National Animal Identification System


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    I am reposting this from another blog. I had never heard of it before. Thankfully, I am a Canadian and though we have our own idiocies this really is beyond belief.

    Sugar Mountain Farm Stories of Pastured Pigs, Poultry, Sheep, Dogs and Kids in the mountains of Vermont

    On a totally different topic, do you know about the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) that the government is working on implementing? NAIS is a system that the USDA is proposing to identify all livestock in the United States and also identify all premises (locations with any livestock). This includes all birds, sheep, cows, pigs, horses, llamas and many other animals. The stated goal is to be able to have 48 hour trace back of all meats from the consumer to the farm where the animal originated incase of illness or contamination. That sounds all well and good except that:

    1) They are including livestock sold directly from small farms to the end consumer where there is already 100% track back in much less than 48 hours. If you buy locally from the source you know exactly where your food came from.

    2) They are snaring homesteaders by including even livestock you might keep for your own consumption. The government is implementing huge “non-compliance” fines if you don’t report your backyard flock of chickens, your summer feeder pig, your lawn mowing sheep, etc. This will take away your right to raise your own source of eggs, meat and wool.

    3) They are including animals that are not in the food supply such as pets like horses, llamas, etc that are not intended for consumption.

    Under the plan every single animal must be identified. Any births, deaths and movements on or off the farm will be required to be logged and reported to the government. If you take your sheep to a show you will have to track their location and submit paperwork to the government. If you go for a trail ride with your horse you will have to report that to the government. If your pig has piglets you’ll have to report that and then if some of those piglets die or you eat one you’ll have to report that.

    Pretty soon after that the government is going to want to charge a consumption tax every time you eat one of your own animals. After all, unless you buy all your food then you’re not paying sales tax, you’re not helping the Gross Domestic Product grow, you’re not paying your share. You think I’m joking? You are required by law to pay taxes on any barters you do. It is only a tiny step from that law and NAIS to a tax on every chicken, every egg, every pig, every sheep, etc. Then they’ll go for your tomatoes and carrots. (No, I am definitely not paranoid enough.)

    All this identification, tattooing, labeling, tagging, micro-chipping, RFID equipment and paper work is going to cost money. Who do you think is going to pay? You! That’s who. NAIS will increase the cost of food both to those who raise it and for consumers at the farmer’s market and at the supermarket. This is going to require more government bureaucracy to manage which will eventually lead to more fees and taxes collected by the government to manage a system tracking your life and making it ever more expensive.

    Under the plan the government requires you to track the animal movements as well as your premise location (your home) with GPS and address coordinates. All animal locations and movements must be logged and reported under penalty of confiscation and fines. Furthermore the USDA will not guarantee to keep the information confidential because of the Freedom of Information Act. This means that radical animal rights groups (like E-ll-F and Pee.Ee.Tee.Ah a.k.a. Pet-ah) will be able to find out exactly where you live and precisely what you have for animals. These terrorist groups have already attacked farms and destroyed property killing people and animals. Now they’ll have even more data to use figuring out who to target. Lovely.

    Will this give us any better security? No. Almost all of the cases of food born illness and recalls are caused by contamination at the slaughter house, packing plant and further along the chain of supply. Perhaps this sort of thing is a good idea on the large scale producers, the factory farms, the big slaughter houses. It is not needed in our back yards and homesteads. It is not necessary for small farms selling direct to the consumer or other end users. It is certainly beyond reason for non-food pets.

    Virtually all of the remaining cases of food born illness like Mad Cow and the like are the product of bad practices like feeding animals back to their own species and over crowding. These are problems that are not related to the small farms, the homesteaders and the backyard flocks. NAIS won’t solve these problems. Furthermore, Mad Cow, to take the government’s favorite scarecrow, is something that takes years to decades to infect. A 48 hour trace back is going to do diddley-squat.

    At the very least NAIS should allow exemptions for pets, homesteaders, backyard flocks and small farms that sell direct to the end user. These groups already have better than 48 hour track back and are not the threat. The threat is big agri-businesses, “factory farms” that lock millions of animals in cages and generate ideal conditions for disease to run wild through animals with suppressed immune systems and antibiotics in their feed. These are the corporations that grind up cows and feed them back to the cows. They are the ones that routinely feed antibiotics to their livestock producing new strains of drug resistant super-germs. They are the ones generating enormous mountains of waste and pollution the taints the air and the water. They are the problem. If they are so gung-ho for NAIS then let them implement it for themselves.

    NAIS will lead to more centralization of our food supply and bigger government. The big corporations that already control too much of our food supply will control even more of it. More control over the system of production by fewer corporations and individuals is a threat to our nation. This is the last thing we need. What we need is decentralized local production to ensure the safety of our food supply. If all our food comes from a few sources then it is in great danger for everyone. If our food comes from many small localized farms then we have greater national food security. NAIS is exactly the wrong answer.

