Bioethics, politics, public health, public policy, regulations, Uncategorized

Pets, viruses, and Big Brother

The National Animal Identification System is coming out from under the radar (is that almost a pun? Sorry.) At least for those of us involved in our County Republican Conventions – the resolutions are being submitted include opposition to the law.

From the US Department of Agriculture website concerning NAIS:

As part of its ongoing efforts to safeguard U.S. animal health, USDA initiated the implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in 2004. NAIS is a cooperative State-Federal-industry partnership to standardize and expand animal identification programs and practices to all livestock species and poultry. NAIS is being developed through the integration of three components—premises identification, animal identification, and animal tracking. The long-term goal of the NAIS is to provide animal health officials with the capability to identify all livestock and premises that have had direct contact with a disease of concern within 48 hours after discovery.

NAIS is currently a voluntary program. To ensure the participation requirements of NAIS not only provide the results necessary to maintain the health of the national herd but also is a program that is practical for producers and all others involved in production, USDA has adopted a phased-in approach to implementation. Although the draft strategic plan references mandatory requirements in 2008 and beyond, to date no actions have been initiated by USDA to develop regulations to require participation in NAIS. APHIS will publish updates to the implementation plan as recommendations are received and evaluated by the NAIS Subcommittee and the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Foreign Animal and Poultry Diseases.

The law involves implantatin of Radio Frequency Implantable Devices, which is troublesome enough due to all sorts of small government issues as well as recent reports of viruses in the soft ware of these little markers (and denials, as well, from the Global “Association for Automatic Identification and Mobility.” Umhmm. As John Longnecker says, where are *their* chips? Let Congress and all Federal bureaucrats go first).

In addition, or perhaps primarily, the law requires the registration of all “premises” where animals are kept.

Will the regulatory bureaucrats require me to register my koi pond and mark the fish that live in them? Will I be responsible for the raccoons, nutria, squirrels and billions of wild birds, frogs, and snakes that visit?

Where shall I post the certificate of registration? Or will I need another little RFID somewhere on the premises – in my yard and house – notifying Big Brother that I’m in compliance?

I believe that I understand some of the public health – and perhaps, the national security – issues that are behind this law. After all, the Bird Flu Panicdemic (sic, should I tradmark that? Ok, tradmarked) has spread incredibly fast. However, because of all those wild birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals that do exist, it doesn’t seem that just knowing that I have a pet budgie is going to make a whole lot of difference in saving (human) lives.

There is a case to be made for regulation of commercial production and housing of animals. There is a definite concern about transportation of animals and the Feds have the jurisdiction – and duty – to at least be aware of who is moving what.

But they don’t need to know that I have a pet unless there is a “clear and present danger.”

There are very real concerns that genetically modified crops are spreading their (modified) DNA via pollen flying all over the place (cool info, here), with unknown consequences to the future micro- and macro-environment. And with the information last week that our transportation system is not secure, adding layers of markers and permits – and taxes in the form of fees to pay for more bureaucrats and civil servants – is not the first priority I’d pick.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)

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