Tuesday, December 18, 2007

What's This NAIS Thing and Why Should We Care?

NAIS is an acronym for the National Animal Identification System, a program which the US Department of Agriculture says is needed to "protect the health of U.S. livestock and poultry and the economic well-being of those industries." NAIS, it avers will enable the USDA to quickly and effectively trace an animal disease to its source so we'll know exactly which animals are sick and where they are. But there’s much more to NAIS than meets the eye. Many small ranchers and farmers see it as a threat to their very existence.

The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, an Austin-based non-profit, has been one of the leaders in the fight against the implementation of NAIS. Judith McGeary, the executive director, has called to our attention an eye-opening article about NAIS published on-line by The Nation.

This quote from the article sure got my attention. I think she's talking about us. I think it shows why we should care.

"NAIS is going to truly coalesce the food supply," said (attorney Karin) Bergener. "All the people who like to go to a nice farmers' market so they can buy fresh eggs and chickens from a farmer they can look in the eye won't be have anywhere to go. We won't be there anymore. We won't exist."

1 comment:

Worzel Gummidge said...

In principle, known provinence could be a godsend for foodie consumers. The problem here must be in the implementation of the scheme. Like a lot of agricultural policy it represents the legislative will of agribusiness.

Slow Food USA is an offender here. They support food subsidies instead of campaigning to get the government (i.e. big ag.) out of agriculture.