Liberty Ark Coalition

Fighting to Stop the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

Action Alert

March 6, 2007

TAKE ACTION: ASK NPR TO DO A STORY ON NAIS

We're starting to get national attention! National Public Radio's (NPR) All Things Considered did an interview about Texas' anti-NAIS rally last Friday. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to edit the story and it was not aired. But their attention is on NAIS, so now's the perfect time to ask them to do a story! Go to www.npr.org/contact/, click on "Recipient: NPR Program" and then choose "All Things Considered." Tell them that, even though the rally is past, NAIS is a hot issue nationally, and one that their listeners want to hear about!

And here's the link for submitting story ideas in general:
www.npr.org/about/pitch/story.html

News coverage of the Friday evening show is here.

STATE UPDATES

The legislative process is moving fast in several states! Below is a summary of what's happened since our last update. Go to the What's Happening in Your State? section on our website, to learn more about each state.

ARKANSAS: HB 1761, the Freedom to Farm Act, has been referred to the House Committee. The bill would bar state and local governments from requiring premises registration, electronic identification, licensing and permits, or reports of sales, "unless a law or rule to the contrary was in effect before January 1, 2007." HB1761 and contact information for the General Assembly can be found here.

ARIZONA: SB 1428 was passed by the Arizona Senate in a 19-10 vote! The bill originally would have barred NAIS completely. It was amended in Committee to bar only a mandatory program, and then amended again on the floor to provide the right to opt-out. Unfortunately, no amendment to bar coercion or discrimination was introduced. So now we'll work to get that protection added as the bill goes through the House. You can read the bill and amendments here.

INDIANA: SB 486, as originally filed and approved by the Senate Committee, would have barred NAIS completely. It was amended on the floor of the Senate to bar only the mandatory animal ID and tracking phases of NAIS. The amended bill (1) allows mandatory premises registration to remain law and (2) does not prevent coercive measures from being used to force people to participate in animal ID and tracking. The amended bill was passed by the full Senate, and will now go to the House. People are urging their Representatives to have the bill amended back to its original form or, at a minimum, to bar mandatory or coercive participation in all three phases of NAIS. You can read the bill and amendments here.

MISSOURI: Five bills are before the Missouri Legislature: HB 422, HB 478, HB 747, SB 428, and SB 538. Last week, SB 428, which would bar any government-run NAIS in Missouri, was approved by the Senate Committee. The House version of the bill, HB 747, has not been scheduled for a hearing yet. HB 478 was approved by the House Committee, although only after being amended to permit a voluntary NAIS (the amended version has not appeared on the legislative website; we are basing that on activist's reports). H.B. 422, which would prohibit any NAIS participation, has not been scheduled for a hearing yet. SB 538, just introduced, is also not yet scheduled for a hearing.

TENNESSEE: Four bills have been introduced to stop NAIS: HB764/SB655, HB977/SB1274, HB978/SB1273, and HB978/SB1272. These bills take a variety of approaches, based on what other states have been introducing. Two other bills have been introduced that would limit NAIS to a voluntary program, but without any protections against coercion: HB899/SB1202 and HB1855/SB1996. On March 6, the House Committee is hearing testimony from a pro-NAIS entity about animal identification, although no bill is scheduled for hearing. You can track the bills here.

TEXAS: HB 461 went to hearing before the House Agriculture Committee. The sponsor of the bill provided a committee substitute version that would not only remove the agency's current authority to make NAIS mandatory, but would also: (1) bar discrimination or coercion; (2) provide full disclosure before anyone is enrolled; and (3) provide the right to withdraw. It's still not an absolute bar, but it is a much stronger bill than before. The Committee left the bill pending, and it now has 48 co-authors, almost 1/3 of the entire House of Representatives! The text of the committee substitute is not yet available online, but it is identical to HB 637, which you can find here.

WASHINGTON: HB 1151, as initially introduced, would have barred any government NAIS in Washington. A committee substitute version replaced all of the original language with provisions for a Livestock Identification Advisory Committee to study the issue for a year, and this version was approved by the House Committee. You can .

As always, if you have questions or concerns, you can of new developments in your state, so we can share that information with other people!

GET YOUR FRIENDS TO SIGN UP TO FIGHT NAIS. SEND THEM THIS LINK: https://libertyark.net/contribute.html

OTHER STATES, COVERED IN THE LAST ALERT

KENTUCKY: On December 15, 2006, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture published proposed regulations that would make NAIS mandatory. In place of the 24-hour reporting requirement in the federal NAIS plans, the proposed Kentucky regulations would require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) for all movements, sales, and exhibitions, with only limited species-specific exceptions. "Exhibition" is defined to mean a "fair, show, exposition, rodeo, competition, or trail ride." "Movement" is defined as "the act of moving, shipping, transporting, delivering, receiving or collecting animals by any means, method, or vehicle by any person for any purpose." These broad definitions mean that almost every time an animal taken off the owners' property, it would need a CVI. By email on February 6, the State Veterinarian's office stated that the proposed regulations had been withdrawn to incorporate some public comments, and would be re-issued at some point in the future.

MASSACHUSETTS: Two related but somewhat differing bills were introduced in Massachusetts. House Docket 1324 provides that the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture shall not take any federal funds for NAIS in FY 2007, shall stop uploading premises registration data to the federal database, and shall arrange for people who have been registered without their consent to be taken out of the database. Senate Docket (SD) 1472 includes these provisions and adds two important provisions: (1) it bars any program of premises registration or livestock animal identification, except for existing disease-specific programs; (2) it prevents discrimination for not participating in NAIS or any substantially similar federal, state, or private program any federal, state, or private program.

MICHIGAN: Under the guise of the tuberculosis program, the Michigan Department of Agriculture is requiring that all cattle be identified with an RFID tag as of March 1, 2007. Efforts are continuing to convince the Governor to step in to stop this program. At least one legislator has also filed a bill request for a bill to stop the NAIS.

OKLAHOMA: HB 1842 initially provided an exemption for premises that sold less than $10,000 in agricultural products. A committee substitute has been filed that would absolutely bar any government NAIS program. Activists are pushing to get the bill set for hearing.

SOUTH DAKOTA: South Dakota already has legislation that authorizes that State vet to implement NAIS on a mandatory basis. A bill was introduced to limit the program to a voluntary program only. At the committee hearing, several legislators who had sponsored the bill changed their position and ultimately voted against it; the bill died in committee.

VIRGINIA: HB 1990 in Virginia initially consisted of just one sentence, barring the state agency from "participat[ing] in or provid[ing] any assistance to the establishment of the National Animal Identification System or any substantially similar program." At a subcommittee hearing on January 23, the legislators agreed to amend the bill to bar only a mandatory program and to allow the agency to remain involved in the USDA discussions on the program. The amended bill died when it reached the full committee.

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