R-calf Urge Public to Stand Against NAIS,

US - Although R-CALF USA is pleased the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced locations for six more National Animal Identification System (NAIS) listening sessions to allow more opportunity for public input, the group remains suspicious of the agency’s motives.
calendar icon 29 May 2009
clock icon 2 minute read

“These listening sessions aren’t going well for USDA, as the agency is running into much more opposition to NAIS than it ever bargained for,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. “But rather than announce that NAIS will be withdrawn and the remaining sessions used to develop a strategy to prevent, control and eradicate diseases, USDA persists in addressing only NAIS. We think USDA’s plan continues to be to glean from everyone’s comments anything good that is said about NAIS so the agency can compile a report to forge ahead and implement NAIS after making only minor tweaks to the program.

“USDA doesn’t yet get it,” he asserted.

“From speaking with our members who have participated in the listening sessions, we understand that after each morning session where the public is given three minutes to express their concerns, USDA is dividing the audience into three groups during the afternoon and is then trying to get the audience to focus only on USDA’s own questions on how to improve NAIS,” Bullard continued.

“When the audience agrees to begin focusing on USDA’s specific questions, the fact that NAIS is totally unacceptable and fundamentally flawed becomes of secondary importance,” he emphasized.

“In other words, if USDA is allowed to frame the debate to that of focusing only on how to fix NAIS, then our opportunity to stop NAIS in its tracks is weakened,” Bullard explained. “To counter USDA’s plan, the audience must stand firm and demand that USDA overturn NAIS in its entirety and demand that USDA make a public announcement that it will no longer pursue NAIS.

“The audience should further inform USDA that after NAIS has been scraped completely, then U.S. livestock producers would be happy to sit down with USDA to develop an overall strategy to improve the United States’ ability to prevent, control, and eradicate livestock diseases and to develop a separate strategy to improve the safety of meat,” he pointed out.

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