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By R-CALF USA President-Elect Chuck Kiker

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HAY MAKER

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R-CALF United Stockgrowers of America

For Immediate Release Contact: Shae Dodson, Communications Coordinator
December 1, 2005 Phone: 406-672-8969; e-mail: [email protected]



Editorial: Animal ID Struggles to Get Back on Track



By R-CALF USA President-Elect Chuck Kiker



(Billings, Mont.) – Finally, an organization has stepped up and taken a leadership role in getting the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) back on track. On Nov. 7, during the U.S. Animal Health Association’s annual convention, USAHA hosted an open meeting to get input on what all species groups thought should be the direction of the NAIS. R-CALF USA applauds USAHA’s effort to bring all animal industry groups together in an unbiased forum. All participants were given ample time to voice their concerns and provide input on the direction their organization felt the NAIS should proceed.



As a result, USAHA adopted a resolution the next day during its convention, which states: “The United States Animal Health Association (USAHA) urges the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services (VS) to implement the animal tracking database for disease surveillance and monitoring as initially outlined in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) plan.”



This plan was developed by the National Identification Development Team, which included stakeholders from all over the country representing over 70 associations, organizations and government agencies that wanted to participate. This group of producers, academia, vendors, and animal health officials spent two years developing a proposal for a producer-driven national animal identification plan.



It has been very frustrating to witness an animal health program being manipulated and maligned by one industry group trying to gain power and control at the expense of the very producers the program was designed to protect. Mike John, NCBA president-elect, recently released an editorial titled “Cattlemen Need Straight Talk on Animal ID” that is a perfect example of what’s causing divisiveness in the cattle industry today.



Mr. John explained that NCBA’s Animal ID Commission is working to move us toward a voluntary, producer-led solution to this issue. First, to imply to cattle producers that the NAIS has any chance of being voluntary is not “straight talk.” The USDA has made it clear that a voluntary program would not achieve the results it desires. The voluntary checkoff program didn’t work; voluntary COOL hasn’t worked; and voluntary animal ID won’t work. USDA has made no secret that the NAIS will be mandatory and has even set a date of 2009 for it to become mandatory.



Second, Mr. John describes a producer-led solution to this issue. The National Identification Development Team was composed of producers from all over the country and in nearly every animal organization. NCBA was well represented in this group of individuals that spent a lot of time and money to participate in developing a “producer driven” National Animal Identification System plan. To throw that work out the window and form its own Animal ID Commission to provide a solution for a workable animal movement database for all species groups, without participation by the entire industry, is not only arrogant, but jeopardizes the success of the NAIS.



R-CALF USA is concerned that no cost analysis has ever been done on the NAIS, and no one can answer the question of how much this is going to cost the entire live cattle industry, let alone the individual producers within the industry. We’ve become even more concerned when Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns announced that the trace-back portion of the system will be privatized and will not be funded by the government. Who’s going to fund it and how much is it going to cost? It is irresponsible for any industry representative to commit its members to a program without first knowing if the program is even economically feasible.



Producers need to understand that once they sell an animal, the information on that animal is no longer theirs. It belongs to the person who owns the animal and that person determines who gets his information on the animal and who doesn’t. It is more than ironic that the same groups who opposed country-of-origin labeling on the grounds that consumers don’t care where their beef is born, raised, and slaughtered are now supporting a National Animal ID system on the grounds that it will enhance marketability because the origins of cattle would be known.



There has been legislation introduced in Congress exempting the NAIS from the Freedom of Information Act. It has gone nowhere because it’s not in the best interest of certain groups with a different agenda. If this legislation is passed, then producer confidentiality is a non-issue.



There is no doubt that in this day and age of international trade and the lowering of our import standards concerning foreign animal disease, the U.S. cattle herd is more susceptible to an animal health crisis. An animal identification system would be invaluable should this occur. USDA and Congress need to realize that if the NAIS is that critical to the health and well being of the U.S. cattle herd, to U.S. consumers, and to commerce, then the NAIS needs to be funded by the government. Furthermore, all stakeholders should have the opportunity to participate in the development and implementation of the NAIS. As long as all interests are given equal consideration, and power and control is not wielded by one or a few groups serving their own self interests, then our industry can live with the outcome of the debate over the NAIS. That’s how democracy is supposed to work. R-CALF USA appreciates USAHA providing a forum for democracy and inviting our organization to participate in the debate over the NAIS.



# # #



R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on domestic and international trade and marketing issues. R-CALF USA, a national, non-profit organization, is dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA’s membership consists primarily of cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and feedlot owners. Its members – over 18,000 strong – are located in 47 states, and the organization has over 60 local and state association affiliates, from both cattle and farm organizations. Various main street businesses are associate members of R-CALF USA. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.
 

Manitoba_Rancher

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Do they have a lie detector there to see who the best liar is ? The motto for R-calf is may the best liar win! :lol: :lol: :wink:
 
A

Anonymous

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It has been very frustrating to witness an animal health program being manipulated and maligned by one industry group trying to gain power and control at the expense of the very producers the program was designed to protect. Mike John, NCBA president-elect, recently released an editorial titled “Cattlemen Need Straight Talk on Animal ID” that is a perfect example of what’s causing divisiveness in the cattle industry today.

ROTFLMAO!

This coming from the hypocrites that banned "M"ID from "M"COOL and recently voted against a national ID program within their organization.

Hahahaha!

How can anyone continue to take anything they say seriously?

One day they don't want to be burdened with traceback and the next day they are singing the praises of a government controlled "M"ID program IMPLEMENTED BY THE SAME ENTITY THAT THEY CLAIM DOES NOT CARE ABOUT FOOD SAFETY.

Hahahaha
Hohohoho
Hehehehe!

Same-o contradictory R-CULT!


~SH~
 

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