    It is not too late to fight this nonsense. There are several groups* working to fight it. Join with them (Oklahomans Against NAIS, FreeTennesee, StopAnimalID, Americans Against NAIS). Sign the petition against NAIS. Write the USDA. Write your local newspapers. Write your state representatives. Write your congressional critters in the House and Senate. Let them know how you feel about this. If you don’t speak up now you may lose one more right to privacy as big government gets bigger and reaches its hand deeper into your life and your pocket book. NAIS is a big government, big corporation answer to a question they don’t even understand.

    *I will keep adding to this contact list as I find more. If you know of things that belong here, email m

    NAIS is pronounced Nazi…

    31째F/5째F, 2″ Snow, Overcast
    Tags: NAIS tagged National Animal Identification guardian ID RFID USDA

    About Walter Jeffries
    Tinker, Tailor…
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    ← White on WhiteMouse Tracks →
    50 Responses to NAIS Marking the Beasts
    The Bradshaws says:
    January 10, 2006 at 7:28 am
    Rabbit tracks. Thanks for spreading the news about NAIS.
    Urban Agrarian says:
    January 10, 2006 at 7:41 am
    squirrel tracks?
    Deb says:
    January 10, 2006 at 11:49 am
    Mouse tracks?

    Thanks for the concise summary of the implications of NAIS; I have been aware of it but haven’t bothered to delve into the info that is out there. I’m going to post a link to this post on my blog.
    Liz says:
    January 10, 2006 at 2:07 pm
    Mouse or vole tracks. Some kind of dirty rodent. 😉

    I am just sick about NAIS. Thanks for posting such a thorough overview, Walter.
    P.V. says:
    January 10, 2006 at 2:29 pm
    I dont have my own animals but this nais stuff sounds owful. I dont think the government has any business keeping track of our animals. next they will want to be doing it to people with a national people id system or something. maybe theyll replace our drivers lecense with a chip in our wrist. I heard about them doing that in mexico and then kidnappers would chop off peoples arms to get the chips to use to break into banks or something. Really weird. 1894 here we come!!!
    Sarah says:
    January 10, 2006 at 3:30 pm
    The various implications of NAIS are frightening and sickening on many levels! How would poor people deal with the increased food costs? (They certainly wouldn’t get support from the current administration!) How would the small farmer have the extra time and money to comply with such rediculous mandates? I am hoping this plan is so blatant about its violations of our civil rights that it will not pass. I’ll be writing to my government officials anyway though. I became a vegetarian 16 years ago to protest – personally and non-violently – (I’m against terrorist animal rights groups too) factory farming and the impact on the environment. I agree that factory farming operations need to be more strictly controlled, but this NAIS plan, and the implications for small farmers and those who want to grow their own food is not the answer. Thanks for your thoughtful post!

    P.S. Is it some type of farm equipment that made that track?
    karl says:
    January 10, 2006 at 4:27 pm
    scary stuff. and just when i started raising and growing my own.
    RL says:
    January 10, 2006 at 9:28 pm
    Looks a little like a squirrel went hopping through the snow.

    Walter, I’m so glad that you posted this about NAIS. We recently learned about it here in Wisconsin. In fact we are now non-compliant. Wisconsin is priding itself in being at the forefront of this issue and is in fact hoping to create a system which would be adopted nation wide. Go to to see the details of Wisconsin’s program.

    This is a horrible blow to our already slipping freedoms. Right now Wisconsin has a premises registration law. The deadline was January 1, 2006. We have not registered and are looking into ways we might be able to exempt ourselves. However, we are not very hopeful since we haven’t found any exemption criteria yet.
    There is a $200-$5000 fine for anyone found not registered.

    They have a 3 phase plan here in Wisconsin. First it is property registration leading all the way to tracking every single animal by the third phase.

    The Soviets would be very envious of this system I would say. Do we still live in America? We should all run to our local court house to see if the flag is still flying.

    So far we aren’t seeing any public out cry about this here but, I hope one springs up quickly before they take this to the second and third phases.

    Check this out everyone, Walter is absolutely right about this.

    RL says:
    January 10, 2006 at 9:39 pm
    One more thing.

    A friend of mine had a foreboding comment about this subject. “After they get our animals, our children will be next.”

    Something to think about!

    Suzanne A. says:
    January 10, 2006 at 10:10 pm
    DEar? On the Id thing that is scary stuff. Our gov is totally innept. I really do no t want them messing with my ability to grow my own food. This is redicullis. I am off to write letters t o my senators and representatives and papers and such. I just signed the pettittiion. Thanks for explaining this all so clearly. You motivated me.
    D. Seng says:
    January 11, 2006 at 10:29 am
    Looks like it could be a bird hopping through soft snow – are there drag marks between the footprints (i.e. tail dragging)?
    Rurality says:
    January 11, 2006 at 11:37 am
    Hey Walter I may be confused (happens a lot!), but it seems to say on the NAIS Q&A; page that animals won’t have to be tracked if they never leave the premises… wouldn’t that leave out people who produce just for themselves?

