Browsing Posts tagged ADT

ADT ~~ ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY
On February 5, 2010, USDA Sec. of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that the opposition was so great, the ill-fated NAIS brain child of the US government was now ended.  The cost, complications, record keeping time, and potential enforcement fines made the whole thing stink to ranchers of the USA.  In listening sessions held to “hear the voice of the people” it had unearthed over 90% opposition to NAIS from cattle people.
For a period of time February, ranchers relaxed.  Many were still skeptical, and rightfully so.
The battle was extremely lopsided. USDA had millions of dollars of taxpayer money — over $140 million to be precise — to develop and promote NAIS and to persuade state departments of agriculture and cattle industry trade associations to recruit as many independent cattle producers as possible into the unwanted NAIS program.
To not labor-on with this continuing burden of government versus people, NAIS is back, now called Animal Disease Traceability  (ADT) and with the same diminutive text – government gobbledygook.  With more federal and state veterinarians than any time in history and less livestock disease — those hired to terminate disease, have minimal disease to terminate.  Cattle numbers are reducing and government employees are increasing.
The other talking point for ADT is US exports.  Well, go jump in the lake!  The USA hasn’t produced enough beef to feed the nation in 40 years and the amount being produced is declining.  Yet, as the USA imported 16% of their beef last year, ADT, somehow needs to become mandatory to increase exports.  It doesn’t take a Bernie Madoff to find a chuckle in that concept.
Today the same names and faces are still employed by USDA to hammer mandatory ADT that tried to toilet-plunge NAIS down the throat of livestock owners.  Who is at the head, promoting animal electronic numbering, and has been for over a dozen years, but Neil Hammerschmidt himself. His crew of government job creators are mostly the same as the NAIS crew of the past 10 years. Veterinarian associations are promoting ADT because they know it will create “paper” jobs for veterinarians.
To inform one and all, the USDA has created 29 small print pages in the Federal Register interpreting the warmed-over ADT.  It has the government style verbiage designed to bore the attempted reader to tears with the large print “giving” and the small “print taking away,” but in reality there is no large print.
It indicates that each state has some right to fine tune their own rules, but now, as we understand how Hammerschmidt works, they historically have given federal grants to each state paying them not to cut the livestock producers any slack.  One by one the federales will buy-off states to the point each one is slapped into submission.  That is the modern way politicians get the taxes they want — divide and conquer.
The new program ends the authority of the hot iron brand, respected as the only historic prevention of cattle rustling.  ADT erroneously thinks removable ear pins and tags will replace brands, and bet the kitchen sink, every good cattle rustler is loving that idea.
Once again your tax dollars are working to employ fingers and eyes behind computer screens to think up enforcements for a world they have never lived or even walked through.  The suits and white shirts walk the marble halls of government full of ideas unprovable, unaffordable and appalling to real world livestock people!
So read it if you can stand the extension of meaningless wordy words at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/downloads/2011/Proposed%20Rule.pdf

When you are tiring of holding your nose you may submit comments to

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go tohttp://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0091-0001.

Or write APHIS–2009–0091, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737–1238.

The deadline for comment is December 9.

In Zanesville, Ohio, Sec. Vilsack held a political meeting and allowed questions.  He was asked, “With over 90% of livestock producers opposed to NAIS in the listening sessions, how large would the percentage have to be to abandon the whole thing?”  Answer political mumble, mumble………    Could it be 95% for ADT?  Send in your opposition today and encourage others to quickly comment.  Thanks for helping protect the US cattle producer from useless enforcements.

Letter to the Editor

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) started a no-win war for the USDA. On February 5, 2010, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced that NAIS was flawed and would be terminated, never to return. Now, and even when it was announced as dead, a new-name, Animal Disease Traceability Program is full throttle. ADT is a clone sister to NAIS!

Dislike for the old NAIS program has multiplied daily by clans of all flavors.

It is easy to quote the bad results of the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) of Australia, the total costs on livestock producers, enforcement fees, and serious concerns about individual property rights.

As USDA marches stone-faced onward for 100% compliance on the repackaged, ADT, livestock producers strapped for cash fear the worst.

A prime selling point by USDA is the importance to move fast in case of an outbreak of some new foreign or unknown livestock disease. At first blush it sounds compassionate, until facts reveal that the industry already has a major epidemic on US dairy farms, and the USDA has proven for years to have little concern to stop it. Is there a tunip truck-load of hypocrisy showing between the lines?

The Disease USDA Refuses to Trace.

In 2004 the USDA estimated the Johne’s infection rate to be at 20%. Today, reliable estimates reveal over 60% of the nation’s dairy herds are comingled with Johne’s positive cows, a 300% increase in only four years, but the USDA doesn’t feel this is a problem. The USDA appears comfortable with this major epidemic, and has no plan for acceleration about the problem. The USDA estimates an annual financial loss as a result of Johne’s in dairy herds to be $200,000,000. For one year the Johne’s loss is nearly as much as USDA has invested in grants promoting NAIS. This annual loss is more than 1000% over the eradication costs of the US Avian Influenza fiasco, a statistic USDA tossed out to tout the serious need of an NAIS mandatory system.

