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Feds Prodding Farmers To Tag And Track Animals

by 5m Editor
5 September 2007, at 11:26am

US - Even Noah didn’t have to count every single farm animal in existence before the floods floated away his critter-filled ark.

On wrong track: Organic farmer Jack Kittredge of Many Hands Organic Farm in Barre, shown with his Tamworth-breed pigs, is upset about a federal plan to tag animals, saying the plan won’t address health concerns.

But the federal government is prodding states to encourage farmers to register and tag with computer chips every cow, sheep, chicken, goat, turkey and other livestock on their premises.

Some small farmers in Massachusetts and elsewhere say that’s a nearly impossible and unnecessary task that could harm family farms.

The goal of the so-called National Animal Identification System is to one day create a database that, with the help of a GPS tracking system, could theoretically help fight and track animal diseases that enter the human food chain.

But local opponents this fall plan to step up their opposition to thesystem, which they fear could transform from a voluntary program into a mandatory tag-and-track system for every barnyard animal on American farms.

“It’s another dumb idea from Washington,” said state Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre), a member of the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

Earlier this summer, the committee held a hearing on what might happen if the NAIS ever became mandatory.

Brewer said he plans this fall to push for a bill he’s co-sponsoring with Rep. Anne Gobi (D-Spenser) that would ban Massachusetts from participating even in the voluntary NAIS.

Source: BostonHerald

5m Editor