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USDA’s APHIS considering privatizing inspections

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Note:  Things were done this way up until about the 1940’s, and it was a disaster.  That’s why they passed federal inspections.  Now, the USDA is thinking about trying this again.

And if USDA APHIS privatizes inspections, what will the USDA inspectors do?  Sit at the office and play checkers?  The USDA should just be hiring more USDA APHIS inspectors.

SOURCEUSDA APHIS

United States Department of Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

The USDA just concluded public meetings, but written comments may also be sent to james.m.tuck@aphis.usda.gov  or mailed to USDA, APHIS Animal Care, 4700 River Road, Riverdale, MD 20737.  Please indicate the title ‘Third Party Inspections and Certifications’ on all correspondence. 

Use of Third Party Inspection and Certification Program Listening Sessions

Last Modified: Mar 19, 2018

Public Meeting Notice

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is holding four in-person listening sessions to solicit public comment to aid in the development of criteria for recognizing the use of third-party inspection and certification programs as a positive factor when determining APHIS inspection frequencies at facilities licensed or registered under the Animal Welfare Act.  If you are interested in attending one of the listening sessions, please click on the link below to register for a specific location. Please indicate in the comments box if you would like to speak at the listening session.  A virtual listening session will be held by telephone on March 14 for those unable to attend the in-person session.  Details will be sent at a later date for those that registered for that session. See recent publication of the public meeting notice in the Federal Register.

Registration:

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OPEN LETTER TO THE BLM:Regarding the “Desatoya Mountains Habitat Resiliency, Health, and Restoration Project”

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 Debbie Coffey                 Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved.

(You might question the BLM’s project title after reading below. There’s nothing resilient or healthy about it. And not to malign BLM employees at local Field Offices – public lands planning comes from the President, Congress, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey.)

_____________________________________________________

Department of Interior
Bureau of Land Management
Carson City District
Stillwater Field Office
5665 Morgan Mill Road
Carson City, Nevada 89701
desatoyaEA@blm.gov

BLM’s statements in the Environmental Assessment (EA) are italicized, and author’s comments are not italicized.

Introduction
“The project area encompasses approximately 230,000 acres, which includes …136,400 acres of the Desatoya Herd Management Area (HMA) (84% of the HMA).”

The Desatoya HMA is about 161,000 acres, and the BLM is only leaving 127-180 wild horses on the HMA that is primarily for their use. That is only one horse every
1,267.7 acres – one horse every 894.4 acres.

If there is not enough water or forage for the wild horses, this can only be from misappropriation of land uses allowed and facilitated by the BLM, which is mismanagement. When did the BLM last monitor the HMA for carrying capacity? Please send me documents related to any recent monitoring.

Within the project area, up to approximately 32,705 acres of ground disturbing treatments are proposed over a ten year period including…herbicide treatment… Page 83 – In fact, 2,4-D has limited residual activity (2 weeks); therefore any incidental contamination risk to non-target plants would likely be negligible.”

When considering plants, animals, water and humans, note that:

The EPA says that 2,4-D is seventh largest source of dioxin in the U.S.
Dioxin DCDD that contaminates 2,4-D herbicide is not tested, measured or monitored by the EPA, or even regulated. A Canadian research paper states that dioxin DCDD may have large public health implications due to its prevalence in our food and environment.

DCDD is one of the hundreds of kinds of dioxin – (TCDD is the worst, but DCDD may be equi-potent): More

The USDA “Invasive Species” Sham

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Debbie Coffey  Investigative Reporter/Journalist

Copyright 2011   All Rights Reserved.

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USDA’s APHIS assessment determined that while the plant meets the definition of a “noxious weed,” Kentucky bluegrass has not been found to cause impacts significant enough to warrant regulation at the Federal level

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the center of one of government’s biggest shams. 

As a member of the National Invasive Species Council, the USDA has a mandate to   not authorize, fund, or carry out actions that it believes are likely to cause or promote the introduction or spread of invasive species in the United States or elsewhere.”

Your tax payer dollars are paying for the eradication of invasive species like stink bugs and salt cedar. 

