I'm amazed at how vehement the vocal minority can be on some issues. It seems the debate over the Colorado State Fair (CSF) disqualifications has taken yet another shift ("Colorado State Fair Fiasco Tops This Week's Bloopers," Aug. 31 BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly).
Now, apparently the argument is that the small number who did not comply with the CSF rules regarding premises ID were actually confused. They didn't understand what a valid premises ID was, and they were somehow unaware that a premises ID had anything to do with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
First off, with all the hubbub circulating about this rule prior to the CSF, such contentions are almost laughable. It's also interesting that those who didn't understand what a valid premises ID was are almost universally and adamantly opposed to NAIS. But I will accept at face value that all these folks thought their county fairgrounds or their license plate number was actually a valid premises ID.
But that still doesn't change the debate. Even if they misunderstood the rules, the rule was explained to them and they were given the chance to comply, and some chose not to comply. That fact, in and of itself, removes the argument that the rule was misunderstood.
It's an age-old saying that "ignorance of the law excuses no one." If the small fraction of people who didn't follow the rules did so out of ignorance, they were given the chance to remedy it. They chose not to.
Perhaps it makes sense to step back from the NAIS debate and put it in another context. There is another CSF rule that states that all bedding must be purchased from the concessions at the CSF -- no outside bedding is allowed.
I could argue that this is socialistic and in direct opposition to my strongly held, free-market beliefs. I could argue that I didn't understand that shavings were the same as sawdust or straw, and thus I thought they were exempt from the bedding rule.
Still, when confronted with the rule violation, I would still expect CSF to enforce the rules. If I felt so strongly that the CSF bedding rule was wrong, I could pack up my animals and go home.
However, it would make no sense for CSF to pay me handsomely to take my free-market bedding and go home.