Livestock Registry Plan Misguided
The National Animal Identification System (NAIS), bureaucratic brainchild of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, mandates identity registration for livestock to allow for centralized tracking and oversight in the event of disease outbreak. The policy may be well-intentioned, but its stated goals don’t justify the incursion into private life, erosion of liberty and livelihoods, and the increase in prices that it would undoubtedly foster. The program calls for livestock owners to furnish federal databases with personal information: their name, home address, telephone number, and the GPS coordinates of their home. Further, if these owners wished to transport the animals outside of their birth farm for any reason (even on a trail ride or to a fair), the animals would need to be biochipped and registered to a federal identification number. It’s no wonder this policy has been the target of recent protests in Jefferson City.
Given that compliance costs for this program are relatively high, smaller farms will close down, farmers will lose their livelihoods, and larger farms will pass on their costs to consumers in the form of higher prices. All for what? Farmers and livestock research organizations argue that the spread of disease is not even initiated at the level of the farms, but rather at meat processing plants, so this policy is misguided not only in implementation, but also in its conception.