Meanwhile, more of your tax dollars are funding the vast promotion of the ultimate invasive species: genetically engineered plants and cloned animals.  This includes USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) which was formerly CSREES, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Economic Research Service (ERS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

Invasive species are any species not native to an ecosystem, and with an intentional or unintentional release, are likely to cause, or does cause, economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health.

Consider this when you see what the USDA has allowed to be field tested in the U.S.:  

  • Human genes in barley, corn, tobacco, rice, and sugarcane
  • Mouse genes in corn, along with human genes
  • Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and Hepatitis B genes in corn
  • Rat genes in soybeans
  • Fruit fly genes in potatoes
  • Pig genes in corn
  • Cow genes in tobacco
  • Jellyfish genes in corn and rice

What else? More

Truth Squad Radio: GMO Deregulation and Agenda 21

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Join us Wednesday, July 13, 2011! More

The BLM’s Internal “Investigation”: The Fox Guarding the Henhouse

17 Comments

Debbie Coffey Investigative journalist/PPJ

(c)copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved     

_______________________________________________________    

         “Under this option, any facility could become a focal point for public, media or Congressional attention.  Increased levels of security would be needed at all locations, or the activity may need to be moved off-site to a more appropriate and secure facility.  Increased support from public relations and management staff would also be needed to insulate those doing the actual work from public, media and Congressional scrutiny/criticism.”               

___________________________________________  

After the many horrific photos and videos of the Antelope HMA wild horse gather being conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) contractor, Sun J, the BLM Review Team appointed to do an internal investigation (AKA cover-up) found “no violation by wild horse gather contractor of existing BLM policy and procedures” and Director Bob Abbey called for a “NEW NORMAL” for doing business.  More

Truth Squad Radio Show this Sunday with Paul Griepentrog on NAIS and Premises ID!

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Join us Sunday evening at 8 CST on The Truth Squad Radio Show. More

APHIS: Another blow to American livestock producers

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naisSTINKS.com
Darol Dickinson
Please post your concerns on the federal register regarding the proposal to regionalize Brazil for FMD.   We do not want to accept animals and meat from Santa Catarina, Brazil.  I was shocked to discover that mine will only be the 14th opposition on such a critical issue! Every US cattle producer should oppose this proposed import of Brazillian beef to the US. More

NAIS rises from the ashes! Vilsack to hold new meetings to form a new attack

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Animal Disease Risk

 

Public Meetings

On February 5, 2010, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA will develop a new, flexible, yet coordinated framework for animal disease traceability in the United States. Under this new direction, States and Tribal Nations must establish the ability to trace, back to their State of origin, animals moving interstate. The new framework will embrace the strengths and expertise of States, Tribal Nations, and producers, and empower them to find and use the traceability approaches that work best for them. The Secretary has pledged to develop this new approach as transparently and collaboratively as possible.

USDA held an initial traceability forum with States and Tribes in March to discuss how to begin creating the framework and gather feedback on possible ways of achieving traceability. USDA is now hosting three public meetings to discuss animal disease traceability more fully and to share the information from the March State and Tribal meeting with industry representatives. Additionally, USDA hopes to obtain feedback on the approaches that were discussed regarding the regulatory framework. More

USDA says “contact us”! NOT!

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Jackass Alert #1  … Richard Odom of State of Virginia-USDA
 
 
 

 

Good Morning Richard Odom ~~~
We are aware that you are actively involved in promotion of NAIS or some form of animal ID and that you and your state have received $2,723,196 from 2002 to 2007 with an estimate of approximately a similar amount since then (see attached).  We understand you draw a salary, health care and retirement from the animal ID dole. More

NOSB recommending untested genetically engineered vaccines

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Jackass Alert # 6:  Livestock Committee of the National Organic Standards Board

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getimageThe Livestock Committee of the National Organic Standards Board is recommending that genetically engineered vaccines be allowed in organic livestock production, with no review of the vaccines to determine if they meet evaluation criteria established in the Organic Foods Production Act.

