Cattlemen move to 'zero out' Animal ID

This month the U.S. Cattlemen's Association (USCA) applauded action by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcomittee to cut funding for the proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS). On a voice vote, the subcommit tee agreed to essentially zero-out funding for the program.

USCA President Jon Wooster said, "The proposed system has been examined by all the affected parties. After federal expenditures of $142 million since 2004 only one-third of the animal premises across the nation have enrolled in the program, sending a strong message that livestock producers do not support the proposed program. The House subcommittee vote is a signal that Congress is listening to producers.

"A recently released economic analysis of NAIS showed that the cattle industry would bear significant costs associated with the program, putting the cattle and beef industry at a disadvantage with competing protein sources," Wooster said. "During NAIS listening sessions held across the nation, producers have echoed similar concerns about a federally mandated program that would add more economic burden to their operations."

The group has worked diligently with Congress and administration officials to represent producer interests. The USCA was successful in keeping the program voluntary while urging officials to develop a standardized system that would reward producers for providing origin, age and animal husbandry practices.

"If producers unify and support USCA in its efforts to quash federal funding for the NAIS program, we w ill succeed in defeating, once and for all, this proposed system of animal identification. We will all be better off if such funding is used to integrate existing systems within various states, Wooster said.

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2009-06-25 digital edition

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