    Hopefully they won’t really make the direct-to-consumer producers comply either, if enough people pitch a fit about it!
    Tiffany says:
    January 11, 2006 at 12:02 pm
    Excellent information Walter! This is a serious issue, thanks for spreading the word 🙂

    Sourced Beef Man says:
    January 11, 2006 at 1:48 pm
    Interesting comments Walter. Please see
    Walter Jeffries says:
    January 11, 2006 at 2:08 pm
    Rurality, I wish you were right but NAIS is planned to be mandatory for homesteaders and small farms selling directly to the consumers. There are no exemptions.

    Short answer: The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is designed to be mandatory for all premises with animals. There are no exemptions for homesteads even if the animals were never bought from any other place and never taken to a butcher. There are no exemptions for small farms that sell directly to consumers. There are not even exemptions for animals that are not used for food but are just kept for pets. There are no exemptions. If you have animals you will be required under the current NAIS plan to register them, track them, report births, deaths, etc. The only way this will change is if we all fight it now before it is fully implemented.

    Long Answer: In the USDA NAIS Draft Strategic Plan it states that the plan will be made mandetory for all animals and all premises dealing with animals. This is the authoritative official document – the master plan. Below are some key quotes. Note, the PDF document pages do not match the actual document page numbering. e.g., PDF doc page 3 = NAIS doc page 1.

    “The goal of NAIS is to be able to identify all animals and premises.” -NAISp1.

    “[We] must make the NAIS mandatory” -NAISp2.

    “To track animals we must know where they are born” -NAISp12.

    “The goal of NAIS is to be able to identify all animals” -NAISp12.

    “All producers and affected industry segments [e.g., slaughter houses, butchers, transport, packers] must eventually participate. … the program will become mandatory” -NAISp13

    I could go on but won’t. If you really think they are not going to require tagging, logging, tracking and reporting of all our livestock then I beg of you to please go and read the actual NAIS documentation. It is long but this is something that will affect all of us for the rest of our lives. They are taking away our ability to raise our own food free of government interference.

    I spoke with my state agriculture head about this and he told me that there will be no exemptions for backyard producers, no exemptions for homesteaders, no exemptions for small farms selling direct to the consumer, no exemptions for pet owners – that all animals must be included in order to achieve the USDA goals with NAIS (of dominating the food supply).

    It is going to be mandatory unless we do something about this. Even if it were not mandatory for animals that stay at their place of birth, you would not be able to get new livestock and you would not be able to send livestock to the butcher without participating in NAIS. They want to make sure they have control. If you want to maintain your food independence, act now. There is still time but do not delay. Make your voice heard.

    Walter Jeffries says:
    January 11, 2006 at 2:15 pm
    BeefMan, I notice your ‘blog’ which is strongly in support of NAIS was setup yesterday (1/11/06) and that you mask your identity. You have one post singing the praises of NAIS and you made a comment here to direct people to your pro-NAIS blog. Why would that be? Who are you? What do you have to hide? Are you a front for big agri-biz? A mole for the government? Stranger and stranger… Open discussion would not require you to hide behind a veil of secrecy. Who are you and why do you really support NAIS?
    Walter Jeffries says:
    January 11, 2006 at 3:04 pm
    For those who are interested it should be noted that SourcedBeefMan has now ‘identified’ himself as:

    David Wright
    Stillwater, Oklahoma, United States
    It should be noted here that I am employed by Pardalis, Inc. which specializes in, among other things, animal sourcing and identification.

    The above is taken from the About Me section of his blog. It is fascinating that he as a distinct vested interest in promoting NAIS. His job involves Animal Identification and he and his company will profit from NAIS. It would have been nice of him to start out by identifying himself from the beginning so we would all know is bias. “Open and honest discussion” depend on knowing who you are talking to so you can understand their biases, David.
    Holly Jeffries says:
    January 11, 2006 at 8:26 pm
    Hi. I am Holly, Walter’s significant other. I was noticing that another interesting aspect of the “Beef Man’s” support of NAIS is that he mentions only one positive attribute. He discusses is that the price you can get for your animals is supposedly higher if they are “identified.” But if NAIS is required of everyone, no exceptions, then this will not be a distinction of any kind. It will simply raise the price of all animals due to increased costs, not due to any increased value.

    It is also interesting to note that the “Beef Man” failed to address any of the negative aspects of NAIS or the myriad of concerns regarding this proposed legislation which will affect everyone from the big farm factories right down to anyone who owns a pet.
    arcolaura says:
    January 11, 2006 at 10:55 pm
    Shrew tracks?