In another round of what is coming to be viewed as absolute insanity in the wild world of genetically mutated agriculture, this “board” has now decided that it does not have to meet criteria for testing the efficacy or safety of,  genetically mutated vaccines to be used in livestock. 

We all need to remember that any vaccine, any growth hormone or antibiotic, remains in the meat even after processing.  These toxic concoctions are also present in the urine and feces of animals subjected to their use and as such, have rendered manure unfit as a fertilizer (this after thousands of years of use as the best fertilizer).  The manure produce by animals infected with these toxic chemicals is then leached into soil and water as the now, hazardous, waste breaks down.

And they still intend to call this “organic”?     Read the September 2009 report.

The NOSB will consider the issue when it meets Nov. 3-5, 2009, in Washington DC. Comments must be submitted by Oct. 19.

Here is a link for submitting comments:

http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#documentDetail?R=0900006480a1f227

NAIS~~~ the Deterioration of Earned Respect

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From: Darol Dickinson
Barnesville, Ohio 43713
740 758 5050 5-28-09

by Darol Dickinson


Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Trailer with noosesThe entry of the USDA Colorado listening session was jammed with sign covered livestock trailers. Members of the Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Assn. were pawing the dirt about the possible mandatory NAIS. Well over 90% of the speakers were opposed to the feared program. Many had driven a full day to be able to speak 3 serious minutes to USDA staff.

Nearly 5 years ago I attended my first county NAIS listening session. I heard a detailed presentation by a professionally trained USDA state director. About 40 people crowded into a small room in a government building during the dark of an early winter evening. I knew the state NAIS director and had been in an Ohio Cattlemen’s Assn. policy committee meeting with him. I had a high respect and appreciation for his fairness, knowledge and livestock experience.

The state Farm Bureau director was present and assured everyone NAIS was the right thing to do.

As the NAIS program was laboriously presented, the hair bristled on my neck like a Michael Vick dog challenged by a common alley cat. In respect for the presenter, I did not jump to my feet and scream fowl play. I listened until his whole load of hay was forked to the herd.

Over a dozen points were eloquently presented. You could hear a pin drop in a room full of hard working Ohio livestock people who weren’t easily snookered.

We were told, NAIS would not be a choice. It was going to happen. NAIS would create increased livestock profit for those who promptly enrolled. Those who did not enroll would suffer losses–not the fault of USDA. We were duly warned! Without NAIS the export markets would promptly dry up for US livestock producers. If anthrax disease was introduced to the US livestock industry by terrorist, it would destroy all US agriculture. If foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) was introduced by terrorist it would engulf whole states overnight and wipe out the livestock industry. Then he said the Mad Cow media event in Washington state was the explosive reason NAIS was created by USDA — to protect all concerned.

After the meeting the largest commercial cattle producer in the county signed up his premises. He had several ranches leased so he enrolled multiple premises. Another dozen people were quickly enrolled.

Most, either in western hats or bibbed overalls knew the successful USDA history. Attendees had the ultimate respect for USDA’s eradication of bangs disease, screw worms, and numerous other livestock pearls including scabies and FMD. No country had ever attacked and successfully cleaned up livestock diseases like the USA. This country has the most disease free livestock in the world. There was a great respect for USDA’s efforts and an earned position of world honor.

The following day I called the resident director at Texas A & M Research and Extension Center in Uvalde, Texas. (Many livestock diseases had hovered near the Mexican boarder.) I was told yes, that anthrax was a problem but for eighty cents per dose stock could be vaccinated and there would be no losses. It was done all the time in that area. I was also told that FMD was eliminated in 1929 and was not in the US or Mexico at this time. FMD would not kill normal healthy cattle and the meat was edible without harm to people. A vaccine is also available for FMD, if any people are concerned.