USDA is not totally avoiding Johne’s. A token budget is allocated for research, public awareness and press releases on how to manage a dairy with Johne’s. The amount of that budget was reduced in the recent Farm Bill — now it is just peanuts!

If the USDA is concerned about (any) disease, why aren’t they shaking their fist at Johne’s? Sometimes USDA pays less attention to animal diseases that do not effect human health. Perhaps that is not so — reliable information connects Johne’s with the human disease, Crohn’s. Crohn’s Disease, virtually unheard of a few years ago, is on the rise. Today, up to two million US citizens are infected. Crohn’s Disease can be diagnosed in children, who will suffer a life of pain. The stark similarities of each disease causes knowledgeable scientist to be certain that once bovine Johne’s is eliminated, the same process can be effective to solve the human coequal.

How to Spot a Problem?

The signs of Johne’s Disease in cattle are closely related to Crohn’s Disease in humans:

  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Cramps and pains in stomach
  • Feces blood
  • No stamina
  • Internal bleeding
  • No appetite, fever
  • Intestine Obstructions
  • Internal pain and abscesses

There is no known cure for Johne’s or Crohn’s. Some medical assistance is available for people.

Johne’s signs of death in cattle is a slow withering away of all body condition in the final stages.

Where does Johne’s Come From?

Johne’s is contracted by ingesting feces from infected animals. Animals who are raised on clean grass pastures seldom get infected. Dairy herds are often contained with beef cattle herds to provide a more diverse farm income. Many beef herds with Johne’s have traced their infected stock back to dairy raised purchases. Today Johne’s is found in beef herds, yet with much lower percentages than dairies. It is rapidly consuming highly productive dairy cows.

If the USDA and corporate proponents of the old NAIS felt disease was important, they’d at least exhibit a good faith effort about Johne’s. The most costly disease of our generation has the USDA urgency of watching paint dry. USDA’s rubber neck avoidance of Johne’s shows one of the most shameful milk-toast approaches to disease eradication in USDA history.

What is the answer?

Like other diseases, only two things are needed to permanently deal with Johne’s, one fool-proof vaccination and one fool-proof negative/positive test method. At this time neither appear to be a consideration much less a priority to USDA. USDA is totally consumed in promoting NAIS, or now ADT.

Tracing Infected Herds?

Is locating infected herds a problem with Johne’s? If it was announced that a vaccine and a valid test method has been developed, cattle owners would stampede to use it. USDA will not have any problem locating herds. The owners of infected cattle are always the first to be concerned and promptly deal with health issues. If USDA does their job, the concern of premises location is a mute point, and always has been.

As long as USDA procrastinates on a good-faith attempt to deal with Johne’s disease, anything they say about their “come hell or high water” new ADT enforcement is totally and completely bogus! It will be impossible to convince livestock producers that the new ADT enforcement will do a “gnats bristle” of good to eliminate disease when Johne’s is not considered a priority USDA issue.

Until USDA can get their priorities straight, producers should not believe USDA will do better tracing disease with the quackery of a costly ADT enforcement.

More info: www.naisinfocentral.net, www.naisSTINKS.com, www.libertyark.net, and www.FarmAndRanchFreedom.org.

Quotes and data provided by USDA, Gary McEntyre DVM, NAFAW, Countryside, Peggy Steward, Dr. Max Thornsberry, Brad Headtel, Jerri, Darol Dickinson, and Jim Silwa. Thank you for contributing.

Editorial comment: Although over 90% of cattle producers have violently opposed NAIS and all forms of mandatory Animal ID, USDA now renames NAIS and calls it ANIMAL DISEASE TRACEABILITY (ADT) and the staff of USDA is “on the road again” promoting Animal ID. It appears that the wishes of the producers are just picayune insects in the USDA ointment.

In this newly packaged ADT effort, it looks like more meetings, more listening sessions and more “transparent” comment periods.

Can someone kindly send Sec. Vilsack a hearing aide? DD


APHIS holds public meeting to discuss animal traceability

Round two in the struggle to develop an animal identification system or traceability program in this country has begun. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service held a public meeting in Kansas City, Mo., May 11 to discuss the new framework for animal disease traceability.

ANIMAL TRACEABILITY--The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) held a public meeting in Kansas City, Mo., on May 11 to discuss the new framework for a rule on animal disease traceability. Becky Brewer-Walker, Oklahoma state veterinarian, outlined the new traceability framework and the proposed performance statdards. (Journal photo by Doug Rich.)