    Thanks for the heads up – I will be looking into Canadian developments, since our ag policy tends to follow U.S. policy nose-to-tail.
    Mark V. says:
    January 12, 2006 at 12:06 am
    Hey!!! A hitman for the Big Boys is what BEEF MAN is! Guess you made the notice of the big leauges Walter. They have a vested interested in the Nais stuff. Do you need protection now?! A body guard?! Good job flushing him out and catching him and calling his bluff. I wonder if David Wright is maybe a psudonym too. Mr. Right I presume? Always Right. David of Goliath more like it!!! Well I noted which companies he linked to on his fake blog aS WELL as his company. THeyre all suspects on my list now. I am off to write my state representatives and newspapers to tell about this sham. One more case of the government eroding our rights in the name of National {in}Security!!!
    Brad Bachelor says:
    January 12, 2006 at 7:31 am
    Howdy Walter,
    Love your blog. Other than the intrusion by the govt (which they do everytime I have to buckle my seat belt anyway…), I don’t see the big deal with NAIS. Especially since as small producers, we want to make sure the meat we sell is safe.

    I don’t have a vested interest in the program (Right now, the 10 meat goats I have left aren’t going to make me much.). I hear the uproar and see the philosophical differences, but the whole plan is pretty benign.

    Just an opinion from the other side of the fence.

    Anna says:
    January 12, 2006 at 2:13 pm
    I don’t like it. One more way the govenrmnt is going to reach into our lives and our pockets. I only have a few animals but they turn over every single year so that means I would have to file a lot of extra dumb papers every year or many times a year when they die or get eaten by predatrs or by me. Dumb.
    Filbo says:
    January 12, 2006 at 11:44 pm
    I heard a scrabbling in the wall the other day, do I have to report a mouse? For that matter, are the NAIS Gestapo going to wander around in the woods and arrest all the unregistered deer, foxes, voles etc.?

    This is insane.

    Police departments must love it — gives them Probable Cause to enter any home in the country — to see if you have unregistered mice.

    Kimberly says:
    January 13, 2006 at 4:10 am
    Your little tracks in the snow are wren tracks, I bet.

    thanks Walter for this. It really helps me get my thoughts straight in explaining this mess to my friends and family to do my part in getting the word out.

    God Bless,

    tansy says:
    January 13, 2006 at 10:53 pm
    this stuff has been making me sick for months now. and it’s getting worse. i need to start harassing my family/friends to write to anyone/everyone about this.

    i refuse to be tracked/watched/coded. this is my way of life, my freedom, my constitutional right and it’s pissing me off that these money greedy corporations think it is their place to take it away from me.
    Anonymous says:
    January 14, 2006 at 9:48 pm
    Nice blog–and yes, this NAIS stuff bugs me. Noting the recent comment about how it can’t be bad, I have to add, how, really, can it do good when imposed upon self-sustaining and direct-to-consumer farmers? We are losing our ability to be self-sufficient, a liberty that our country was founded upon. All under the guise of protecting us. Let us keep our rights so we can protect and care for ourselves, thank you very much!

    And I do prefer to remain benignly anonymous, because I’m discovering that it’s tougher and tougher to do so these days…so when I can be, I will.
    PC Patooey! says:
    January 15, 2006 at 9:29 am
    It would have been nice to have been able to READ the “Legislation” as it “Sounds” bad, but then again, you’re just probably reading what you “Think” it means and it’s really just a attempt to help keep “MCD” in check so it doesn’t spread.

    Care to have a place on your site for this “Horrible(?)” piece of proposed legilation?
    Walter Jeffries says:
    January 15, 2006 at 9:57 am
    PCP, You can read the legislation. It is called the Patriot Act. That is what gave the USDA the authority to formulate the regulations leading to NAIS without bothering with any further regulations. I provide a link at both the beginning and the end of my article above to the USDA’s web site about NAIS. PLEASE go there and read the proposed draft regulations for NAIS so that you can understand it for yourself.
    Anonymous says:
    January 15, 2006 at 3:39 pm
    Perhaps the Christian Right can be tweaked into opposing this — isn’t marking of beasts supposed to be a big sign? Oh yeah, they’re in favor of Armageddon. 🙁
    Anonymous says:
    January 20, 2006 at 5:31 pm
    The only way for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.pbggtmml
    Harriette says:
    January 23, 2006 at 7:46 pm
    Rabbit Tracks.

    Hey Walter, I saw where Technorati had picked up your post on NAIS. I just posted my own spin of it all. You have some great resources for those wanting to fight it…thanks!! Will link to your post.

    This is a HUGE issue.

    Harriette Jacobs
    Jacobs Farm
    Christine says:
    January 25, 2006 at 8:06 pm

    NAIS needs to be stopped. It is a travesty.

    Your wife’s art is lovely.
    Anonymous says:
    February 1, 2006 at 7:38 am
    This is sad, because my children are severely allergic to chicken eggs, so we were going to get some backyard ducks, having no source of duck eggs nearby.