With some shocking research, the Mad Cow event was not the origin of NAIS. Meetings behind closed doors to plan NAIS had previously happened for over a dozen years. Unpublicized meetings prior to 1994 included Neil Hammerschmidt, now with APHIS, Ken Olson of American Farm Bureau, Beth Lautner with the National Pork Producers Council, John Weimers, with USDA, Chuck Sattler with the National Assn. of Animal Breeders, Glen Slack of the Livestock Conservation Institute, David Nolan of Cargill, and several tag companies were represented including Glenn Fisher of Allflex. Like hungry lions fighting over fresh kill, NAIS was carefully planned many years prior to the Mad Cow event and an equal number of years before the British FMD fiasco.

NAIS was planned without a valid cause, then, as disease was found; disease became the cause.

NAIS is a hard sell. Congress has approved nearly $150,000,000 to promote and enroll livestock breeders. Cooperative agreement grants have been given to state departments of agriculture, universities, tribes, livestock breed associations and a cast of thousands licensed or funded by USDA. Never in history has an unpopular government program been funded so strong with only minuscule acceptance. As of today less than 10% of all livestock producers have surrendered to NAIS premises enrollment.

One year ago, Mike Johanns gave up. After spending nearly 3 years promoting NAIS, the Bush Sec. of Agriculture wrote his boss a letter of resignation, and dropped it in the mail box on his way to the parking lot. No two week or one month courtesy notice was given. He evaporated out of Washington DC with the same dignity a common thug would offer the owner of a low stakes cock fight ring.

From USDA’s world respect in disease eradication, it is now totally changing to a sad ending of political bribery, distrust, and a cowering staff of “bought” white shirted degrees.

USDA planned to grasp every livestock producer by 2008. It started with listening sessions in every state. Now the big guns have rolled out meetings all over the nation. The rural peasants are allowed to assert their three minute views for refusing to enroll in NAIS. Regional town hall type meetings are staffed with seasoned “listeners” such as Hammerschmidt, Dicks, and Weimers. A “low-tech” video of Sec of Agruculture Tom Vilsack is used to warm up a hardened crowd.

As USDA’s respect dwindles, cowboys, consumers, and all types of food producers are participating in the national “mud-throwing” sessions. The recent Colorado session gave USDA “listeners” an atmosphere less friendly than a Birney Madoff investor’s meeting.

As USDA team members and security guards entered the Colorado meeting hall cattle trailers, angry ranchers and signs of protest decorated the area. Quite conspicuous were the hangman’s nooses with signs–“FREE ROPES FOR USDA NAIS OFFICIALS! NO NAIS! HEY USDA–“DON’T TREAD ON ME!

Police, ordered by USDA, demanded all hangman’s nooses be removed from the property –“it was threatening violence.” One law enforcer said he thought the nooses were rather humorous, considering the cause.

As federales and farmers mumbled into the trouncing room, each person was given a real set of amputated rattlers from a Colorado rattle snake. People of the land were as serious as a snake bite about ending all plans of mandatory NAIS. As occasional rattling sounds were numerous, it made an eerie sound like no other listening session in history. The nooses were serious, as were the venomous steel eyed ranchers defending their livelihoods.

The Colorado spirit became more hostile. Over 90% spoke against NAIS, the same as previous sessions. Those speaking for NAIS were connected in every case by generous grants from USDA for the sole purpose of coercing enrollments.

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Trailer with noosesUSDA official listeners were greeted by numerous livestock trailers covered by home made signs clearly displaying opposition to NAIS. Hangman’s nooses made the basic statement from cattle owners to the feds. “FREE ROPES FOR USDA NAIS OFFICIALS.” USDA security guards were required to strip the nooses off as it was thought they indicated “VIOLENCE AND CROWD DISORDER.” It was too late. The true dead serious message was already expressed.

Chuck Sylvester, past CEO of the huge National Western Stock Show, was inflamed because Colorado State University, and the Colorado Department of Agriculture (recipients of $4,746,993 of NAIS grant money) had forced youth exhibitors at the Colorado State Fair to enroll their parent’s ranches in NAIS. He compared USDA to child molesters and pedophiles. He closed with a stern, “MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOULS!”