On Feb. 5, USDA announced that it would revise the prior animal identification policy and offer a new approach to achieving animal disease traceability. USDA held a listening tour to get feedback on the National Animal Identification System and discovered that while some people were in favor of the national system, most people were highly critical of the system. Confidentiality, liability, cost, privacy, and religion were among the concerns about NAIS.

After that listening tour, USDA decided to move forward with a new animal disease traceability framework. In March, APHIS met with representatives from the Tribal Nations and in May began a series of hearings across the country to meet with industry representatives. USDA will also re-establish a Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Animal Health with representatives from states, Tribal Nations, industry groups, local farms, organic farmers, and underserved communities to assist in evaluating animal disease traceability.

A working group has been formed to draft the framework of a rule whereby states and tribes will be responsible for their animal disease traceability programs. The objective of the working group is to draft the framework of a proposed rule that will give states and tribes the responsibility for their animal disease traceability programs and direct interstate livestock movement through compliance with performance standards. The working group includes state veterinarians and representatives from the Tribal Nations. Becky Brewer-Walker, Oklahoma State Veterinarian, said there are some very basic and important differences between NAIS and the new framework.

“One difference is that information will be held at the state level,” Brewer-Walker said. “Secondly we will go with low cost, low technology. We will start on the low end and not on the high end with more expensive, more difficult technology.”

Basically, the proposed animal disease traceability program will only apply to animals moving interstate; it will build upon what has been successful such as the brucellosis and scrapie programs; the priority will be cattle; it will be cost effective by using basic identification tags like the nine-character “brite” tags; and it will progress over time and allow for advanced technology.

“I think the keys are starting slower, low tech, low cost, and keeping it at the state level,” Brewer-Walker said.

Brewer-Walker said she is adamant that the national system stay in place for those people who have already bought into that system or who are already involved in a value-added program. She said each state would have the ability to decide what information it needs to maintain in order to find an animal in case of a disease outbreak.

APHIS hopes to publish a proposed rule by the winter of 2010 followed by a 90-day comment period. A final rule will be published eight to 10 months after the close of the comment period. Some requirements, such as animal ID and traceability performance standards, may be phased in over time, following publication of the final rule.

In addition to the public meeting held in Kansas City on May 11, a public meeting was held in Riverdale, Md., and on May 17 at the Crowne Plaza Denver International Airport, Denver, Colo.

By: Doreen Hannes

Doreen HannesBio

Doreen Hannes is the Director of Research for the National
Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA)
and is dedicated to weeding through the lies, half truths, and mis- and disinformation to
help people to understand the methods and propaganda being used to manipulate us….and to dig for the truth. As -civil-ization is predicated upon agriculture, the goal of those who would be our masters is to control the land, control the food, and thereby control the people….otherwise known as the global implementation of  Agenda 21. If we lose our ability to feed ourselves, we will not be able to fight against anything else. Doreen blogs at Truth
Farmer
and you can listen to her radio show, Truth Farmer, at Liberty News Radio and read her articles at News with Views.

On May 11th, the USDA held the first of three public meetings on their “New
NAIS” program “Animal Disease Traceability”. The meeting began
at 8am with three power point presentations. California State Veterinarian,
Dr. Richard Breitmeyer gave the first presentation. This was the same presentation
he gave at the mid-March NIAA (National Institute of Animal Agriculture) meeting,
also held in Kansas City.

A little history is in order to understand the progression of this idea
for animal traceability. In the US, the first notable plan for identifying
animals was the NFAIP, along with FAIR, those being the National Farm Animal
Identification Program and Farm Animal Identification and Records. Then under
the Bush Administration there was the United States Animal Identification
Plan, with the NAIS, National Animal Identification System hot on it’s heels.
Now, they have “killed” NAIS, but are moving forward with the Animal
Disease Traceability plan, the ADT. The main difference here is that the USDA
is going to make a rule on the ADT to prescribe the “performance standards” for
traceability that the states MUST meet to engage in interstate commerce with
the ADT.

Breitmeyer’s presentation focused on the difficulties around tracing the
contacts of tubercular (and suspect) cattle in the state of California and
other states without the aid of an interoperable database covering all animals
and all movements. According to his presentation, the state of California
has approximately 57,500 known live cattle imports from Mexico per year. This
is significant in that more than 75% of all tuberculosis in cattle is of Mexican
origin. Breitmeyer lamented that when he began as a vet 25 years ago, the
US had nearly eliminated TB except for in small areas of northern Michigan
and northern Minnesota where the soil make up continues to keep TB in the
wildlife and therefore occasionally in cattle. Breitmeyer’s presentation was
actually quite a good illustration of many of the failed policies of the USDA
in disease control, the lack of quarantine at the borders chief among them.
Of course, he is a proponent of a NAIS style system because having all that
data available would make his job easier…At least on paper.

