Open Letter to Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture


The Honorable David Scott

Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture

Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry

1301 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515-6001


RE: Testimony for March 11, 2009 Hearing on Review of Animal Identification Systems


Dear Chairman Scott and Subcommittee Members:


I am Marti Oakley, a consumer, writing to ask you to reject the USDA’s attempts to make mandatory the National Animal Identification System and as a companion assault on private property ownership, the Premises ID.


Having witnessed first hand the common contempt displayed by congress, if not outright disregard, when the public attempts to assert their opinions on pending legislative activity, please know that I will post this letter to you in every possible venue.  The American public needs to know what is about to happen to independent farmers and ranches if NAIS is made mandatory, or, if any of the fake [food safety] bills are forced into law.  They also need to be made aware of the resulting threat to not only food production, but its subsequent reduction in quality that will result.


Experience has taught me that what may appear to be an innocuous change in wording in reality is a change in legal definition and standing within the law.  This is how [treaties] are re-designated as [agreements] to side step Constitutional criteria and protections and allowing illegal implementation of agreements usurping US law. 


Our government’s continual capitulation to these non-US laws and standards is creating an untenable system and jeopardizing US agriculture and what has been the most dynamic and well functioning agricultural system in the world.


The language in NAIS referring to landowners and to livestock owners has been changed to facilitate international agreements and standards, most especially Agenda 21 from the United Nations and World Trade Organization demands and the international committees operating under standards and regulations and other misnomers.


All the international agreements, standards, regulations and other instruments being deferred to, relegate the actual owner of the land to [operator] or [manager].  The Premises ID is a coercion of the voluntary abandonment of property to the control of the USDA, acting as agent for the Federal government. 


Livestock owners are now referred to as [stakeholders], implying an interest in, but not the owner of [the livestock].  As stakeholders, livestock owners would be subject to the rules, actions and intents of the USDA and as [stakeholders] would relinquish any ownership rights. 


The final statement by the governments’ witness in the March 11, 2009 hearing contained a referral to livestock owners as [stakeholders]. This was no accidental use of the word. 


The US has historically produced the most disease free and well maintained herds in the world.  Because the USDA (nor the FDA) has moved to halt the importation of cattle from Mexico, known to be consistently suffering from bovine tuberculosis, the disease is constantly being introduced into the meat processing system and co-mingled with uncontaminated meat from US producers.  Wouldn’t the logical move here have been to halt imports of cattle from Mexico until they are able to eradicate bovine tuberculosis? Of course, this might cause some problems at that new “Mexican sovereign” terminal being constructed in Kansas City to by-pass our ports of entry and acceptance of in-bond shipments even of cattle. 


The unsanitary conditions at processing plants which have been well documented appear to escape the vision of USDA also.  These conditions are not related to herd or flock producers or the overall health of animals.  These conditions are the result of little to no inspections, or the lack of real interest on the part of inspectors, or the lack of an adequate number inspectors. This is also most especially the result of corporate processors more concerned with their profits than public food safety.


Why would an animal identification system or gps location of private property correct any of these problems which are not related to the actual health of animals?


NAIS has also seen the private ownership of livestock by private individuals referred to now as the [US National Herd].  There is no such herd.  But, NAIS would by the change in terminology, by the adherence to non-US laws, standards and regulations, create one.  This [US Herd] would be assembled by the NAIS and by Premises ID resulting from the forced compliance and forfeiture of private property rights mandated in these two programs and would quickly be handed over to corporate interests waiting behind the scenes for their plans and investments to pay off.


Designed by the National Institute of Animal Agriculture, NAIS is the constructed plan for seizing control of livestock production in the US.  Populated by meat processors such as Cargill and Tyson and bio-pirates such as Monsanto, the who’s who of this group also includes Digital Angel, AgInfoLink and Viatrace which are already stockpiling RFID chips, and tracking equipment, apparently having been assured this assault on private ownership and the ability to track it for the new owners was a ‘done deal”.


