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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Say No to NAIS!

I wanted to make my blog readers aware of a very scary program legislation circulating around Washington DC. It is the National Animal Identification System or NAIS. Here's a brief synopsis:

The National Animal Identification System, (NAIS) is a government-run program in the United States intended to permit improved animal health surveillance by identifying and tracking specific animals. Administered at the federal level by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a branch of the United States Department of Agriculture, NAIS will also be overseen by state animal health boards. While the federal program is voluntary, money received by some states, tribes, and non-profit entities from the USDA through cooperative agreements has been used to make parts or all of the program mandatory.

Joseph of Yellow House Farm sent out a wonderful e-mail to his website subscribers and I felt compelled to share some highlights with you. Written by Joseph Marquette.

N.A.I.S. was invented by corporate agribusiness and is blatantly bent to favor them in both paperwork and in matters of extraordinary expense.

N.A.I.S. is a one-size-fits-all notion that completely ignores that industrial agribusiness factories will be the hot-beds for disease should there be an outbreak. Because of their irresponsible, profit-motivated, and profoundly unnatural maintenance practices which have lead to farm animals with unsound immunity, their stocks could die by the tens of thousands. This, however, is an indictment of their own greed and short-sightedness and in no way reflects the wholesome nature of the small-scale American farm and homestead. It is also a clear measure of how willing they are to create in the name of personal gain tragically unhealthy environments that could produce devastating impacts on us and our food supply. N.B. That the health bureaucracy aids them, promotes them, and favors them in all they do.

Our heritage breeds, being an expression of natural life, are much more suited to life in nature. Pure-bred, heritage breeds, raised in natural settings, are the only true choice for any producer or consumer, if we are hoping to invest in a sustainable, life-affirming future.

If we return to pure-bred heritage breeds raised in natural settings, it will, on the one hand, mean the end of cheap meat as commodity, which of course is never available to us without the promotion of suffering in the world. On the other hand, our food will blessedly be deeply nourishing, community building, tradition forming, and free of the very real shame we suffer as a people, when we turn to hybrid, unnaturally reproducing, oil-dependent, industrial meat-product.

If we return to pure-bred heritage farm animals as the primary source of our food, it will undermine our pathological meat industry and put an end to their inhumane practices. They know this, and thwarting this demise is what the National Animal Identification System is really about.

N.A.I.S. is embraced by non-farming, unelected "health" officials. At the risk of sounding overly sharp, I share with you that the meta-lesson that I have learned in working with unelected health officials is that they are not concerned with what you, the people of New Hampshire, might want, even if many of you are much more informed than they. They are unelected regulators whose job it is to dictate to you what you may or may not eat. Of course, insofar as they are unelected and possess regulatory force, we are all subject to their personal psychologies. The reason for which poultry can be sold in Dover and cannot be sold in Portsmouth is in no way a difference in law but an expression of the personal psychologies of the unelected health officials who are empowered to tell you what you can or cannot do without you having any expedient democratic recourse to thwart their whim.

If N.A.I.S. becomes national policy you will lose your local farms for the foreseeable future either because we will be unable to pay the fees or because we will be forced to reflect these fees in our pricing which you will not be able to afford both of which will lead to the same end result of undermining our precious local economy and making you and your family entirely dependent on industrial food from farm away.

Sadly, if we are brave enough to encounter the Truth, we will dare to recognize that agribusiness and the transportation of food account for an estimated 20% of our national fuel consumption. Taking a deep breath, we then follow the simple, clear logic that the stability of industrial agribusiness depends on the arms race and the wars that feed it. It is time for us as a country to begin to face these humiliating truths.

I offer for your reading list: The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace, by M. Scott Peck, M.D. It is outstandingly timely. As a military psychologist, he uses his insider experience to help us see specific areas of change that are needed for the establishment of enduring peace. Considering the last eight years; the last presidential election; the emerging economic depression; the ubiquity of chemical food-products; the virtual impossibility of consuming anything free from the guilt of international impoverishment; the stark realization that we are pouring unfathomable sums of money into the banks to whom we already give monthly almost every penny that we earn in the hopes that they will lend us our money back such that we can pay them even more of the money that we do not have in the first place; and the need to consider in all things our personal and communal impact on the Earth, our Mother, The Different Drum could not be more pertinent. Still, considering that community leads to joy, the book is fun and will make you feel empowered even in the face of all this brouhaha. A note, he is a Christian and writes through that lens. He is, however, in no way exclusive. Rather he is inclusive of all (race, gender, religion, sexual orientation) who would choose to rebuild our communities and experience that special joy.

Joseph has encouraged us to contact the following people:

Caroline L. French, Senior Advisor to Congresswoman Shea-Porter.
Phone: (603) 743-4813 (Dover office). (603) 641-9536 (Manchester office).

Terri Beyer, District Manager
Phone: (603) 641-9536 (Manchester Office)

Other resources:
NAIS at the USDA
NAIS Truth
Speak Out Against NAIS
NAIS Stinks


Geek+Nerd March 18, 2009 at 10:54 AM  

Outrageous. I'll be sure to make my thoughts on this known to the proper representatives...

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