September 5, 2009

Ding Dong NAIS IS (not) Dead!

Commentary — walterj 12:12 pm

This past week I had the dubious pleasure of speaking on a panel at the National Institute of Animal Agriculture ID Expo (the NGO pusher of NAIS) in Kansas City, Missouri, as the small producers representative on “Opportunities for Animal Identification.” How this occurred is a story in itself, but most important is to let everyone know what modus operandi will be used to bring NAIS to us.

Having been to two other NIAA ID Expos, the most glaring change was the attendance being way down. As a staunch opponent of NAIS and one who has been working full time to stop it for years now, this was a very pleasing sign.

They allowed me to speak on the condition that I not speak about NAIS, as they told me this was not what the conference nor the panel was about. This was at 1:25 and the panel started at 1:30 so at the last minute I had to edit what I planned to say. When I introduced myself, I explained that I was a major opponent of NAIS and Victor Valez had asked me to not speak about it and I promised him that I would be nice.

With the help of the question and answer segment of the panel discussion, I was able to say nearly all that I’d planned. Since I spoke as the representative of small producers engaged in direct sales, I stayed within that niche. I differentiated the philosophies and operations of small growers from those of industrialized ag, and drew the distinction between agribusiness and agriculture, explaining that we are not interested in the corporate agribusiness model. We have considered it and find it destructive to the well being of life overall.

Critically important to relate is that NAIS is dead…but not really. As in any good horror movie, the monster has super-psycho strength and just when it seems to be defeated, it rises up and attacks again. Remember, NAIS began as the National Food Animal Identification Plan, then became the United States Animal Identification Plan, and finally the National Animal Identification System. It will almost certainly not continue to be called NAIS, but instead dubbed ‘animal identification’, be all about ‘food safety’, ’social responsibility’ and ‘farm to fork’ initiatives. The hammers for enforcement will be big ones and constrain the ability to market and sell one’s products, and, should they get their way, attached to indemnity payments, subsidies, conservation programs and access to movement certificates, or health papers.

In other words, “market forces” will force compliance on those who wish to stay out of this onerous system. There will still be ‘premise id’, but it may be changed to ‘unique location identifier.’ There will still be electronic and group ID consisting of 15-character numbers, but it won’t be to ‘NAIS’ standards, (ahem), and there will still be tracking, but it will be referenced as the ‘historical pedigree’ or some similar nonsense. It won’t be called NAIS anymore, but it will be NAIS by a different name. Be prepared for a chorus from the disinformationalists proclaiming the death of the dreaded NAIS. A little twist on what Mark Twain said is appropriate, “Rumors of NAIS’ death have been greatly exaggerated”.

Those who wish to keep NAIS at bay must realize that all of the food safety bills in Congress, and particularly, HR 2749 which passed the House by an overwhelming margin, will codify ‘international standards’ under obligations to ‘international agreements’, and that means NAIS for everything. It will do nothing to improve food safety and everything to put the kaibosh on the fastest growing segment of agriculture, the local food movement. We must assail the Senate and the House with the message that real food safety lies in decentralized, unconsolidated and diverse food production and distribution.

As I told the attendees of the NIAA ID Expo, “There are two kinds of people, those who want to be left alone and those who won’t leave them alone. Small producers and their customers definitely want to be left alone”.

©Doreen Hannes

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  1. Greetings, ladies and gentlemen, countrymen and city folk! Yes, I have been something of a lurker for some time and some of you may not recognize my name. Anyway, I found a great link that gives us 10 (ten) reasons to be happy. The message is that the human spirit shall prevail even as goverment continues to grow out of control. I am convinced that the Fed is on its way out — it is only a matter of time. Here are TEN reasons that we can be happy:


    Comment John Sherrer — September 6, 2009 @ 11:05 am

  2. doreen,my hat is off to you.i want to thank you for all the many years,months,weeks,days,and hours that you have put into the fight against nais.if you had a five dollar bill for each hour that you have put into the fight you would be rich lady.many have come and many have gone,but you are a rock that does not move.there are about three or four of you guys out there.sharon,walter,r-calf.there may be others,but not like you.thank you,nick

    Comment nick — September 7, 2009 @ 9:58 pm

  3. Thank you, Nick….But every single person that works against this, in whatever capacity they have to fight, is as integral and important as anyone else.It’s staying the course and doing the next right thing that will make the difference. I always say that no matter what the odds are, it STILL comes down to the consent of the governed. If we don’t consent, there are many more of us than of them.

    I made a promise when I first found out about NAIS to the purveyor of NAIS in dairy goats that as hard as they had worked to design it, I would work twice as hard and twice as long to derail it. My hyper-vigilance and overdeveloped sense of justice seem well suited for this battle. I really should watch what I promise, tho. Although I knew it would be very difficult, I had no idea how truly long this would all take. My family are the real heroes. Especially my oldest daughter and my husband…without them covering for my absence there would be no way I could do these things.

    Comment Doreen — September 8, 2009 @ 5:52 am

  4. Walter Boy,
    Who ya gona sell your pigs to if nais don’t go?Your neighbors?If thats the case 1 sow ought to keep up with demand.

    [Bob, you have a funny misconception and faulty logic. NAIS does not exist now. We sell our pigs and pork now. If NAIS does not exist in the future it won’t change anything for us or our customers. What I would be interested in hearing from you is what is your vested interest in pushing for NAIS. You seem to be in favor of it. Why? What do you have to gain that is worth other people giving up their freedoms and tax payers paying hundreds of millions of dollars for? Sounds like we’re coming back to the all mighty element of greed by the proponents of NAIS. -WJ]

    Comment bob riley — September 9, 2009 @ 9:41 am

  5. NAIS: When Did We Become the “Thief in the Night”? by Dr jennifer Greiner dvm

    go take a look at this, with your violins playing “my hart bleats for you”!!!

    it is a “where did we go wrong?” expose on NAIS and how to make it where we accept it…they still do not get it.

    i would put a url but you have to take the title and google it because it is a power point presentation. I love the part where it says one of the new tenets should be “do not promise anything!”

    [Here is a link to the PowerPoint presentation. -WJ]

    Comment esbee — September 9, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

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