With dozens of red faced presenters the tone changed from the problem of NAIS to the cause of NAIS–USDA itself. Kansas rancher Mike Callicrate said, “I think we need to have a cleansing at USDA and it has to go deep, and the disease we need cleansing from USDA is corporate control–people who have gotten into USDA. We need to assess whether USDA has done their job? If USDA was to protect the food system –you are FIRED! If USDA is supposed to make sure family farmers have access to local markets, and the people who they know–you are also FIRED!”

The sessions originally designed to help USDA fine tune NAIS, completely backfired. The flaws are going beyond NAIS to the inner bowels of USDA. Quotes like, “We need to go to Washington with our pitch forks!” “If NAIS becomes mandatory there will be blood in the streets!”

And last, “We will fight NAIS to the death!”

FIRST NAIS LISTENING SESSION BY USDA/APHIS

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For Immediate Release Please

From: Darol Dickinson
740 758 5050
May 14, 2009

FIRST NAIS LISTENING SESSION BY USDA/APHIS


The first listening session hour began with a power point as USDA leaders spoke on the many theories of NAIS.
The first listening session hour began with a power point as USDA leaders spoke on the many theories of NAIS.

Neil Hammerschmidt, believed to be the driving force behind NAIS, carefully articulated virtues and protective benefits for livestock producers.
Neil Hammerschmidt, believed to be the driving force behind NAIS, carefully articulated virtues and protective benefits for livestock producers.

Security guards were on duty at all times during the listening sessions.
Security guards were on duty at all times during the listening sessions.

The head table featured l to r, Neil Hammerschmidt, Jeri Dick, and John Weimer.
The head table featured l to r, Neil Hammerschmidt, Jeri Dick, and John Weimer.

Security guards were alerted to possible disturbances among farmers with planned dispatching.
Security guards were alerted to possible disturbances among farmers with planned dispatching.

USDA's Larry Miller led one of 3 break-out afternoon sessions.
USDA’s Larry Miller led one of 3 break-out afternoon sessions.

Extra security guards were on site in case of a major problem with livestock producers.
Extra security guards were on site in case of a major problem with livestock producers.

The furthest attendee was from Oregon. Speakers were provided 3 minutes to present their concerns.
The furthest attendee was from Oregon. Speakers were provided 3 minutes to present their concerns. 

Harrisburg, Pa—the first of a series of NAIS Listening Sessions was held today at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center, Harrisburg, Pa. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stated, “I encourage individuals and organizations to voice their concerns, ideas and potential solutions about animal identification.” And—voice concerns they did!

The Pennsylvania location was a choice spot for this first national effort by USDA. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture has been mellowed by USDA with $2,127,411 of cooperative agreements directly for the purpose of NAIS property enrollments. The state’s generous grants were successful in energizing one of the highest percentages of farm enrollments of any state, not counting Massachusetts, who according to USDA records have a 227.1% enrollment.

Pennsylvania should have a very high percentage of favorable NAIS listening session enrollees, but it didn’t happen.

Those responding to the invitation to “voice their concerns” requested formal speaking time up to 2 weeks in advance and signed up a second time this morning on arrival. Each hopeful speaker got to speak up to 3 minutes if their name was drawn. A total of 187 people requested to speak and 36 actually were successful.

The beginning agenda allowed for senior USDA staff to cajole the perceived merits of NAIS for a scheduled one hour period. Staff members Jere Dick, Neil Hammerschmidt, and John Weimer defined the goals and theory of the troubled program.

Crowd control was a consideration. Due to the “touchy” nature of this USDA effort up to eight law enforcement officers were positioned on perimeters of the Expo meeting room. Farmers and ranchers are normally law abiding country folk, so fortunately no arrests or altercations took place. USDA staff member and blue group leader, Larry Miller, requested speakers have a “respectful attitude” at all times during the process.

As approved presenters rapidly verbalized their three minute allotment, USDA staff were true listeners with seldom if any comment. Their reaction was somber regardless of the charged efforts of livestock producers, with many far from polite, and seasoned with colorful barn yard vernacular in many cases.

A large Amish delegation were represented offering passionate pleadings against mandatory NAIS. Others of faith expressed major concerns. Two livestock producers from Ohio attended, one lady from Oregon and most from within a five hour drive of the eastern Pennsylvania area.

