STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF NAIS -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 27, 2006)
SPEECH OF HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2006
* Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I recently become a cosponsor of H.R. 6042, offered by my colleague Mrs. Emerson. This bill prohibits the federal government from implementing the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). It also provides some privacy protections for framers and ranchers who choose to participate in a voluntary identification system. I hope all of my colleagues join me in supporting this bill.
* NAIS is a proposal to force all farmers and ranchers to ``tag'' their livestock with a radio frequency identification device tag (RFID) or a similar item so information on the animals' locations can be stored in a federal database. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently implementing the program through state premise registration plans. Participation in the NAIS is currently voluntary, but my office has been informed that the USDA will likely make NAIS mandatory by 2009.
* Small, family farmers and ranchers will be forced to spend thousands of dollars, as well as comply with new paperwork and monitoring regulations, to implement and operate NAIS. These farmers and ranchers will be paying for a massive assault on their property and privacy rights as NAIS forces farmers and ranchers to provide detailed information about their private property to the government. In addition, the NAIS system empowers the Federal government to enter and seize property from farmers and ranchers without a warrant. Mr. Speaker, this is a blatant violation of the Fourth Amendment-protected right to be free of arbitrary searches and seizures.
* NAIS is unnecessary since most states already have identification systems to identify and track animals and virtually all stockyards issue a health certification for each animal that is sold. Furthermore, the NAIS ``trace back'' procedures only begin after an incident has been reported, which could be days, weeks, or even months after the harm has occurred. Since most contamination happens after the animal has left the farm or ranch and entered the food chain, tracing animals back to the farm will not help identify the source of the problem--although farmers and ranchers could be held legally liable if any of their animals becomes diseased after leaving their possession. According to a 1998 Harvard study, preventive measures already in place can protect the American people from dangers such as mad cow disease.
* Bell Bellinger, vice-chairman of the Australian Beef Association, said of Australia's National Livestock Identification System that ``Financial costs like the NLIS ..... are seriously eroding our competitive advantage supplying an increasing contested world beef market.''
* Dairy Farmer and Rancher Bob Parker best stated the case against NAIS: ``We currently have the systems in place to track animals, as has just happened with the recent `mad cow' in Alabama. Sacrificing our freedoms for security is not a good trade off, in my opinion. Our Founding Fathers knew the dangers of Government becoming too big. This plan is too intrusive, to costly, and will be devastating to small farmers and ranchers.'' I urge my colleagues to listen to Mr. Parker and protect America's small farmers and ranchers from being burdened with a costly, intrusive and unnecessary NAIS program by cosponsoring H.R. 6042.