I only learned about this today, which shows what a good job the government is doing about keeping this hushed up. Below is a copy of the letter I’ve just mailed to my state and federal senators, representatives, and Gov. Riley. As soon as I can, I’ll be mailing copies to the Alabama Farmers and Consumers Bulletin, Mother Earth News, the three local papers, and anyone else I can think of who can help spread the word and stop this travesty.

Please, if you live in the States, write your elected officials, your newspapers, magazines, etc. And spread the word! If this gets enacted, it will put small farms out of business and be a huge drain on homesteaders, livestock owners, and anyone who has pets.

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) goes too far. If put into effect, it will require anyone who owns livestock, farm animals, or even pets to microchip their animals and report their every move to the USDA.

According to the USDA, the purpose of NAIS is to prevent disease, such as BSE (commonly known as Mad Cow Disease), and to track disease should it occur. However, if this was indeed the case, there would be no reason to track:

1. Non-food animals, including pets. There is little or no chance of disease entering the food stream from horses, donkeys, and dogs, yet under NAIS, these animals would be subject to the same stringent rules as all other animals.

2. Sales directly from farms to consumers. When the customer buys animal products directly from farms, there is no need for government tracking and intervention; the customer knows where their food came from!

3. Families raising their own livestock for their own consumption. People who raise their own animals for their own food certainly don’t need the government to tell them where their food came from; they’ve raised it themselves, right under their eyes!

Participation in NAIS must be voluntary for these three groups. There is no conceivable reason for the government to track these groups. Even at best, the NAIS requirements would be a useless blend of bureacracy and stupidity. The actual results, however, will be far more serious than that….

NAIS will be expensive. The initial cost for tagging the animals is calculated to run between $3 and $20 per animal. Additionally, there will be a fee for reporting each animal movement—including trips to the vet—which is likely to be in excess of $1 per movement! This is no small change. If animals are not tagged, fines could be in excess of $1000.00 per animal per day. This is simply not reasonable.

Moreover, NAIS is an invasion of privacy. The government does not need to know how many dogs I have or be informed when I sell a dozen eggs to my neighbor. In fact, the government has no right to know. NAIS violates Amendments 1, 4, 5, and 14 of our United States Constitution.

NAIS will have the most impact on small, family-owned farms. It could conceivably drive many already struggling farmers out of business.

Please take immediate action to oppose NAIS and put a stop to the USDA’s interference in our food system. The American people and the people of Alabama have the right to produce their own food and own their own pets without the government looking over their shoulders.

In January of 2008, Animal ID and Premise ID will become mandatory for animal owners. Please act now to put a stop to these absurd requirements. Your constituency will thank you.

To learn more about NAIS, please visit < http://www.noNAIS.org >. Thank you for your time and your attention to this matter.