The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has been alleged as a three component program, however a fourth component facade is starting to reveal itself.
The first step of NAIS is premises enrollment; next, animal identification; then coast-to-coast, 48 hour animal tracing.
USDA’s undersecretary for marketing and regulatory programs, Bruce I. Knight, has promised the NAIS program is easy to enroll and voluntary on the federal level, “if … enough livestock owners enroll so it does not have to go mandatory.”
The fourth component is meticulously touched by Knight, “If USDA decides to make all or parts of the NAIS mandatory, APHIS will follow the normal rulemaking process.”
With rules, laws, inspections, taxes, regulations, or licensing comes the fourth component: enforcement.
In 2007, the U.S. spent nearly $1 trillion in regulation enforcements, policing, investigations, and mandatory compliances. Although this was a huge expense to the citizenry, the fines, collections, penalties, licenses, fees and private property confiscations from all law violations was an equally swelling amount; a number impossible to locate from federal published data.
Penalties appropriate to the violation is a cornerstone fundamental of the U.S. judicial system. Enforcement is totally capricious with USDA. One could be fined in county court $1,000 for a 70 mph speed violation through a school zone, yet $50,000 for crossing a state line with one number incorrect on a USDA issued livestock health certificate — for a perfectly healthy child’s pony.
Government animal numbering systems have been urged in a few countries prior to the marketing of NAIS in the U.S. Australia is the only country to have implemented electronic tagging and tracking, and is a prototype for enforcement, also.
Stephen Blair, a director of the Angus Society of Australia, was recently fined $17,300. He was prosecuted for moving cattle from one of his ranches wearing ear tags from his other ranch to a livestock auction. No diseased or stolen livestock were involved.
This is a small example of the enforcement USDA could wield over U.S. livestock producers if NAIS was exacted mandatory. All licensed USDA veterinarians will be required to report all noncompliance of their clients or be subject to immediate licensing reviews.
The USDA/APHIS policing division is the Investigative and Enforcement Services, and to enforce the ever increasing number of regulations, the government seeks to make ordinary citizens into their enforcers. Even today all neighbors, farm employees and friend or foe associates are encouraged on the IES Web site to “report potential violations, please contact IES.”
The Fourth Component is operational and extremely aggressive. It can be disastrously expensive. NAIS, when mandatory, will require 100 percent computer movement documentation at the expense of livestock owners. In a three-year period, the total NAIS computer movement numbers in the USA will more than eclipse the number of all people living on Earth.
The whopping magnitude of this federal numbering burden will require a giant increase in USDA employees and facilities.
Every livestock producer is encouraged to study the details of NAIS and oppose NAIS now, rather than when it becomes scurrilously mandatory.