Posts Tagged Political Protest

NAIS wins award for USDA’s most dastardly idea.

Note: NAIS has won the award for 2009’s most DASTARDLY USDA IDEA. In Ag Sec Vilsack’s listening sessions, designed to find some common ground of appreciation for the USDA brain child, the bribe-riddled NAIS found accumulations of increasing retch with each of 16 town hall style meetings. Livestock people increased dislike with each interpretive spin from USDA. Although the livestock press, USDA state veterinarians and USDA universities defend full-blown NAIS, livestock producers were not willing to relinquish their meager profits for the red tape of a new government enforcement program.

When NAIS was not palatable federally, the USDA split the troops and provided over $150,000,000 in incentives for each state to take NAIS as a state enforcement project. When that costly idea slammed head-on to more resistance, in court and otherwise, now the USDA troops are dividing more. NAIS surveillance is becoming mandatory for certain disease studies. To try and forget the flawed thought of NAIS, new names are now being invented like “animal ID”, “information systems”, “food safety”, “animal health emergency management”, “animal security” and a host of other invented terms, just to sell the same old NAIS enforcement.

Beyond the millions spent to swallow NAIS, now many more millions are being spent to huddle government employees around new brain schemes to sugar-coat livestock surveillance enforcements. The article below is filled with costly processes that will be paid for by livestock owners and create more government jobs.

At a unique time in the history of agriculture production, when cost of goods are increasing, profits are reducing, the USDA is working at mach-speed to increase red tape and cost of doing business. Now, here it comes again, “One Health.”

NIAA meeting examines ‘One Health’
By Drovers news source | Monday, January 04, 2010

“One Health: Implications for Animal Agriculture” is the theme of the 2010 Annual Meeting of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), March 15-17 in Kansas City, Mo.

“One Health is a worldwide initiative focused on the interdependencies of human, animal and ecosystem health, and, with this concept comes significantly expanded roles and expectations placed on animal agriculture and professionals within animal agriculture,” states Dr. Tony Forshey, co-chair of NIAA’s Annual Meeting. “The general sessions and committee meetings at NIAA’s Annual Meeting will explore how the initiative may impact the various species and segments within production animal agriculture and animal health management.”

NIAA’s opening general session speakers will look at how the One Health initiative and strategies shift the focus from surveillance to intervention and prevention and how challenges need to be faced collectively rather than in individual silos and disciplines. The lineup of speakers will represent active members on the One Health Commission, representatives from the veterinary and human health community and representatives of animal agriculture.

NIAA’s 11 species-based and issue-based committees–which are open to NIAA members and non-members–will meet on Tuesday afternoon, March 16, and Wednesday, March 17. Issue-based committee meetings include animal care, animal health emergency management, animal health and international trade, animal production food safety and security, emerging diseases, and animal identification and information systems. Species-based committees include cattle, swine, poultry, equine, and sheep and goat. Each committee meeting features its own line-up of nationally recognized speakers.

“NIAA’s annual meeting is an ideal place for producers, animal health and management professionals, animal agriculture extension specialists and all of those involved in animal agriculture–cattle, swine, sheep, goats, poultry and equine–to gather and become better informed and involved regarding One Health,” Forshey adds.

A schedule of events for NIAA’s 2010 annual meeting, meeting registration, list of NIAA committees and hotel information are available at the NIAA Web site. Individuals are also welcome to call NIAA at (719) 538-8843 for information.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

16 Cattle and Farm Groups Urge Secretary Vilsack to Take a New Direction to Prevent Animal Disease Spread

Washington, D.C. — In a hand-delivered letter to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, sixteen groups called the agency’s practice of using inadequate international standards and the OTM Rule to leverage global export markets into conformity with weaker disease standards “deplorable.” The OTM Rule was implemented in 2007 and authorizes the importation into the U.S. of older Canadian cattle that have a higher-risk for bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE).

The groups state they disagree with the “uncritical deference” that Vilsack has accorded the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), which recently designated both the U.S. and Canada as ‘controlled risk’ countries for BSE. According to a letter R-CALF USA received from Vilsack , the agency believes the OIE’s designation provides assurance that measures are in place in both countries to manage ‘any possible risk of BSE in the cattle population,’ and that cattle and beef can be ‘safely traded by both nations.’

But the groups state that USDA is wrong to rely on the weaker OIE standards and that Vilsack’s stated position is inconsistent with Congress’ mandate “to protect animal health and the health and welfare of the people of the United States by preventing the introduction into or spread within the United States of BSE.” The groups urged Vilsack to carry out his congressional mandate by rescinding the OTM Rule.