The second presentation was given by a very soft-spoken APHIS/VS (Veternary
Services) representative, Dr. TJ Mayer. He stressed that the “theme” for
the development of the “new” program is “collaboration”.
Those to be affected must be involved in the process of developing the solution
for the lack of traceability that now exists— particularly in cattle. Cattle
are the primary focus for this new plan, and the methodology for bringing
cattle to 95% traceability back to the point of identification in 2 business
days is dependent on “collaboration” in developing the processes
in our states. (Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?) Mayer also illustrated that
the desired traceability would be implemented gradually through partnerships
of stakeholders and building upon the requirements outlined in the rule that
is to be developed for criteria that states must meet for interstate commerce.

The third presentation was by Becky Brewer (Oklahoma State Vet) and the
apparent lead member of the newly established “Regulatory Working Group”.
Dr. Brewer related the thinking of the Regulatory Working Group on the measurable
outcomes of the ‘traceability’ standards to arrive at 95% of “all” animals
traced back to the ‘traceability unit’ within 2 business days. Sounds just
like the NAIS Business Plan, doesn’t it? Brewer stated, “In government
speak, “all” doesn’t mean all.” This may explain why the USDA
kept insisting that when opponents of NAIS cited documents verbatim, we were “spreading
misinformation”. Evidently the English language is a linguistic and statistical
anomaly in the hands and mouths of bureaucrats.

There were no question and answer sessions after the presentations. Instead
every table was given a USDA facilitator and three segments of questions to
answer regarding how we might achieve the desired outcome of getting animals
id’d back to the ‘traceability unit’ within their timeframes. The tables were
marked with species placards and there were at least five cattle tables, three
swine, two poultry, one sheep and goat, and one “other species”.

When I entered the room I noticed that Kenny Fox of R CALF USA was at a
cattle table and I failed to notice the “other species” table so
I sat at the sheep and goat table. There were no people at the poultry tables.
The cattle tables were quite full, and all of the reporters were sitting at
the ‘other species’ table, so I thought I would just sit at the empty sheep
and goat table.

When the facilitating began, I was blessed with three USDA representatives
at my table, where all the other tables only had one. I shared the table with
one sheep broker from New Mexico. He deals in 20 to 30,000 head of sheep annually
mostly exported to Mexico and was quite content with the Scrapie program.
This program identifies breeding animals back to the flock of origin with
a number assigned to the flock manager and not the land the animals are held
on. It also allows for tattoos as an alternate form of official id for interstate
commerce, and does not use RFID tags, although it could in the future.

The USDA representatives at my table were not particularly interested in
hearing about how the failed agricultural policies have created a problem
that the USDA would now like all of us to ‘partner’ with them to solve. They
did take copious notes, and were quite proficient in ‘mirroring’ my statements
while slightly adjusting them to fit their desired outcome more handily.

At the end of each of the three segments, a representative from each table
stood and gave the ‘report’ from the table on that segment. The consensus
of the cattle groups were that only breeders should be identified, RFID tags
should be avoided, back tags should continue to be used for feeders and slaughter
cows, and a NAIS styled system would not work at all.

The USDA is currently promoting the use of ‘bright’ tags for cattle. These
are very similar to brucellosis tags in numbering and appearance. However,
when the only question and answer segment of the day took place and Neil Hammerschmidt
(one of the main authors of NAIS) gave most of the answers, he made it clear
that the USDA still wants to ‘aggressively’ pursue the use of 840 tags.

The bottom line about the entire meeting is that the USDA will try to have
a draft rule ready in June from the “Regulatory Working Group”.
This rule will define the “performance standards” that are to be
met by the states to engage in interstate commerce. The USDA plans to publish
this proposed rule in November or December of 2010, allow a 90-day comment
period, and finalize the rule (make it law) from 8-10 months after the comment
period is complete. There may be different requirements under these performance
standards by species, and some potentially exempted sectors or movements.
There is admitted concern from the USDA and their friends that incentives
and disincentives for states must be expressed clearly and not be too “heavy
handed”. In other words, if a state meets compliance levels in hogs and
not cattle, the hogs should not be refused access to interstate commerce.

It appears to me that we must proactively engage our state legislators
to statutorily define requirements for interstate livestock movement and not
allow the Departments of Agriculture the leeway to cooperate with the USDA
to achieve the goals of the USDA as those goals are still NAIS oriented. The
USDA will not dismantle the National Premises Repository although Hammerschmidt
stated that if a state were to want to withdraw all of their participants,
they could do so. Also, according to Hammerschmidt, they still want to move
‘aggressively’ to 840 tags as official identification along with electronic
Certificates of Veterinary Inspection.

The onus of implementing the graduated Animal Disease Traceability program
rests squarely on the individual states. Either the states will define those
standards statutorily or the USDA will bring about their final desires incrementally
through the regulatory process.

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