Judging from the stage show that was the March 11, 2009 Ag committee hearing, maybe it is.  What kind of fair hearing allows the paid proponents of NAIS and Premises ID to make grand opening statements containing gross errors in facts, allowing them to consume as much hearing time as they wanted, and limiting the opponents to five minutes or less? 


The obvious displeasure displayed committee members when facts were presented that refuted the governments position was noted by many of us who watched this contrived hearing. 


This was not a hearing in the true sense of the word.  This was the groundwork being laid for passing this assault on private property rights and anyone who watched it was supposed to come away thinking disease was running rampant in US privately owned herds as the result of too little government intrusion.  We didn’t get this impression at all. 


What we were impressed with was the efforts to implement another costly and inefficient not to mention unnecessary program at a time when the country’s indebtedness is skyrocketing.  We need to be cutting cost, cutting unnecessary and inefficient programs; not creating news programs which would exacerbate the debt.


It is unfortunate that at every turn we are faced with elected officials who cannot seem to find it in themselves to either adequately educate themselves about a subject or to act in defense of the public.  The idea that this “hearing” was even held is a signal that once again international agreements and corporate interests trump the public good. 


NAIS is not about disease control or track back.  It is the outright theft of private property to benefit corporate interests and to subject the American public to yet another round of foreign agreements.  It is another program that supposedly the FDA and USDA will administer not according to US laws and regulations, but rather to facilitate illegal trade agreements, standards and regulations which put the rights of investors and corporations above that of individuals or communities.


The data mined information on gps location and any other gathered information about livestock producers and farmers is being compiled on the Oracle database.  Although the Oracle server is located in Texas, the actual files collected have been moved to storage in Canada making them unavailable even under FOIA requests. 


It makes me sick to think that this is our government; this is our government working against us.


Marti Oakley


Preserving and canning “how-to’s”

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These are great ‘how-to’s” that are easily understandable, and easy to do.  A growing worldwide food shortage will hit here soon enough…take the time to learn how to preserve food now.  It may be all you have later.



Preserving Food: Drying Fruits And Vegetables – Nutrition

Complete Guide To Home Canning

Canning Meat, Wild Game, Poultry, & Fish Safely

Preparing And Canning Fermented Food And Pickled Vegetables

Every Step in Canning

Small-Scale Food Drying Technologies

Fighting gmo contamination around the world

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Fighting GMO contamination around the world    pharm_crops_corn2


Ever since GMOs were first introduced in the mid-1990s, farmers’ groups and NGOs have warned that they would contaminate other crops. This has happened, just as predicted. In this article we look at how communities in different parts of the world that have experienced contamination are developing strategies to fight against it.

[Three videos accompany this article which can be viewed here: http://www.grain.org/videos/?id=195]

When GM crops are planted they contaminate other crops with transgenic material. In places where GM crops are grown on a large scale, it has already become almost impossible to find crops of the same species that are free of GM material. And the contamination spreads even to areas where GM crops are not officially permitted. [1] The GM Contamination Register, managed by GeneWatch UK and Greenpeace International, has documented more than 216 cases of GM contamination in 57 countries over the past 10 years, including 39 cases in 2007. [2]

Monsanto and the other biotech corporations have always known that their GM crops would contaminate other crops. Indeed, it was part of their strategy to force the world into accepting GMOs. But around the world people are refusing to lie down and accept genetic modification as a fact of life; instead they are struggling against it, even in places subject to contamination. In fact, some communities experiencing contamination are developing sophisticated forms of resistance to GM crops. These usually begin with short-term strategies to decontaminate their local seeds, but often seek over the long term to strengthen their traditional food and agricultural systems.

