Liberty Ark Coalition

Fighting to Stop the National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

Tennessee Legislature Online
Tennessee Department of Agriculture


Liberty Ark State Coordinator

Liberty Ark Supporters in Tennessee

Three new bills introduced to protect farmers

Last year's bills to limit NAIS to a voluntary program remain pending in the Tennessee Legislature. Because of the loopholes in those bills that were pushed through by the industrial agriculture groups, Representative Niceley and Senator Burchett have introduced two new bills.

HB 3668/SB3903 provides: "Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, any person engaged in farm operations who does not receive state or federal farm subsidies or related funds and does not participate in state or federal agriculture programs for the receipt of such subsidies or funds shall not be required to participate in any national animal identification program."

HB 3660/SB 3438 is similar but broader, exempting such farmers from "any rules or regulations promulgated by the state or the federal government."

Another bill would address the problems with farmers being charged sales tax on purchases. HB 3662/SB 3437 would broadens the exemption from retailer sales tax on personal property for qualified farmers and nurserymen, and states: "The person is the owner or lessee of agricultural land from which fifty dollars ($50) or more of agricultural products were produced during the year, including payments from governmental sources." The current requirement is that the farmer produce $1,000 or more, so this would be a significant improvement!

Take Action

No hearing has been set yet. But it is never to early to start educating your elected officials.

To find your legislator, click here, click on "Senate," then "Members," and then "Find your legislator." Repeat the process for the House.

Ask to speak to the staffer who handles agricultural issues. Have a discussion -- ask them what they already know about NAIS, explain your objections to it, and respond to the issues they bring up. Stay in touch through email after the phone call, so that they know you really care about this issue.

Talking Points on HB 3668 / SB 3903

  • NAIS should be stopped completely because it is a bad program for all Tennessee citizens. [talk with them about some of the reasons listed below]
  • HB 3668 and SB 3903 are a partial solution that should be very simple. If someone does not take government funds, why should they be forced into a regulatory program that has high costs and is likely to drive them out of business?
    • Neither the USDA nor the state agency have provided any scientific basis for their claims that NAIS will improve the public health.
    • The program is for the benefit of large entities, at the cost of small farmers, homesteaders, and hobby animal owners.
  • NAIS will hurt Tennessee's economy:
    • There has been no cost analysis
    • Costs of the program include the cost of the tags, hardware, software, time and labor
    • Many small farmer and ranchers cannot afford these costs
    • Service providers (veterinarians, feed stores, auction houses, meat processors, etc.) will be harmed when the farmers and ranchers go out of business.
    • Remaining farmers will pass the costs on to consumers, lowering demand for local foods
    • By imposing unnecessary costs, NAIS will fuel inflation.
  • Neither the USDA nor the state agency has scientific proof show that NAIS will improve disease control:
    • It does not address the cause, treatment, or transmission of disease, in domestic or wild animals.
    • It does not significantly improve on current methods for identification and tracking of disease.
  • NAIS will not improve food safety
    • USDA itself has stated that this is not a food safety program
    • Contamination of food with e. coli and other bacteria occurs at the slaughterhouse or afterwards, while NAIS will stop before that point.
  • NAIS will not protect against terrorism.
    • The microchips chosen by the state can be cloned, destroyed, or infected with computer viruses, and reprogrammed. Any terrorist or thief can use this.
    • The database of information held by the government and private industry will provide a target for hackers.
  • NAIS infringes on people’s constitutional rights, including due process, privacy, and religious freedom.
  • NAIS unfairly burdens pet owners and people who raise food for themselves.
  • USDA states that NAIS is voluntary at the federal level, so there is no “federal mandate” requiring Tennessee to implement this program

Action Alert:

Tennessee House Committee on Agriculture Hearing - April 10, 2007
April 9, 2007

Testimony on NAIS being given at a hearing before the
Tennessee House Agriculture Committee - March 6, 2007
March 1, 2007

Summary as of 2/22/07

Four bills have been introduced to stop NAIS: HB-764, HB-977, HB978, and one not-yet-numbered. These bills take a variety of approaches, based on what other states have been introducing.


No statute or regulations implementing NAIS. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture is requiring premises registration as a condition of various farm assistance programs.

Grassroots activity:

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance - Tennessee Chapter is holding informational meetings and arranging press coverage.

Political activity:

Representative Frank Nicely has committed to introducing legislation to oppose NAIS. At the federal level, Congressman Duncan is committed to stopping funding for NAIS.

Nothing herein is intended as legal advice. Legal advice can only be given by a lawyer licensed to practice in your state, who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of your individual situation.

The information below is current as of April 20, 2006. While every effort has been made to assure accuracy, readers should confirm the information by examining the relevant state statutes and rules.

A bill has been introduced to prohibit use of any state funds to implement NAIS. The bill remains in committee. (HB3297; SB3258.)

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