    People like Beefman are only thinking of their own pocket books, not the lives of children like mine who could be affected. Shame on him!!
    Kathy says:
    February 18, 2006 at 10:21 am
    they look like cautious new little piggie prints.
    February 26, 2006 at 1:49 am
    I am owner of a new hatchery for endangered poultry in South Alabama. Being as we are officially GOD’S WAY FARMS…I have no intentions of complying with the NAIS laws. My GOD and my family and my birds are my life. Having invested some $60,000 into my own land recently(building pens, equipment, etc) I simply refuse to be told “You Can’t”. I have spoken with Gov Elect Roy Moore personally this week who swore to stop any NAIS leaning laws from becoming implemented in the state of AL. PLEASE vote for the only honest Christian polititian I have ever met.
    Sewing Susie says:
    July 10, 2006 at 8:01 am
    Perhaps the Christian Right can be tweaked into opposing this — isn’t marking of beasts supposed to be a big sign? Oh yeah, they’re in favor of Armageddon. 🙁

    Not exactly. None of us are looking forward to any of the events prophesied in Revelation. We know it’s happening, and we see the signs of the times, and we are among the first to point these things out, and of course we are called idiots and crazies for our troubles.
    And yes, I oppose this vigorously on political grounds too. As a Fundamentalist Christian I am very conservative and believe in limited Federal Government. Our opposite is the far Left which wants a socialist nanny-state Fed. Govt. which rules over and regulates every aspect of our lives, including obviously this aspect.
    This can’t be anything but a disaster–Fed. Govt. bureaucracy cannot competently manage the inside of an empty paper bag.
    I am so thankful for the Internet, which gets the word out, and also to see people like you who believe in farming nature’s way–after all, I do believe in a Sovereign Creator and I do believe that He knew what He was doing when He created, and just who do we think we are that we think we can come up with something better? It is to laugh uproariously.
    BTW, it’s not when they put a mark on beasts that we are watching for, it’s when they tell us that we must have the mark or we will not be able to buy or sell. For 1900 years folks wondered just how this kind of thing could be accomplished–then along came computers, and here we are.
    Keep shouting it from the housetops!!
    Sewing Susie
    freelibertarian says:
    July 18, 2006 at 10:07 pm
    The NAIS plan will make me a criminal, because I won’t be tattoing my animals, “they” can kiss my ass, but I’m not gonna tattoo him. “Psst hey buddy what are youse in fer?”
    “I’m doing 10-20 for failing to tatto my rooster, Bubba, can you believe it…stand back, I’m a pearly dangerous man!!
    Ah yes, “the Patriot act” just makes me feel so safe…we’re inching closer to a real interesting time. I’m all for
    non compliance, it’s our duty. I’m sick of our rights being eroded. It’s really scary to think what’s next, the control of the press or speech?
    Illegal wire tapping ? OOPS too late there!
    TLB says:
    August 9, 2006 at 5:25 pm
    Hello Sewing Susie, I just wanted to comment on something you said. As a small-government conservative, you were correct when you stated: “Our opposite is the far Left which wants a socialist nanny-state Fed. Govt. which rules over and regulates every aspect of our lives, including obviously this aspect.”
    What most people still don’t realize, is that the Republican Party has been taken over by these same socialists. By their fruits shall you know them! Did you know that Bush has signed an agreement that will effectively merge us with Mexico and Canada? It’s called SPP. See: The sovereignity of our nation itself is at stake, and these new kind of Republicans are pushing the socialist agenda as much, or more, than the Democrats. The purpose of the two parties is to give everyone somewhere to belong, and someone to fight against. If the people are thus occupied, the socialists can eventually implement ALL of their plans right under our noses, through BOTH parties. We must insist on choices, the Republican party is no longer a conservative choice. The party needs to get back to its roots, or a new party needs to carry the (real) conservative standard. We must divorce ourselves from this Socialist Republican Party. After all, Republican shouldn’t be a religion!
    Anonymous says:
    December 6, 2006 at 10:35 pm
    Are you upset enough to spill blood (others prefferably)? Not that i am advocating the dissolution of congress by force, however, only that much emotion over NAIS is going to change the Governing mind set that Americans can not police themselves.
    Walter Jeffries says:
    December 7, 2006 at 7:28 am
    Hopefully it will not come to revolution. Remember that the government and big industry do not always get their way. There have been many failed programs. Already there is change from their position of a year ago through peaceful dialog.

