Producers argue against mandatory NAIS
How deeply do you care where that hamburger was before it reached your plate?
Congress and agriculture officials are pushing to mandate a national animal ID system they claim would stem livestock disease outbreaks by tagging and tracking every cow, hog and lamb in America — even many of the chickens.
Small farms and consumer groups are outraged that they could be forced into a previously voluntary system that they argue is expensive and increases the power of corporate agriculture.
Federal officials held one in a series of national "listening sessions" last week in Loveland amid warnings from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that a rigorous ID system is vital to winning congressional funding and expanding exports.
"We're all for food safety, let's make that perfectly clear," said Lee Swenson of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, which represents smaller farms and ranches. But national ID "is a new bureaucracy with a significant cost, which has nothing at all to do with disease prevention or food safety."
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