A Letter in Opposition to the Proposed NAIS (National Animal Identification System) Regulations

“Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of habit.”

Somerset Maugham

The following letter will go out Monday to my United States Congressional Representative, G.K. Butterfield.  Suggested edits are always welcome.  And feel free to plagiarize any or all of this letter to send to your own representative.  As I’ve commented on before (here), the proposed provisions of the NAIS, along with House Resolutions 875 and 759, must be stopped if we are to continue to enjoy the Paleo benefits of locally-grown foodstuffs.  The bottom line is that I know best of all how to properly fuel my body; the last thing I need is a government agency dictating what I can or cannot ingest.  Lets just say that government doesn’t necessarily have a good track record over the last 60 years or so in promoting nutritional health, and leave it at that.

Here’s the letter.  Again, any and all editing suggestions are welcome.

Dear Congressman Butterfield:

I am writing, as both a proponent and as a consumer of locally farmed and ranched food options, to ask that you vehemently oppose the United States Department of Agriculture’s proposed regulations under the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

At first glance, the provisions of NAIS provide for a technologically advanced level of food-borne illness security, whereby farmers tag every head of livestock and poultry in the country, and with the USDA then provided access to the electronic tracking of said livestock and poultry. In the event of a disease outbreak, applicable government agencies would then require notification within 48 hours of (1) which specific animals were involved, (2) where these animals are currently located, and (3) other animals that may have been exposed (due to proximity to the “diseased” animal). In this way, any future livestock/poultry related disease outbreak could be identified, tracked, and sequestered. Reality, though, paints a much different picture.

Under the USDA’s proposed NAIS regulations, the following would be required:

1. Premises Registration: Every person who owns or manages locations where livestock and poultry are handled would be required to register in a government database, or a government-accessible, private database. This includes people who own even one horse, chicken, goat, sheep, cow, pig, deer, or elk.

2. Animal Identification: Every animal would be assigned a unique 15-digit number by the government when said animal is moved from its herd of origin and/or commingled with other animals. Each animal would be required to bear permanent identification in the form of radio frequency identification (RFI) tags or microchips, rather than the less expensive, traditional forms of physical tagging. While the USDA claims that poultry and swine will get “group numbers,” most small farmers and companion-animal owners do not keep animals in ways that would allow exemption from these provisions.

3. Animal Tracking: Owners would be required to report, within 24 hours, every instance of an animal’s being tagged or having lost a tag, every death, slaughter or missing animal, and any and every “commingling” event, including public and private sales, shows, and exhibitions.

Please note that the verbiage and structure of the proposed NAIS regulations allow for large-scale, industrial animal processing operations, due to the nature and organization of these operations, to side-step the single animal identification provision by providing a “group identification number” in lieu of a single-animal identification. Also note that it is the very conditions in which animals are bred and raised in such large-scale, close-confine, industrial operations that not only promote, but propagate the spread of the very diseases that NAIS regulations are ostensibly aimed at preventing. In addition, any proposed animal tracking system is rendered useless in tracking and/or preventing post-slaughter diseases (such as salmonella, for instance), in that (1) said tracking devices are discarded at the time of slaughter (i.e., do not follow the carcass through processing), and (2) the spread of post-slaughter disease is a function of poor slaughter house hygiene and food handling practices – concerns the USDA is supposedly already monitoring.

In short, the proposed provisions of NAIS represent an unprecedented expansion of government bureaucracy into citizens’ private lives, and infringes on property and privacy rights. The program will impose onerous monetary and logistical burdens on small-scale livestock owners, driving many of these family-run operations out of business. Cost estimates for implementation of NAIS range into the hundreds of millions of dollars; a cost burden that will have to be shouldered collectively by the livestock owners themselves, either out-of-pocket or via taxpayer subsidy. And for all this added cost and government intrusion and oversight, the provisions of the NAIS will provide little in the way of animal health, food safety or consumer protection.

I urge you, Congressman Butterfield, to lead Congress in putting a stop to the USDA’s continuing attempts at pushing for implementation of the NAIS, and I ask that you call for Congressional hearings into this issue. Small poultry flocks, livestock herds, and family farms in general are not the source of food born disease, as the animals thereon are not raised in overcrowded conditions, fed substandard feed, or living in their own filth. This explanation is exactly, though, the case with animals raised in industrial, close-confine, animal operations; the same operations exempt from the most onerous and cost-heavy of the proposed NAIS provisions.

Thomas Jefferson championed the small, independent farmer as the backbone of a strong and healthy America. I urge you not to allow these proposed onerous regulations to further dismantle the America that Jefferson envisioned. He who controls the food, Congressman Butterfield, controls the populace. Control of the food supply should rightly remain with the people and with the small, independent farmer and rancher, and not be placed squarely in the hands of government entity or profit-hungry, agri-business.