Of the successful speakers, 27 were clearly opposed to NAIS and 4 spoke in favor. Three indicated they were enrolled in NAIS without their knowledge and one indicated they had enrolled by mistake and wish they had not. One lady said her husband enrolled against her will and now he understands.

Afternoon attendees were divided into three break-out groups with the assignment from Secretary Tom Vilsack (not present) “discussions will be less about concerns and more about ideas and solutions to create a NAIS that we can all live with.” Each group was to study seven questions and focus to identify workable solutions. The seven questions centered around, cost, impact on small farms, privacy and confidentiality, liability, premises registration, animal ID, and animal tracing. These are considered the most concerning objections to NAIS.

The three break-out groups recorded the following concerns:

  • “There is no problem that NAIS will fix.”
  • “Drop the program.”
  • “Don’t use the word premises. I own property, not a premise.”
  • “Trace only international imported and export animals.”
  • “It is obvious enforcement is big with USDA by the looks of the police guards present here today. We are scared of your enforcements of NAIS mandatory on our farms.”
  • “Leave us alone! I am just here to say, NO!”
  • “We don’t trust USDA.”
  • “USDA has a tarnished reputation of raiding family farms without cause. NAIS is designed to make farm raids more prevalent.”
  • “If a government program isn’t worth doing, it is not worth doing right.”
  • Statement to the break-out moderator, “Thank you for listening. The longer you listen—NAIS won’t be mandatory.”
  • “NAIS is OK with me except for just one part—–MANDATORY.”
  • “You have not been honest with us about the enrollment numbers for NAIS.”
  • “USDA are amateur liars. I like to be lied to professionally.”
  • “NAIS has a trust issue. We don’t trust NAIS.”
  • An R-CALF USA eight point proposal for an alternative animal health program was recommended six times during the break-out session. (It was the only alternative solution offered.)
  • “The country is in serious economical trouble. It is not the time to add more costs to farm production.”
  • “Over 90% of farmers are opposed to NAIS. Will you still demand mandatory NAIS regardless of listening session results?
  • “The USDA animal health program currently is effective, NAIS is not needed.”
  • “Don’t call me a stakeholder. I am a land and horse owner. I am insulted by calling me a stakeholder. I am not holding the stakes for others.”
  • “USDA should be working on vaccines to prevent disease instead of NAIS trace back.”

USDA’s John Weimer was asked about the results of the letter writing effort to USDA with a designated comment period about NAIS several months ago. Where were the results published? He did not recall the comment effort and did not know what happened to the hundreds of communications USDA received.

In the blue break-out group all speaking participants (43 total) were clearly opposed to NAIS. USDA’s group leader Larry Miller continued to redirect the emphasis from NAIS concerns, over to solution issues to make mandatory NAIS a palatable program. One dairy farmer said, “We have answered your questions. You are not listening. There is no way NAIS will work. No part of it will work. All seven questions are not solvable. Any people who want to do NAIS should be able to volunteer, but mandatory NAIS will cause bloodshed in the streets. We will refuse to surrender.”

Future USDA listening meetings on NAIS will be held at Pasco, WA, Austin, TX, Birmingham, AL, Louisville, KY, Storrs, CT, and Loveland, CO. Comments for those who may not be able to attend should be sent to the Federal eRulemaking Portal.

Oppose NAIS~~~Lone cattleman develops Web site

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cow-nose


WilsonCountyNews.com 
March 31, 2009

As the controversy of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) continues to divide the livestock industry, one man is leading a campaign against the program by not only writing letters to congressmen, but also by starting up a Web site and contributing articles he has written.

Darol Dickinson, manager of the family-owned Dickinson Cattle Co. Inc., runs one of the 50 largest registered cattle ranches in the United States, numbering up to 1,600 registered cattle. The ranch is also involved in livestock marketing, retail meat sales, cattle feeding, and exporting to more than 20 countries.

As proposed, when and if implemented, the NAIS will allow state health agencies, in the event of a disease outbreak, to trace the movement of an animal back to the place of origin within 48 hours.

