Plans for a system that would require tagging or implanting all farm animals with radio frequency devices and registering those animals with a federal government tracking system have been delayed until after 2009, the USDA announced last week. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has been gaining support in the corporate agribusiness world, supposedly as a method for sourcing the origins of Mad Cow disease or possible terrorist biological attacks on the nation's livestock. Opponents point out the plan was drawn up by corporate behemoths like Monsanto and would require every owner of even a single animal to register their home with a national tracking system, including Global Positing Coordinates (for satellite tracking) and implant or tag every animal with a radio frequency device (RFID).
Large-scale livestock producers say NAIS would help them control an outbreak of disease by allowing individual animals to be tracked to their origins. Small-scale farmers say the registration fees, RFID expenses and administrative bureaucracy of the system would drive them out of business. The USDA announced a delay in the launch of the program last week, based on disputes in the cattle industry over who gets control of the overall database. The OCA is in the process of building an online NAIS information and action center to help citizens educate themselves and offer feedback to the USDA on the NAIS issue.
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