MSM finally covers No NAIS: ‘Rebellion on the Range’

Livestock xEricDraper NYTimes

At the Platt family ranch in Horse Springs, N.M., cattle were rounded up to be branded and tagged. The family opposes a government plan to track cattle with computer chips. Photo by Eric Draper

By Erik Erikholm
New York Times

HORSE SPRINGS, N.M. — Wranglers at the Platt ranch were marking calves the old-fashioned way last week, roping them from horseback and burning a brand onto their haunches.

What they were emphatically not doing, said Jay Platt, the third-generation proprietor of the ranch, was abiding by a federally recommended livestock identification plan, intended to speed the tracing of animal diseases, that has caused an uproar among ranchers. They were not attaching the recommended tags with microchips that would allow the computerized recording of livestock movements from birth to the slaughterhouse.

“This plan is expensive, it’s intrusive, and there’s no need for it,” Mr. Platt said.

Mr. Platt said he already did all he could to fight epidemics. He does not bring any outside animals into his herds, and he happily staples on metal tags that identify animals to help with brucellosis control. But as he drove his pickup from grasslands into dense thickets of piñon pine on this highland desert that requires 100 acres per cow, he explained why he thought the federal plan was wrongheaded.

Mr. Platt called the extra $2 cost of the electronic tags an onerous burden for a teetering industry and said he often moved horses and some of his 1,000 head of cattle among three ranches here and in Arizona. Small groups of cattle are often rounded up in distant spots and herded into a truck by a single person, who could not simultaneously wield the hand-held scanner needed to record individual animal identities, Mr. Platt said. And there is no Internet connection on the ranch for filing to a regional database.

Read the full post at New York Times


2 responses to “MSM finally covers No NAIS: ‘Rebellion on the Range’

  1. I found it interesting, the suggestion that tracing BSE to see what other animals those cattle have been with would be included… They must mean the birth herd – for which records already exist in several places!

    BSE is NOT transferrable between animals unless those animals are eating each other’s neural tissues, or nursing a calf.

    Of the 5 reported cases in this country, I believe all were in steers. And, 4 of those traced nearly immediately – and back to Canada at that. Hmm.

    This is why we have an FDA feed ban – it is not a reason for NAIS. Current policy would have us tracking our cattle, yet allowing Canadian cattle in with no recourse. Same with Mexico and TB.

    Interesting what our USDA and our Congress will do to ensure the complete destruction of American farming – and our right to choose our own food sources!

    (Besides… COOL – which we supported to prevent just this type of problem… Well, if you read it, it still SPECIFICALLY prohibits mandatory animal identification!!)

    NAIS violates current law – the Administrative Procedure Act, COOL, and the Constitution itself. Should be more than enough to get people asking some pretty serious questions…

    Hey – has anybody ever figured out what the EPA is going to say about all that plastic and mercury (among other things) from all the chips that’ll go into the landfill? APA requires an environmental impact survey that the USDA has never done… Is every processing plant going to wind up being another Superfund site??

  2. Thanks for the info, Sue. Wisconsin farmer Paul G writes:

    Don’t know who wrote this, but Wisconsin doesn’t require 840 tags at this point, and has had no TB cases.

    Michigan does and now Nebraska farmers are being forced to use tags after TB showed up.

    Wisconsin only has mandatory premises registration, and has been working to get funding for tags and move to the next step.

    Last week’s Country Today had an article in which the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium is giving out free RFID tags to beef and hog producers.

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