracking program for every flower he handles in order to prevent diseases coming into our country?

The boys with the big tractors have the advantage of volume and see this as another way to gain control of the product as well as the market. The same thing could happen to cows, ect., that is happening to some plants such as canola. A big conglomerate could patent an animal which might even be cloned like they do corn and the next thing you know, the small family farmer is paying a big royalty to use the animal. The inspectors then no longer accept the traditional breeds and the small farmer is gone. It has already happened to farmers who no longer are allowed to use some types of seeds.

Of course, the Big Boys use the issue of public health. However, most likely, there is more of a profit and competition motive.

What seems radical to you is really another example of the man, who is
ONE OF US
taking a bold step to represent his constituency. Will Barclay who never laid hands on the back of a cow would have held his nose and ignored this one.

I realize the race is on and you will be swinging at anti-Darryl pitches, but I think you struck out on this one.

RWiley said...

Shame on Anon # 1 for your shallow thinking. In your eyes it may be a small group of farmers. But, they are still the backbone of this district. Other than the State, they own the land which makes possible the hunting, snowmobiling, and four-wheeling which is a very important issue with the sportsman of this district.

Remember the great swine flu scare which made southern chicken farmers rich since each shot required an egg? Those eggs did not come from family farmers who were forced out of the chicken business because of government manipulation. No swine flu, but some people were killed by the shot.

Mr. Renzi is the cowboy in this race, and the farmers and the cowboys should be friends. If Mr. Renzi doesn't "pander to a small group of farmers", his campaign is dead meat before he even gets to put on his boots, hold his nose, and milk a cow. And trust me, you will see a commercial showing Mr. Renzi in a barn.

Henwhisperer said...

Oh come on. Four years into the NAIS fight and this is all you can come up with, a rehash of USDA's propaganda?

The truth is this: NAIS and premises registration is NOT ABOUT DISEASE. How, pray tell, will a rfid tag, removed at slaughter, be able to help with disease? NAIS is all about increasing profits for industrialized agriculture and its assorted business partners.

A premises registration number puts an encumbrance on the property and turns the person who owns the property into a stakeholder who no longer has actual full ownership rights.

What is going to really increase the chance of FMD in this country is when USDA moves it's biological lab from Plum Island, off the coast of Long Island, NY to the middle, the heartland, of agriculture in Kansas. Wow. What good sense.

You really owe it to yourself, your family, your children and your grandchildren to educate yourself about NAIS. You may do so at NoNAIS dot org or on my blog henwhisperer dot blogspot dot com.

And for further information go to Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund where they have filed a notice to sue USDA and Michigan Dept. of AG to stop NAIS.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Wiley;

I said the Aubertine was pandering to a small group of farmers. He would really pander to a large group. Aubertine is telling the farmers what they want to hear without any plans to change things. What would you call it?

Don't drop that "one of us" claim on me again. In 3 short months, Aubertine has shown that he is certainly not us.

He isn't "one of us" ATV owner or enthusist or he wouldn't have sat back and watched the DEC close down certain roads to use without even raising a peep, and he certainly is not "one of us" when he voted to steal over a million dollars from the snowmobile registration money. Give me a break.

P said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
R. Smith said...

As I understand this new USDA program of NAIS is not voluntary but mandatory with serious penalties and is very expensive in labor to implement.

As to this program safeguarding the food chain, well that's all hogwash.

The Bush Administration has cut the number of inspectors at slaughterhouses and reduced their enforcement powers.

To add more insult to the farmers the Bush Administration has refused to increase testing for mad cow disease. When mad cow disease is detected the Bush Administration has withheld that information from the public for weeks and in some cases months because it might hurt the packinghouses.

As usual, Darryl is right on this issue and he is one of us.

Unlike anonymous that doesn't know what he is talking about I will sign this.

Anonymous said...

This identification system is the first step towards what could be something far more sinister. The corprocrats which include members of both of the major parties, who are wholly owned and operated subsidiaries of multinational corporations who view not only livestock as property, but also workers and consumers might just use this to drive the price of food dramatically higher and eliminate a significant portion of the food supply causing further food shortages and mass starvation. The best way to control an unruly population is to control the food supply, or eliminate it. Economically things are ready to get very bad. A good way to make many of the problems go away is the elimination of a significant percentage of the population. The easiest way to do that is cutting off the food supply. It becomes easy to cut off that food supply when a tagging program purports that a large portion of the food supply is contaminated and unsafe, no?

Anonymous said...

Black helicopters and cow tags, a true consiracy theory

RWiley said...

a conservative, a bit of a cuss
got frustrated and made a fuss
then messed his pants
while old wiley rants
darryl aubertine is still one of us

Anonymous said...

Has this become the Darrel Aubertine Defenders blog?

Good work, IV, on uncovering yet another important issue for region overlooked by the printed media.

RWiley said...

Although Political IV is a great blogger who is good at teaching us about one side of local politics, Annon above gives him too much credit on this one. It was not a scoop, it was a link to a partisan source. Google and you will find hundreds like it from both sides of the problem.

Anonymous said...

Some of the reactions to this post are so rabid that posters should check the source of their meat for possible contamination.

Seems to me that the goal of a post like this is to generate discussion and debate about the facts of an issue. So let's get to the facts:

-- NAIS registration carries no cost to farmers. It doesn't matter what you believe, that's a fact.

-- nearly 80 percent of NY farmers are registered. Have they collectively lost their minds? Or maybe they understand the value of a food supply system that can be certified as safe and untainted.

-- The NY Farm Bureau, which prides itself of being member-driven in its positions on issues of import to agriculture, backs NAIS.

-- only a handful of local farmers (well meaning though they may be) seem to have a problem with NAIS.

-- Darrel Aubertine sides (strongly) with the handful of outsiders.

--- family farms are likely to be worst hit by an outbreak of a mad cow or any type of food-borne disease. Its the mega-operations that liley could absorb any type of disruption.

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