Stop National Animal ID
Assault on Small Farmers—What You Can Do
by Justin Sanders

With new government programs comes new government money, so the Farm Bureau, the state cattlemen’s associations, and Extension agents are all lining up. In many states the Farm Bureau has a vise-grip hold on state agricultural legislation. Farm Bureau, cattlemen’s associations, and other organizations may back this idea, but chances are their members don’t; chances are good the members have no idea what’s going on.

How many farmers (not agribusinessmen) do you know who would believe registering every chicken with the government is a good idea? Talk to them. Encourage them not to sign up their premises. “The USDA is using farmers’ supposed willingness to enter a ‘voluntary’ program as a justification for making the program mandatory,” says Zanoni. Here’s what else you can do:

  • Get informed. Go to  and click on “Draft Strategic Plan” on the right side of the page under the “What’s New” heading, or write United States Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20250 to obtain the 24-page implementation plan. Read it for yourself.

  • Spread the word. Go to and click on “Taking Action.” You’ll find flyers to print and distribute to everyone in your community. Post flyers in public places—feed stores, the post office, grocery stores.

  • Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper. Have a friend write a response. Then you respond. Keep it up. Make this issue a local concern.

  • Set up an information table at your county fair or any local event where they’ll let you. Have hand-outs people can take with them, and petitions for them to sign.

  • Attend local meetings. Check with your community government and county Extension office. If your area doesn’t yet have an action committee, organize one. For starters, go to and look up their state farmer contact list.
  • Ask your breed association and any other livestock organization or club you belong to not to submit their membership lists to NAIS organizers, thus “voluntarily” registering the members’ farms.

  • Write a letter to your Farm Bureau and tell them they are not representing the farmers’ interests with NAIS. Go to for a state-by-state listing of Farm Bureaus, or ask your local Extension office for your state Farm Bureau address. While you’re at it, contact Director of Agricultural Policy Mary Kay Thatcher, American Farm Bureau, 600 Maryland Ave SW Suite 800, Washington DC 20024, phone 202-406- 3661.

  • Complain to your state veterinary office. Contact information for your state is available at your local library or Extension office.

  • Contact your state senators and representatives, whom USDA is relying on to initiate state-by-state NAIS implementation. Yet these people are most likely to care about your rights, your community, and your livelihood. If you don’t know where to find their contact information, your local librarian can help you.

  • Find out who’s on your state Agriculture Committee. Call the members of the committee and see where they stand on the NAIS. Find those who are willing to sponsor legislation to protect farmers in your state.

  • Write Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, 1400 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20250. To send email go to and click on “Contact Us.”

  • Contact your representatives in Congress. If you don’t know who they are, you can find information at or at the library. Tell them you oppose pending legislation (HR 3170, two companion bills HR 1256 and HR 1254, and similar Senate bills) that will destroy small-scale livestock farmers and make recreational livestock activities a thing of the past.

  • Contact the chairmen of the house and senate committees on agriculture: Saxby Chambliss, chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry, SR-328A Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510; Bob Goodlatte, Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture, 12-1 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515.

  • Prepare to voice your opposition during USDA’s public forum in July 2006. The USDA has periodically established certain time periods during which the public may comment. Previous forums were not widely publicized. Don’t let this one slip by you. Show up at pubic forums in vocal force to vigorously oppose the NAIS. Comments may also be mailed to USDA Animal & Plant Inspection Service, NAIS Subcommittee, 1400 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20250.

  • Make copies of the petition on this site. Ask every eligible voter you meet to sign it (4-H and FFA groups wishing to sign this petition should clearly mark theirs “Concerned Future Voters”). Send signed petitions to the attorney whose address is at the bottom of the page. The petitions will be categorized by zip code, and letters sent to representatives notifying them that citizens in their districts have signed the petition against NAIS.

  • Above all, refuse to participate in any voluntary NAIS sign-ups. Shun any incentives offered for early compliance. Voice your concerns and demand your right of due process and representation.


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 Rural Heritage.

Stop National Animal ID
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 scenario:

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 animals.

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 permission.

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 system.

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 Rural Heritage.