    On the more negative side, NAIS is but one small way that we are losing our freedoms and rights…
    Anonymous says:
    February 2, 2007 at 3:18 pm
    Thanks Walter for spreading the news I do hope all your work stops NAIS in it’s tracks! My concerns with NAIS is for the horse industry. Horses and thier owners will most surely suffer when this takes effect. NAIS will certainly put an end to small horse shows and 4-H fun. Not to mention horse rescue for each horse a rescue will have to micro chip I am certain one will die as the money that could be spent on food and shelter will need to be spent on a micro chip! But hey I am sure the person who they have to report that death to who is earning a salary will not have a problem with that! Shame on the NAIS and the people who support it!
    Jen in Bulgaria says:
    August 12, 2007 at 8:36 am
    Sewing Susie,
    I myself am an atheist, but I know plenty of people who are both Christian and, by your definition, Socialist-leaning. What right have you to claim that they are any less ‘Christian’ than you are? My reading of the Bible suggests to me that Jesus would’ve been much more in favor of ‘socialist’ notions of providing everyone with adequate food, housing, and education than he would have been of the conservative agenda of cutting aid programs, implementing the death penalty, and waging pointless, destructive war.

    I’m tired of conservative folks trying to scare the electorate with the bogeyman of the “socialist nanny-state Fed. Govt. which rules over and regulates every aspect of our lives, including obviously this aspect.” Was it a left-leaning government that brought in the Patriot Act? Must have missed that… If the policies of the current administration are what you consider to be good, sound, anti-socialist Christian doctrine, then I say bring on the atheist socialists.

    Incidentally, I’m no more in favor of ‘big government’ (or ‘big military’) than anyone else. This left-leaning ‘socialist’ is quite happy on her smallholding in Bulgaria. Though the red tape is rife here if you -have- to go through government channels, actual government involvement in people’s day to day lives, especially outside the cities, is minimal. This is good. However, since the fall of Communism, a sort of rabid, Wild West capitalism has taken hold that means people having to leave their villages to go to Sofia just for a job that pays a pittance. No minimum wage, no safety net, and the pension system is a joke — think the US in the late-1800′s. If THAT kind of lack of government controls is your idea of Utopia, I suggest you come here and have a look at it close-up. If you come in October, you’ll be just in time to help us slaughter our first pigs… 😀

    Thanks for suggesting that the Republican party has been infiltrated by socialists. It’s the funniest thing I’ve read in ages.

    Sorry for the off-topic comments, Walter… Sometimes I just have to respond. I’ve just started reading your blog and catching up on numerous back-issues, and I find it to be both entertaining and informative. Thanks!
    Walter Jeffries says:
    August 12, 2007 at 9:43 am
    The Nanny State, or Ninny State as I sometimes refer to it, is not socialist nor is it about providing for people. Rather it is about control, about taking control away from people and micro-managing aspects of their lives that the government has no business being involved without invitation. If you want government assistance that is one thing, okay. But if the government forces itself upon you that is a whole different ball of was and not okay. What we are getting is a Ninny State where people can’t think for themselves – they have government and professionals to do that for them. In the long run that will hurt them. Watch out for falling debris.
    Jay says:
    October 8, 2011 at 2:55 am
    I totally agree with your comments there Walter, and I really love reading your weblog (minus the comments from evangelicals trying to prostelyze the rest of us). But please know this big government thing isn’t a partisan issue between conservatives and liberals… It’s a struggle between those who love our country, and those who want to exploit our country to extract wealth from it. Both of those groups contain both conservatives and liberals. It will take both conservatives and liberals working together to resist the corporate greed that currently controls our government.

    I share your passion for homesteading, sustainable living, home schooling, and personal responsibility. Keep up the great blog. Love reading it!
    Walter Jeffries says:
    October 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm
    You miss-understand me if you think I believe either political wing group dominates greed. I am neither Republican nor Democrat and I see both of them contributing to the problems we face.
    Anonymous says:
    December 31, 2007 at 12:31 am
    Off subject but didnt the Lacota Indians just secede from the US sounds like a good plan if you ask me.
    Danman says:
    February 7, 2008 at 2:31 pm
    I will hopefully be moving to the countryside in the next couple of years… to homestead. But if this goes through, I don’t know if I will or not. These are MY freedoms that they’re playing with. It makes me angry, scared, frustrated. And money is a powerful motivator for those making the laws. God help us perservere.
    Andy Anderson (SwineInsanity) says:
    September 20, 2009 at 10:40 pm
    In Washington State Not all USDA is for NAIS. Seems like all the Ecoli in Beef stemmed from feed lots. There was a problem with ecoli in spinich in WA. State… The media tried to blame it on a pig farm. That strain of ecoli does not exist in pigs. It only exists in cattle. They convienently overlooked a dairy farm that was supplying the manure that was being sprayed on the crops. No slaughter house is not the root of the problem. Doing business with alot of stores, you see what is going on in the back and I have seen many filthy stores and they are not regulated by the USDA… I don’t know about veggie packing plants, but working in a USDA slaughter house, we have to test for ecoli often because of HACCP. The NAIS will not stop disease. It will not stop ecoli. Anybody who believes it will is fooling themselves..
    Robert says:
    January 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm
    “At the very least NAIS should allow exemptions for pets, homesteaders, backyard flocks and small farms that sell direct to the end user. These groups already have better than 48 hour track back and are not the threat. ”

    I agree ..any update on the NAIS news?
    Walter Jeffries says:
    January 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm
    President Obama just signed NAIS into law as part of the Food Safety Modernization law. The name has changed but the effect is virtually identical. Unfortunately the law will not actually improve food safety. The problem is not the small local producers who will be over regulated and burdened. Gradually the government is sticking its fingers deeper and deeper into our lives.
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    Interesting read, Swineherder.