The groups state also that Vilsack’s position is directly contradicted by his agency’s own risk assessment model that predicts that under the OTM Rule, the U.S. “will introduce 19 BSE-infected cattle from Canada over the course of 20 years,” and two U.S. cattle would become infected. In addition, the groups state that USDA “estimates the cost to U.S. cattle producers, for the privilege of begin exposed to a heightened risk for BSE from Canadian cattle and beef, would be over $66 million per year (or approx. $1.3 million each week), for which no c! ompensation can be obtained from anyone.”

The letter states that the OTM Rule is a human and animal health issue. “Clearly, the OTM Rule is increasing the risk of introducing BSE into the U.S. from Canada, increasing the risk of infection of BSE in both U.S. cattle and in humans, and causing tens of millions of dollars in financial losses for U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers.”

Along with R-CALF USA, the following 15 organizations joined the letter to urge Vilsack to immediately rescind the OTM Rule: Buckeye Quality Beef Association (OH), Cattle Producers of Washington, Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association, Independent Beef Association of North Dakota, Independent Cattlemen of Nebraska, Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming, Kansas Cattlemen’s Association, Kansas Farmers Union, Missouri Farmers Union, National Farmers Organization, Nebraska Farmers Union, Nevada Live Stock Association, Oregon Livestock Producers Association, Ozarks Property Rights Congress (MO), and the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

NAIS Listening Sessions: Can a Monsanto Administration Really Hear?

Image at
By Rady Ananda

Scrap NAIS; decentralize the food industry

The hottest topic in agriculture is NAIS – the proposed National Animal Identification System. Using embedded microchips and mountains of paperwork, the federal government plans to create a database that tracks every animal in the nation. Independent producers and privacy advocates adamantly oppose the plan.

From May 14th thru June 30th, the USDA held “listening sessions” in fourteen cities across the nation. USDA asserted it wants “to engage stakeholders and producers to hear not only their concerns about [NAIS], but also potential or feasible solutions to those concerns.”

USDA hoped the listening sessions would provide a forum where stakeholders could help devise a NAIS that producers could live with. Instead, ranchers and farmers want the entire NAIS plan scrapped. Over 1600 people attended these sessions, with 500 testifying. Eighty-five percent of those who spoke condemned NAIS.

Listening Session Quotes

Darol Dickinson, longhorn cattleman from Ohio, believes the USDA plan is being forced on producers, despite objection.

“They’ve conveyed to us that we have no right to oppose them. They’ve told people, ‘This is going to happen.’ That doesn’t sit well with independent thinking people, especially ranchers and farmers.”

Dickinson spoke at the Harrisburg, PA listening session and conveyed on Carl Lanore’s radio show:

“I told them that their ‘option’ reminded me of being an old herd sire – being pushed down an alley with an electric prod, and somebody mentions to the herd sire, ‘How do you want to be castrated – with a dull knife, with a burdizzo or an elastic band?’ And the answer, of course, is none of the above.”

One group opposing NAIS, the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, urged Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to re-focus the nation’s animal disease and food safety efforts on several alternatives including:

  • Decentralize the livestock industry and encourage local, diversified farms, which would increase animal health, food security, and food safety;
  • Increase inspections of imported animals and agricultural products and bar the entry of animals from countries with known disease problems; and
  • Improve enforcement of existing laws and inspections of large slaughterhouses and food processing facilities, including unannounced spot inspections at those large facilities.

Image at
Mike Callicrate, an independent cattle producer, is not at all happy with NAIS. He firmly believes that the best way to protect the food supply is to enforce existing laws and go back to unannounced inspections of factory farms, slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants.

“Today, USDA, in protecting the biggest and dirtiest meat plants, continues to block trace-back of pathogens to the source plant, a very easy and inexpensive measure that could improve food safety tomorrow.”

He blames the 2002 E. coli contamination of 20 million pounds of ConAgra beef on lack of inspections.

“USDA has done nothing to address the problems in the big packing plants where E. coli is systematically put into our meat daily while trusting these big profit-driven companies to self inspect under the HACCP hoax.”

HACCP is the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points plan whereby meatpackers and processing plants inspect themselves. They determine where the most likely places of contamination would occur and design mitigation techniques. The plan is then submitted to the USDA for approval, but enforcing it is left to the companies themselves.

At the Loveland, Colorado listening session, Kimmi Lewis of the Colorado Independent Cattle Growers Association said, “This country is free because we are allowed to own private property.” If it’s tracked by government, it’s not private.

