Sunday, February 25, 2007

On the National Animal Identification System:

I wrote this letter to my Massachusetts state senator asking her to prevent the establishment of NAIS in Massachusetts. I am posting it here in hopes of spreading the word about the problems with this nascent program. For more information, click on the link to the Weston A. Price Foundation below.

I am a mother and it is very important to me to feed my family whole, local, organic foods. That’s why I am so outraged by the USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and want to prevent its establishment in Massachusetts. I am writing to ask that you support Senate Docket 1472, which would prohibit the establishment of the NAIS in Massachusetts.

Many Massachusetts residents are worried about food-borne illness and may believe that this system will make their food safer. Actually it will do just the opposite.

The food that I choose to feed my family– arguably the highest quality and safest food around– comes from small farms located near the communities they supply. The problem with the NAIS system is that its onerous and expensive tagging and reporting requirements will make it too expensive for small farms to continue raising livestock. This system will drive small farmers out of business and favor giant Midwest, Western and Southern factory farms. This is exactly the wrong direction for U.S.– and especially for this region’s– agriculture to be moving! Huge factory farms and affiliated centralized processors are the cause of the epidemic of livestock diseases, overuse of antibiotics and the recent spate of food-borne illnesses. New England’s farms are generally small farms, using healthier practices and smaller processors. I think you will agree that we need to preserve these vital resources for health reasons and for economic ones as well.

Tagging and registering animals, invading the privacy of farmers and individuals who choose to raise animals for food, and requiring these people to invest large sums to comply will not make animals healthier. Allowing them to eat their natural diet (for example, grass for cows) and raising them in reasonable numbers will. Many of Massachusetts’s small farms already do this. Let’s make sure they can continue their essential work.

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