    But just one thing. All of that article was from 2006. I can only imagine that with the financial meltdown only 2 years later that this plan was scrapped, if for nothing else economic reasons.

    I was appalled that it suggested that urban backyard farmers like me would have to register each hen I have. What a ridiculous waste of time.

    Thanks for the Sugarmountian Farms suggestion for reading.


    Oops, the comments were so very long that I skimmed them and only now noticed that there was an update in 2011 that it had been signed into law. I will have to search for this as I can hardly believe that anyone would comply with the backyard part of it.

    Though I suppose if they wanted to be sure that the general public is breaking lots of silly laws this would be one way to do it. Then there would always be something to bust people for. I rather think that the war on drugs has been a way to get probablable cause searches going. Next it will be if someone reports clucking over an egg coming from my backyard.


    Hi Glennda:

    Yes I probably should have deleted the answers to his essay but they are so much fun to read I decided to paste them in.

    Your question was a good one so I went to Wikipedia and did some reading. Pretty mind numbing stuff and yes I could find much after 2006 until this article. So they gave up after two years but promised to be back with a new and improved version in 2012. I think one of the last comments stated that Obama had signed it into law in 2012 but I couldn’t find verification of that.

    So here is the lengthy article if it will past, if not I will post the URL.

    March 26, 2012
    9:34 PM

    National Animal Identification System
    Scrapped by U.S. Government

    Faced with stiff resistance from ranchers and farmers, the Obama administration has decided to scrap a national program intended to help authorities quickly identify and track livestock in the event of an animal disease outbreak.

    In abandoning the program, called the National Animal Identification System, officials said they would start over in trying to devise a livestock tracing program that could win widespread support from the industry.

    The officials said that it would be left to the states to devise many aspects of a new system, including requirements for identifying livestock.

    New federal rules will be developed but the officials said they would apply only to animals being moved in interstate commerce, such as cattle raised in one state being transported to a slaughterhouse in another state.

    It could take two years or more to create new federal rules, the officials said, and it was not clear how far the government would go to restrict the movement of livestock between states if the animals did not meet basic traceability standards.

    The old system, created by the Bush administration in 2004, received $142 million in federal financing, but gained the participation of only 40 percent of the nation’s livestock producers, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

    When Mr. Vilsack took over the Agriculture Department last year, he began a series of public meetings on the identification program and was bombarded by strident opposition.

    Agriculture officials said that most details of a new system would be worked out in the coming months through consultation with the livestock industry and the states.

    Source: The New York Times, February 5, 2010

    However, the USDA’s announcement raises questions, acccording to Paul Hamby, of Missouri Campaign for Liberty:

    What happens to producers in states where mandatory NAIS is already implemented, such as Wisconsin?

    What happens to producers who were sued, fined or have pending charges in those states?

    Will USDA try to redefine interstate commerce as was done in 1942 with Wickard vs Filburn (

    USDA states new policy will be implemented transparently through federal regulations and the full rulemaking process. Does this mean USDA bureaucrats will again make law for animal ID, subverting power away from Congress or state legislatures?
    USDA Questions and Answers: New Animal Disease Traceability Framework:

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    A couple of comments. Apparently they have a system of sorts in Europe that compliments the NAIS system as originally proposed.

    Nice way to blow a $142 million of your tax money for a dubious end result even if it had of worked.


    Well, it seems the more I wander around the internet the weirder Government Laws are coming into view. My latest discovery is a law in Michigan that was originally proposed to allow Government Officers to go onto family farms and kill any farm animal species they decide is an “invasive species” like heritage hogs.

    Below is the law of 2010. It is insane. If you want to do some serious ivestigation of this you can Google Michigan Invasive Species Act and get up to date. It’s scary.

    Michigan’s Invasive Species Act Targets Family Farms

    Mar 28th, 2012 | By Tim George | Category: Today’s Off The Grid News | Print This Article

    MICHIGAN – The Department of Natural Resources of the state of Michigan is about to impose on farmers the Invasive Species Act, issued in December 2010. That means by April 1, farmers must destroy heritage, or “wild”, breeds of swine or they will be violating the law.

    While many states have much needed laws against introducing non-indigenous animals into the wild, reports that the Michigan statute targets family farms and breeds of pigs normally considered safe and breeds of choice for many restaurants.

