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Program tracks farms, animals

by 5m Editor
24 April 2006, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON COUNTY - Diseases don’t care whether a farmer has three cows in a small pen or 300 cows roaming in large pastures. Viruses can affect a small flock of hens in a backyard coop as easily as thousands of hens in warehouse-sized chicken plants. That’s why the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) needs to be implemented, Maryland State Veterinarian Guy Hohenhaus said. Not everyone agrees. The federal program has been criticized by some as a cumbersome and expensive burden that could force smaller farmers out of business and as further intrusion by the government. “Any time the government’s involved, I’m not very anxious to be a part of (it),” said Steve Martin, 48, of Smithsburg, who raises a small number of animals, including hogs. “When somebody comes down the road and says, ‘I’m here to help you,’ there’s always a catch.” For now, the NAIS is a work in progress that is voluntary. The program has three key components: Premises registration, animal identification and animal tracking. <i>Source: The Herald-Mail Online</i>

5m Editor