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From the USDA website regarding Missouri's plans for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS):
"The Missouri Department of Agriculture plans to use the cooperative agreement funds received from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in August 2004 to begin its animal identification plan in earnest. Missouri's multi-species animal identification program covers the entire State.
Phase One of the program will involve the premises registration-utilizing the Standardized Premises Registration System offered by USDA-of over 100,000 locations and other non-producer participants. To accomplish this objective, Missouri officials will put equipment and personnel in place to facilitate cooperation and streamline the registration process between these entities, Missouri's Division of Animal Health, and USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. Additionally, stakeholder education will continue with meetings, publications, and web-based information throughout this initial phase. The goal for Phase One is to have 70 percent of premises reporting by the end of the first year.
Stakeholder organizations such as farm organizations, breed and production organizations, marketing institutions, retailers, and others have been or are currently being contacted in order to further leverage resources in the implementation effort. As these groups communicate the intentions of the plan, a database of premises information will be built, which will allow Phase Two of the program-the identification and movement reporting of animals-to proceed."
WHEREAS, we the undersigned Missouri residents believe the proposed Missouri premises identification regulations as they relate to animal ownership and subsequent animal identification and tracking will unduly burden the family farm, hobby farm, small producer, and 4-H and FFA participant, both fiscally and physically; and
WHEREAS, we believe the animal movements by such owners are already easily traceable through livestock show records, veterinary health certificates, the Scrapie eradication program and sales to end consumers; and
WHEREAS, the USDA National Animal Identification System is neither finalized nor mandatory and is, in fact, undergoing revision; and
WHEREAS, we believe such programs constitute an invasion of personal privacy and such large-scale, computer- and satellite-aided surveillance is unprecedented in this state and country; and
WHEREAS, we believe true food security arises from individual food production or purchases from local farmers; and
WHEREAS, such a program will only serve to benefit corporations and industrial-scale animal production and those in the business of export; and
WHEREAS, such a program places a burden on religious freedom by mandating compliance among those of plain faiths and others who object to government surveillance and control of private property for religious reasons;
NOW, THEREFORE, WE REQUEST the Missouri Department of Animal Health and Missouri Legislature clarify the law to include the following:
The Missouri program should be immediately placed on hold or remain voluntary until such time as the national plan has been approved, finalized and deemed mandatory; and
Exemptions should be granted for the above-named individuals, for animals raised for private consumption, and on the basis of species (small ruminants tracked through the Scrapie eradication program, backyard poultry) and numbers of animals; and
Existing forms of animal identification should be accepted, i.e., registry tattoos, scrapie identification tags, etc.
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