    Possession of just a single such animal is now a felony crime in Michigan and punishable by up to four years in prison. State officials say they are prepared to begin destroying targeted pig herds the beginning of April. The likelihood of criminal arrests now looms over dozens of family farms and private hunting ranges.

    Though the pigs listed in the Invasive Species Act have been raised by farmers and ranchers for decades without any negative impact on the environment, it is now a felony to own them. Many small farmers see evidence the legislation is intended to eliminate competition to the conventional pork industry.

    Aaron Butts, Executive Chef at Joseph Decuis, says the same kind of regulation, if enacted in Indiana, would not only hurt farmers, but also the culinary industry. He says if Indiana’s DNR implemented that regulation, Joseph Decuis would have to outsource pork, most likely from confined animal farming operations which are exempt from Michigan’s Invasive Species Order.

    “It’s definitely a big part of what we’re known for. We’re known for quality and how we source our ingredients, and the farm is a huge part of the restaurant. People respect the fact that when they come in they know where their food’s coming from.” Butts said. “I could get a lot of pork for a lot less cost, but it’s not going to be good, and our customers aren’t going to come for that. They’re not going to settle for that.”

    Which Pigs are now illegal?

    Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources issued an official document outlining nine traits of what they are now labeling “feral pigs”. The statute is written in such a way that virtually all types of pigs raised by family ranchers across the state of Michigan are now considered illegal in the state.

    For a pig to be classified as “feral” it only has to have one or more of the following traits:

    Bristle-tip coloration: exhibit bristle tips that are lighter in color (e.g., white, cream, or buff) than the rest of the hair shaft.
    Dark point coloration: exhibits “points” (i.e., distal portions of the snout, ears, legs, and tail) that are dark brown to black in coloration, and lack light-colored tips on the bristles.
    Coat coloration: exhibit a number of coat coloration patterns:solid black, solid red / brown, black and white spotted, black and red / brown spotted.
    Underfur: exhibit the presence of underfur that is lighter in color (e.g., smoke gray to brown) than the overlying dark brown to black bristles/guard hairs.
    Juvenile coat pattern: exhibit striped coat patterns — a light grayish-tan to brown base coat, with a dark brown to black spinal stripe and three to four brown irregular longitudinal stripes with dark margins along the length of the body.
    Skeletal appearance: Structures include skull morphology, dorsal profile, and external body measurements including tail length, head-body length, hind foot length, ear length, snout length, and shoulder height.
    Tail structure: Straight tails.
    Ear structure: Erect ear structure.
    “Other characteristics not currently known to the MDNR that are identified by the scientific community.”
    As with so much in this country these days, the act is being carried out under the guise of “for the good of the people”. Under the cloak of government benevolence, family farmers are about to have their animals destroyed and be arrested on felony charges.

    ©2012 Off the Grid News


    I know I am posting a lot and not getting much fedback but then the whole comments section does not seem as active as I would have expected. Still readership will grow.

    Here is a link to about a 8 minute video of the farmer who is leading the fight against Michigan’s draconian law. It helps to put a face to a fight and this is a good face of an honest man and his family. Also some nice pig pictures.!


    I don’t have the time this morning to write a lengthy post so I would ask you to go to this website to read a comprehensive article about Michigan murdering pigs under a stupid law.


    If you want more indepth understanding of this stupidity then Google Bakers Green Acres Farm which has the most extensive information of how this has affected one family.


    I’ve been reading about these raids, and I sympathize completely. Its a horrible mistake to designate traditional livestock as an invasive species, to forcibly destroy them in this way, these raids are unconstitutional and highly likely criminal. I assume its no misunderstanding or inappropriate legislation, but that the michigan gov is committing this crime on purpose to consolidate the livestock industry.
    The cowardly DNR avoids the dirty work to shoot those pigs themselves, they let the farmers do it under threat of arrest.
    I might consider an act of civil disobedience and get the pigs off my property by offloading them in front of the michigan capitol building to run wild in the streets, let the politicians deal with them.


    While I understand how destructive feral pigs can be in the wild, this is absolutely ridiculous! But what else would you expect from government. A better policy would have been to force branding, and any branded pig found in the wild would put a penalty on the pig owner for its escape.

    When I first started reading this, I didn’t believe it. Until I remembered that locally they are trying to put meters on private wells and charging fees based on gallons used. :sick: They can do that, since they own the water and mineral rights of all land in the state.


    I don’t know too much about the system but it does look like (based on the USDA web site with their notices of proposed rulemaking) the USDA currently is talking about implementing it only for animals moved interstate. That doesn’t get rid of all concerns, of course.

    While I hate to get too political, this is one reason why I think the fight to keep the federal government one of (in Madison’s words) “limited and enumerated powers” is important. As long as the USDA can only address animals moved interstate, we can avoid the regulations. If they start reaching in and saying “no backyard chickens because we want to support industrial food-like substances” then we have a larger issue.

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