Billings, Mont. – As promised, R-CALF USA has launched a 12-day blitz of news releases to explain in detail many of the reasons our members oppose the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
With this effort, R-CALF USA hopes to bring to light many of the dangerous aspects associated with NAIS with regard to invasion-of-privacy issues, the likely acceleration of the ongoing exodus of U.S. cattle producers from the industry, as well as other concerns we believe USDA has not even begun to ponder. Click here to view the entire 13-pages of formal comments R-CALF USA submitted to the agency on Aug. 3, 2009, to, yet again, oppose the implementation of NAIS.
In the sixth installment of our NAIS Opposition Blitz, we explain that the very nature of NAIS will facilitate the dissemination of proprietary and confidential information.
* Feedlots, auction yards, and video auctions source their cattle from among the hundreds of thousands of independent cow/calf producers, backgrounders and stockers. These sources of a specific kind and type of cattle are the proprietary information used by feedlots, auction yards and video auctions to maintain competitiveness.
NAIS would require all of these sources to register their property under a “premises registration” scheme, and the contact information for each person who registers under the “premises registration” scheme would be disclosed to NAIS eartag manufacturers.
It is a near certainty that highly concentrated meatpackers will begin collecting NAIS eartags from the kind and type of cattle they prefer and will obtain the sources of those cattle through eartag manufacturers and other means to bypass feedlots, auction yards and video auctions. The packers could then source cattle directly from the cow/calf producers, backgrounders and stockers and place these cattle in their packer-owned feedlots. This would accelerate vertical integration and significantly reduce competition in the U.S. cattle industry.
* There is no statute that expressly protects the confidentiality of information collected under NAIS. Though a U.S. district court has found that a certain person was not authorized to access NAIS information, other persons may well be entitled to access. Potentially, any deep-pocketed meatpacker could access the confidential NAIS database through the U.S. judicial system by alleging, for example, improper origin identification for country-of-origin labeling compliance, or alleging that livestock were adulterated.
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R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. R-CALF USA represents thousands of U.S. cattle producers on trade and marketin! g issues. Members are located across 47 states and are primarily cow/calf operators, cattle backgrounders, and/or feedlot owners. R-CALF USA directors and committee chairs are extremely active unpaid volunteers. R-CALF USA has dozens of affiliate organizations and various main-street businesses are associate members. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or, call 406-252-2516.