Browsing Posts tagged judith mcgeary

USDA and Corporate Agribusiness Continue to Push Animal ID Scheme

Consumers and Independent Producers Lose if Big Ag Wins on Animal Traceability

Source: The Cornucopia Institute, Mark Kastel – June 21, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expected to issue its new proposed rule for mandatory animal traceability very shortly. While USDA already has traceability requirements as part of existing animal disease control programs, the proposed framework goes much further to require animal tagging and tracing even absent any active disease threat. The framework has raised significant concerns among family farm and ranch advocates, who criticize the agency for failing to provide a coherent, factual explanation for the new program’s necessity.

“USDA brags about the success of past programs, but has abandoned the principles that made them successful,” argued Bill Bullard of R-CALF USA. “Past programs were based on sound science and were developed in response to the transmission, treatment, and elimination of specific identified diseases. USDA’s new approach is a one-size-fits-all approach that does not specifically aim at the control of livestock diseases.”

The USDA has presented its traceability scheme as an animal health program, but it has also reiterated the importance of the export market to the United States in promoting its new plan. The powerful meatpacking lobby has continued to push for such mandated traceability requirements in order to develop international standards for exports. Critics have suggested this is not in the American public’s best interest, however, since the U.S. is a net importer of beef and cattle and the profits from the export market go to a small handful of massive meatpacking companies.

“Factory farms can easily absorb the added economic burdens, and the meatpacking industry stands to benefit from a marketing standpoint,” asserted Judith McGeary, a livestock farmer and executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. “However, the extra expenses and labor will fall disproportionately on family farmers and ranchers, accelerating the loss of independent businesses to corporate industrial-scale producers.”

“Consumers need the USDA to start focusing on the animal health and food safety risks posed by industrialized meat production,” said Patty Lovera of Food & Water Watch. “If USDA devoted as much energy to preventing animal diseases as it has to promoting animal tracking, our food system would be in much better shape.”

Many cattle organizations agree that tracing breeding-age cattle may be appropriate for efficient disease control, but USDA’s proposal goes far beyond that by calling for the identification of every cow that crosses state lines, including feeder cattle that are processed at a young age. Because of the sheer numbers of feeder cattle, this requirement could unduly burden small ranchers and sales barns and further erode competition in the marketplace.

“The large volume of the animals that USDA proposes to track could overwhelm the capabilities of state agencies, making it impossible to retrieve useful data if there is in fact a disease outbreak,” stated Gilles Stockton, a Montana rancher and member of the Western Organization of Resource Councils.

Additionally, the centuries-old tradition of hot-iron branding cattle would be demoted from an official identification device. “The brand is a part of our ranching heritage and a long accepted method of animal identification,” stated Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont, in a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

A coalition of farm, ranch and consumer groups urges citizens to contact their Congressional representatives and the USDA with their concern that mandatory animal traceability helps only a few giant corporations, at the expense of American family farmers and consumers.

“If Americans don’t want their food supply to cave like the banking and housing industries, it’s time to take action,” stated Mark Kastel of The Cornucopia Institute.- 30-

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Additional contact information:

Judith McGeary, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, 512-484-8821

Bill Bullard, R-CALF USA, 406-252-2516

Patty Lovera, Food & Water Watch, 202-683-2465

Gilles Stockton, Western Organization of Resource Councils, 406-366-4463

The Cornucopia Institute PO Box 126 Cornucopia, WI 54827 www.cornucopia.org

ID Scheme

Note: This interview with attorney Judith McGeary by Alex Jones was aired just before the HR2751 hit the fan. The concern is real. The interview is an educational necessity. All who want and respect clean farm raised food — listen up!!

Killing Off the Small Farm: Alex Jones Talks with Judith McGeary 1/3

Alex also talks with Judith McGeary, the Executive Director of FARFA. McGeary is an attorney and small farmer. She has a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University and her Juris Doctor from the University of Texas at Austin. After a clerkship with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, she practiced as an attorney doing a combination of administrative law, litigation, and appeals. She and her husband live on a small farm outside of Austin. Ms. McGeary talks to Alex about animal ID and the government plan to eliminate small farmers and restrict the healthy food choices of Americans.
http://farmandranchfreedom.org/home
http://www.infowars.com/
http://www.prisonplanet.tv/

Under the earlier plans for NAIS, each animal would have to be identified and physically tagged, in many cases with radio frequency tags or microchips. Factory farms of chickens and swine would be able to identify whole groups of animals with one number, but most regular farmers and individuals would have to identify each animal individually. “Events” in the animal’s life would have to be reported within 24 hours. All of this information will be kept in databases by the state government or private companies, while the federal government will have the right to access the databases as it deems necessary.

Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that it is dropping the original plans for NAIS, Big Ag and Big Tech continue to push for the program at both the federal and state levels.

The NAIS does not distinguish between large corporate factory farms and the smallest family farm, pleasure horse owner, or the grandmother with a few laying hens. The NAIS will drive small and medium-size farmers and ranchers out of business, increasing the consolidation of our food supply into the hands of a few large, multinational corporations. The government is wasting your taxpayer dollars on a program that will lead to increased food prices and decreased quality.

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