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Cattle Producers of Washington

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Feb 13, 2005
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Cattle Producers of Washington (CPOW)

Press Release

For Immediate Release - September 5, 2005

Contact: Lee Engelhardt, President 509.766.0161

CPOW Opposed to Privatizing Animal I.D.

Moses Lake, WA ~ Cattle Producers of Washington (CPOW) announced today its opposition to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns' announcement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) support for privatizing the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

The following statement should be attributed to Lee Engelhardt, CPOW President.

"While Secretary Johanns stopped short of appointing the private contractor for NAIS, it has been obvious for some time that the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has been working diligently to become the national repository for livestock identification information. This information is a sensitive responsibility and should not be entrusted to privately held entities or organizations. Producers need to understand what the exact costs of the program will be, and they need to be assured of absolute confidentiality. What USDA is endorsing is the wrong choice and leaves producers open to abuse and harm."

"NCBA is a political lobbying organization that endorses candidates and has political motivations. NCBA is the majority contractor for the $80 million in beef checkoff funds annually. The organization does not need another producer-funded welfare program. Only about three percent of U.S. cattle producers belong to NCBA. Fifty-five percent of NCBA's membership is concentrated in just five states."

"NCBA has touted the fact that its private sector animal identification program was structured by a 'consortium'. That consortium answers directly to the NCBA board of directors. NCBA's consortium is not a broad representation of U.S. cattle producers. It is merely a reflection of NCBA which has a proven track-record of opposing grassroots producers on nearly every critical issue. A true consortium would have included all cattle groups at every level. Many were excluded."

"Implementation and control of NAIS belongs at the state level. State animal health officials already have mechanisms in place to identify and track livestock in the event of a disease outbreak, reducing costs to producers and providing for the best confidentiality and accountability processes available."

"There are far too many unanswered questions about the NAIS program. Core issues of economic impact, trust and confidentiality remain unclear. There has been no move to incorporate mandatory country of origin labeling into the NAIS system. CPOW will remain vigilant with regard to this issue and we'll work to keep producers abreast of developments."

Cattle Producers of Washington is a grassroots organization pledging to sustain, improve and protect Washington State's live cattle industry, it's heritage, livelihood and rights - property or otherwise - from infringement under local, state and federal laws; to address the market interests of Washington live cattle producers; and promote the Western heritage of ranching and farming for present and future generations of Washington live cattle producers. CPOW is Washington State's fastest growing cattlemen's organization. Annual membership dues are $50. Voting members must own cattle. To join call CPOW at 509.246.1618.

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