The issue of the accuracy and costs of recording each movement of an animal has been questioned and is a concern of many cattlemen, including Dickinson.

Dickinson brought up a January 2007 experience as one of the reasons why he is opposed to the NAIS program while being interviewed for this article.

He said in 2007, he was visited by a detective of the APHIS Investigative and Enforcement Services, not for a disease outbreak, but because of a clerical error. The error involved an interstate movement of one cow sold in January 2006, in which the veterinarian did not list one number on the certificate of veterinary inspection for interstate movement of animals.

Dickinson wrote about this incident in the article, “Chasing a Cow Over Five States,” detailing the happenings of what he experienced to warn others of the federal penalties the NAIS may lead to if the program should become mandatory.

At the present time, the NAIS is voluntary, except in four states where legislation has implemented a mandatory program to assist in the control of certain diseases.

“The fines and penalties for USDA are very nebulous. They have the ability to ‘stack’ their charges like no other enforcement agency. For instance, you transport a critter over state lines and the USDA licensed veterinarian fills out the health certificate incorrectly … you may be charged and fined for not knowing he did it wrong,” Dickinson said. “When they can’t make their case, they hold it in a file and threaten in a future date to bring it up again and attach it to another minor violation making a ‘stacked’ charge on one of their house rules.”

After Dickinson refused to plead no contest and pay $1,000 in fines, the case was dropped a year and a half later. Dickinson said the U.S. Department of Agriculture will keep the case on file and add it to the next violation “to create a really bad violation.” He said the vet was called before a hearing court in Oklahoma and was hammered verbally. He had failed to include one optional number on the certificate.

Dickinson also questions if the movement of animals can accurately be recorded by the databases, since the average steer in the United States now has eight owners during it’s lifetime, with the consumer being No. 8. With the animal identification program, six computer entries will be required, giving many opportunities for errors, and fines, he said.

Dickinson released an article in 2008 titled, “NAIS — the Fourth Component,” which he said is enforcement. Dickinson reviewed the fines that may be imposed if and when the animal identification program becomes mandatory, ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 and more, citing U.S. Code, Title 7, found on the Web site of the Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute.

“One could be fined in county court $1,000 for a 70-mile-per-hour speed violation through a school zone, yet $50,000 for crossing a state line with one number incorrect on a USDA- issued livestock health certificate — for a perfectly healthy child’s pony!” Dickinson wrote.

Dickinson wrote the enforcement article since he believes that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is a “law-making branch of the federal government that could take a $10 parking violation and make it into a hanging offense. One fine from Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES division of APHIS) can devastate a family farm completely and it doesn’t have to involve any animal disease.”

“The APHIS/NAIS site changes like a baby diaper. It is a moving target and referred to as a ‘living’ document. They can add or remove at any time. It is not designed to easily understand. Undefined created words allow APHIS to interpret as they wish at a future date,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson’s article and others can be found on his Web site http://www.naisSTINKS.com, which contains articles, political cartoons, posters, and quotes in opposition to the NAIS. It is an “attempt to set the record straight from the twisted press releases USDA sends to media daily,” Dickinson said. He considers the site as “a self-defense site to preserve family livestock businesses.”

“I want to save the ranch I have worked to build for 42 years for my grandchildren and I don’t want it destroyed by the federales with unnecessary enforcements for a problem we don’t have,” he said.

At the present time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Web site states, “There are no Federal penalties or other ‘enforcement’ mechanisms associated with the NAIS.” Not unlike other government slight-of-speech promises, they want to change that to mandatory and the enforcements will be on the way. 

 

“I’m hopeful that we can bring people in and lay out on the table what are your concerns about a mandatory system,” said USDA Sec. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor. “Let’s work through them and see if we can get to a point where we can then fashion a mandatory system that would do the job and would work.”

 

According to Dickinson, “There’s only one problem with the Vilsack plan, that one pernicious word—MANDATORY.”

 

Reporting, editing; Doering, Gregorio, Headtel, Dickinson, Pat Kopecki and Wilson County News.

 

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