We look at the experiences of communities in different parts of the world in dealing with GM contamination to see what insights they can offer others faced with similar situations. Each situation is unique, and gives rise to different processes. Common to all of them is the primary importance of collective action – of communities working at the grassroots to identify their own solutions and not depending on courts or governments, which, without strong social pressure, tend to side with industry.
The experience of communities in Mexico

For the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Guatemala, maize is the basis of life. In the creation story of the Maya, maize was the only material into which the gods were able to breathe life, and they used it to make the flesh of the first four people on Earth. For other peoples of Mexico, maize is itself a goddess. The plant has been the fundamental food of Mexicans for centuries, and thousands of varieties provide an amazing range of nutrients, flavours, consistencies, recipes, and medicinal uses.
In January 2002, researchers at the University of California in Berkeley announced their discovery that local varieties of maize in the highlands of Oaxaca state had been contaminated. Other communities of small farmers carried out tests on their own crops and were shocked to find that they too had been contaminated. For these people, it was a deep blow to their culture. They could not sit back: something had to be done.

At first, though, they did not know what to do. GMOs were new to them. They started by bringing together the nearby communities that might also have suffered contamination, as well as NGOs that they were close to. Workshops were held and people were mandated by their local assemblies to discuss on behalf of their communities. The strategy was thus collective from the beginning. This is the first point to be noted about the Mexican experience.

One fundamental point of agreement reached early on was that this GM contamination needed to be viewed as part of a war. It was not an accident or an isolated issue, but part of a war against farmers and indigenous peoples – in their words, a war against the people of maize.


The new weapons of genetic engineering


This is an important article from GRAIN.  If you think biotechnology is the future…..it may be a future none of us wants.  Here again we see bio-priates at work attempting not only to patent their horrendous creations, but human life as well.

Marti             Tell a Friend 




The new weapons of genetic engineering


Over the last few years biotech laboratories and industry have developed two new techniques – artificial minichromosomes and transformed organelles – which, the industry claims, will allow it to overcome the problems it has faced until now with GMOs, especially their low efficiency and genetic contamination. But basic biology and maths indicate that, contrary to what the industry claims, the new technology will not prevent genetic contamination in plants. In fact, as the two technologies converge, the frightening possibility arises that contamination will reach a new level of toxicity, and occur not only within organisms of the same species but also between species as different from each other as plants and bacteria, or plants and fungi.

From its very beginning, genetic engineering has faced two tremendous barriers. First, there is the undeniable fact that the theory that each gene is responsible for a single characteristic (one gene–one trait), if it is true at all, holds true for only some genes. The more that is learnt about the functioning of cells and organisms, the more flexible and multiple the links between gene and function are found to be. [1] Second, there is the complex and powerful self-regulating capacity of chromosomes and genomes, which leads them to expel, delete or “silence” genetic material which is not part of their normal make-up. Mutations occur very often in nature, and most of the time the genetic material itself triggers mechanisms that “correct” or delete these mutations. The result is an amazing and stubborn stability of form and function. [2]

Three major practical effects derive from this: multiple and unexpected side-effects from genetic engineering; a very low rate of successful, stable expression of the engineered traits; and an overwhelming difficulty in genetically engineering traits that involve several genes. The biotech industry has addressed the first problem by not releasing engineered organisms with obviously harmful side-effects and by denying side-effects when they have occurred in the field or lab, or in animals and human beings. Industry has also been very careful to avoid acknowledging that fewer than one per cent of their attempts at genetic engineering are successful in any way. They are also reluctant to admit that none of the attractive initial promises of biotechnology – that it would make all plants capable of fixing nitrogen and acquiring phosphorus, that it would produce plants tolerant of drought, salt and heavy metals, and that it would manufacture new vaccines – has been delivered. A key factor in explaining this is that all these characteristics or products involve gene complexes; by contrast, almost all current biotech products are based upon single genes (plants that are tolerant of herbicide and plants that contain Bt toxin are two good examples).

As well as harming their public image, these failures have serious practical consequences for the companies, as they reduce their efficiency and limit their potential profits. Not surprisingly, the industry has long sought new approaches to overcome these limitations. Biotechnologists and the biotech industry are now saying that a major breakthrough has taken place: they are now able to build small artificial chromosomes that carry multiple genes and become fully functional once inserted into a cell. Due to their small size, these artificial chromosomes are called “minichromosomes”. It is claimed that they will make the engineering of complex traits possible and that they will dramatically reduce side-effects, as they will not disrupt the native genetic material of the engineered organisms. [3]    READ MORE

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