National Animal Identification (2006)

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has called for accelerated implementation of a verifiable national animal identification program since 2003; and

WHEREAS, we believe proactive steps are necessary to maintain and ensure consumer confidence in the safety of U.S. animals and food product, as well as to stabilize our domestic and export markets and minimize any economic damage resulting from animal disease outbreaks or bioterrorism attacks.

WHEREAS, USDA announced its plans to allow private entities to collect and maintain producer information in a National Animal Identification Systems (NAIS), despite our repeated calls for the database to be maintained within the public agency domain, nor does USDA plan to pay the costs of reporting animal movements or even to analyze the costs of that system to producers or meat processors.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Texas Farmers Union reiterates our concerns and opposition to a mandatory NAIS moving forward until our questions and concerns are answered. The Administration, Congress and industry must resolve the following concerns before further promulgation or implementation of a mandatory national animal identification program:

1) Has the least possible cost to the producers and fully paid for by the Department of Homeland Security;

2) Data Collected is controlled by the federal government, not private entities;

3) Encourages full participation and shared responsibility throughout industries;

4) Provides adequate liability protection firewalls including, but not limited to an exemption from the Freedom of Information Act;

5) Is conducive to the collection of data that will be compatible with, and complimentary to the country of origin labeling (COOL) law; and

6) Establishes an educational component within the program to educate producers.

Texas Farmers Union, P.O. Box 738, Sweetwater, Tx 79556