I look forward, Congressman Butterfield, to your written response.

Please do your part to actively engage your representatives, either via snail-mail, email, or phone.  Let your voice be heard.

In health,

Keith

We are What We Eat; A Must Watch Video Clip

“Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to it’s liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.”

Thomas Jefferson

2101299364_cf43c55029_optPhoto courtesy of shorter.chip

I realize that I’m speaking to the choir, here, but please (please!) watch this short video clip from We are What We Eat, the Movie, and let it light a fire beneath you.  And know this: Big agri-business cares about you only in so far as you can provide them with some small bit of profit.  I’d go so far as to say that that if you were on fire, these money-whores wouldn’t make the effort to piss on you to put you out — unless, of course, they were able to extract a buck from your burnt-crisp body before hand.   We must take back control of our food supply system.  In the same way that stupidity and sheer greed has made a wreck of the world’s financial system, the same mindset will eventually undermine our food supply system — and in the process, wreck the health of millions upon millions, all for the profit-gains of a greedy few.  Don’t think that there aren’t some Bernie Madoff’s in the upper echelons of agri-business?  Think again.  There are few things that I get wildly passionate about — low-lifes attempting to profit at the expense of my and my family’s health is one of them.

Take a good, long look around the WAWWE site, especially the “more clips” section, and become informed on these issues.  We really can make a difference.

Meesus TTP is giving my letter to Congressman Butterfield an editorial once-over before I send it out on Monday.  This particular missive is in opposition to the UDSA’s proposed, insidious, NAIS regulations; I’ve got others in the hopper voicing my opposition to HR 875 and HR 759.  Following this will be the local paper(s) OpEd barrage.  I’ll also attempt to get an OpEd in over at the USA Today.  I’ll post all of these letters here — feel free to plagiarizer them at will, and harass your own congressman, and local paper editors.

In health,

Keith

A Quick and Easy Breakfast, and Some Good Listening

“What others think of us would be of little moment did it not, when known, so deeply tinge what we think of ourselves.”

Seneca

Not much at all to this number, just a little ripe avocado and some diced tomato to dress up an old standby.

An Oldie but Goodie

An Oldie but Goodie

But it’s oh so simple, fast, and Paleo-nutritious.  And just look at how big and orange those free-range egg yokes are!  And the bacon?  Applewood smoked, and taken from a pasture-raised pig.  What you don’t see is the small glass of raw, unpasteurized milk and small helping of raw goat cheese.

And speaking of “Paleo”, “free-range”, “pasture-raised”, “raw, unpasteurized dairy” and your continued, unimpeded access to all of these wonderful things, here are a few links for you you to check out over the weekend:

Carl Lanore, of Super Human Radio, has produced a fantastic run of very interesting interviews as of late.  Check ’em out:

First up, here’s a show that covers probably one of the most contentious and controversial topics within the Paleo community — dairy consumption.  My own take on the issue is that if you do consume dairy (1) make sure that it is only in the raw, unpasteurized form, and (2) let your own body and tolerance levels be your guide as to ingestion amounts.  Lactose intolerant?  Some people find that they can tolerate raw, unpasteurized dairy due to the fact that the host of natural good enzymes have not been destroyed in the pasteurization process.  Paleo purists will, of course, eschew dairy completely — and hey, that’s fine by me.  Yes, raw, unpasteurized dairy was never a calorie source for our Paleolithic ancestors.  However, the results of my research on the subject lead me to conclude that the positives of dairy consumption (protein bioavailability, good fats source, good enzyme source) far outweigh the negatives (small associated insulin surge), and so I add it, in small amounts, to my own diet.  I must re-emphasize, though, that I am speaking of raw, unpasteurized dairy here — leave the pasteurized stuff alone, as it’s no more than a nutrient and enzyme-dead food full of empty calories.

Next up, Carl interviews Judith McGeary, Executive Director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA), about the sham that is the proposed NAIS (National Animal Identification System) legislation.  This legislation, folks, will effectively eliminate your access to small-farm-raised livestock and poultry.  Listen to this show, and please, take heed…and take a stand!

And finally, last but certainly not least, Carl hosts Dr. Loren Cordain on the Super Human radio show.  Now I don’t necessarily agree with all of Dr. Cordain’s ideas — his being totally adverse to dairy consumption comes first to mind — but I’ve never been one to hold an intellectual grudge, or to toss the proverbial baby with the bathwater.  In my mind, the Paleo tent is big enough to cast shade over a whole host of Paleo themes, and I have no problem cherry-picking what I like and leaving behind what I don’t.

Enjoy!  And enjoy the weekend.

In health,

Keith