At the Harrisburg, PA listening session, horse breeder Barbara Steever called the USDA “disingenuous” for saying that NAIS will be used to control the spread of disease. To make her point, Steever then asked some hard-hitting questions:

  • “Why, then, are you lowering import restrictions to allow cattle in from Mexico that has bovine TB?
  • Why are you trying to bring in cattle from Argentina that is known to have a reservoir of FMD (foot-and-mouth disease)?
  • [Why are you allowing] cattle over 30 months of age from Canada, that have a higher risk of BSE, and disallowing private businesses from testing for BSE in response to their clients’ needs?
  • Why are you moving a high security disease containment facility into the middle of cattle country?”

madcow (300 x 374)One of the strongest speakers, Rhonda Perry, operates a livestock and grain operation. She spoke on behalf of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, representing 5,600 families. Reiterating above concerns, Perry adds:

“We see industrial livestock operations all over this country that have created incredible environmental, health and food safety concerns.”

Perry points out that none of today’s food safety issues are caused by independent family farmers. She challenges the USDA to increase competition as a strategy to increase food safety. Bust the monopolies and decentralize food production, “instead of looking at this unproven, ineffective, anti-farmer, corporate-driven program of NAIS.”

Others pointed out that NAIS violates our Constitutional rights, including religion. Amish and other religious communities reject implants and biotechnology.

Several dozen videos from the NAIS listening sessions have been posted at YouTube.

Interestingly, the USDA held no listening sessions in Wisconsin, where NAIS has been made mandatory. Farmers there are furious with the bureaucracy and have been warning the rest of the nation. In NAIS Smackdown: The gloves come off, R-Calf lists a better set of food safety proposals instead of NAIS.

Biggest Danger to Food Safety is a Centralized Food System

Safe food spokesperson, Michael Pollan, has long warned us that a centralized food system is uniquely vulnerable to disease and even to a terrorist attack. Also, because concentrated animal feeding operations require the use of antibiotics to keep the herd alive, superbugs with antibiotic resistance are becoming more common.

In the film, Fresh, Missouri natural hog farmer Russ Kremer shares a personal tale of how he almost died from contracting a monster form of strep. The experience convinced him to exterminate his entire herd and start over with a natural herd.

tom-vilsackThe USDA has a long history of using regulations (like HACCP) to protect Big Ag, instead of consumers and small producers. President Obama appointed Tom Vilsack, the “biotechnology governor of the year,” as Secretary of Agriculture. Obama also appointed Monsanto’s Michael Taylor to head the new Food Safety Working Group.

Astute writers and activists caution that even if NAIS is defeated, animal tracing is being snuck into pending legislation, such as HR 2749.

Independent family farmers will have a tough row to hoe trying to convince a Monsanto Administration to do right by small farmers. As they plead with a corporate-owned federal government intent on globalization, the American people may be their best ally.

Buy fresh, locally grown food. Support free range and organic farmers. Yes, healthy food costs more up front. But you save it on the back end, needing fewer doctor visits or pharmaceutical drugs to deal with the diseases (obesity, diabetes, cancer) caused by factory food. You’ll also contribute to your local economy and a healthy environment.


Several recent documentaries discuss the difference between natural and factory food production. In addition to The World According to Monsanto, be sure to see the films below (these are my reviews):

FOOD, Inc. Exposes Horrors of a Centralized Food System
Fresh: How We’re Supposed to Eat
Our Daily Bread a Radically Silent View of Factory Farming


Rady Ananda’s articles have appeared in several online and print publications, including three books. She graduated in December 2003 from The Ohio State University’s School of Agriculture with a BS in Natural Resources.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Independence from NAIS on July 4

Independence Mall in Philadelphia was one of many places the bad word about NAIS was presented on July 4. Barbara Steever, a dedicated NAIS opponent passed out factual information on NAIS from and other freedom fighter sites.

July 4th - Freedom Loving People Opposing NAIS

July 4th - Freedom Loving People Opposing NAIS

Barbara was enthusiastically received by numerous consumers who had no idea of how expensive food prices would become if current proposed bills are passed by the Congress and Senate. She reports, “Most people had not heard of NAIS, but quickly disliked it’s intended plan. A great many took my information for on line critiques to USDA.”

Those working the tent talked until their throat was sore explaining what the proposed mandatory NAIS was planned to do to US livestock producers and how it would affect food production and prices.

People eagerly signed NAIS opposition letters that will be mailed to the Federal Register. NAIS opposition was an easy sell to a serious crowd of liberty-loving Philadelphia people and out of state visitors to Independence Hall.

Other similar NAIS opposition efforts were staged throughout the nation. Opposition organizations are now working every state with increasing determination by yahoo groups, livestock breeders and organic farmers. Internet blogs dedicated to educate about the many fears of NAIS are growing by the hundreds.

Many thousands attended the Campaign for Liberty organized event from 10 AM to 5 PM Saturday.

Tags: , , ,