|Assault on Small Farmers—Who's Behind It?
by Justin Sanders
Our government started
this plan as a voluntary program to register our farms and animals to
supposedly protect us and our livestock from diseases. Yet, if some
pandemic or epidemic sweeping through the livestock population would
demand such drastic measures, government’s first act wouldn’t be
punching an ear tag into every farm animal they could catch. Any
first-time mother who knows to hand-test a forehead for fever can tell
you tagging ears to fight disease is ridiculous. No, during an epidemic
government agents kill the infected animals and all animals in the herd.
Then they spread out and test neighboring herds and destroy all herds
with animals that test positive.
So if the intent of NAIS is not to fight
disease, what is its purpose? Follow the money. Ask, “Who benefits?”
Agribusiness lobbied the USDA to create a system to protect them from
legal liability if an epidemic ever does break out. More, NAIS would
protect agribusiness market share, forestalling a public revulsion
against their product by “confirming” that only a few animals, not
thousands, were sick. NAIS enables agribusiness conglomerates that
concentrate thousands of animals (and so concentrate the chance for
spreading diseases) to point their finger at someone else. Here’s the
Consumers in Sheboygan get sick from
something they ate at a local fast food joint. That fast food joint gets
its meat from ABC cow factory. ABC cow factory buys cows from XYZ
feedlots. Those feedlots had cows numbered 1q10 through 1q500 in their
possession and those cows came from 15 small farms in suburban Tempe.
Goodbye 15 small farms in suburban Tempe.
Hello scapegoat for fast food joint, slaughterhouse, and feedlots.
To protect themselves, these large
corporations will effectively put small-scale farmers out of business.
The farmers' costs for complying with the program, combined with the
threat of fines and jail time for not complying, will drive small
farmers off the land. Meanwhile NAIS sets up the same corporations as
the only entities granted the ‘privilege’ to raise animals, since they,
of course, are the only ones that can be trusted to follow such a plan
to protect the “national herd.”
The NAIS abolishes private property rights
in farms and in animals. Run by a branch of the USDA, the NAIS considers
your animals to be not yours, but part of “the national herd.” Plainly,
they are right. If they can force you to register your farm and your
animals, you do not own them. They own them, because they
control them. You are only inventorying property and animals for their
true owner, the federal government.
“But,” I hear you say, “I have only a few
chickens and a horse. NAIS won't apply to me, right?”
Wrong. We will all be
required to submit GPS [Global Positioning System] coordinates of our
farms and the RFID [radio frequency ID] of each of our animals to the
USDA database. The NAIS provides no exemptions whatever. Anybody with
one chicken, one horse, one cow, one sheep, one goat, one bison, one
llama, one alpaca, one turkey, one duck—all must register both premises
And when I say must, I mean must.
The plan calls for eventual mandatory enforcement of premises
registration and animal identification. Mandatory means “forced” and
“enforcement” means “putting into force.” Not of your own free will. The
government will fine you, put you in jail, or seize your animals because
you kept them without registering them with the government. Raising
livestock without a license, I reckon they’ll call it. From then
on, you’ll be breaking the law for being a farmer without government
Who will pay for NAIS? You will. It does
not favor the small farmer, but corporations with huge budgets. These
conglomerates get to write off government registration fees and all the
other costs, but the write-off means almost nothing to small farmers who
must first come up with the money to comply. The NAIS is free now, but
will not be in the future. On their website, the NAIS states, “Even with
public funding, there will be costs to producers.”
There’s a time tax, too. States, tribes,
producers, managers of livestock shows and events, market operators,
processing plants, auction barns, feed stores, veterinarians, service
providers and third parties will all have to provide labor for this
By registering your car, you pay taxes. By
registering yourself as the owner of your home, you pay taxes. By
registering yourself with a social security number, you pay taxes. By
registering with the NAIS, you open yourself for more taxes. Taxes for
being a farmer and taxes on your animals will come.
Justin Sanders of Westpoint, Tennessee, lives among terrorist
chickens, lambs, cows, proletarian pigs, Percherons, Haflingers, and a
Belgian, while raising three sons, none of whom yet has a
government-approved tag. He is working with his state’s legislators to
protect Tennessee farmers from NAIS. This article appeared in The Evener
2006 issue of