by Scott Smith

I’ve been trying for sometime now to understand the USDA’s NAIS (National Animal Identification System) program. There seem to be a lot of holes in their logic to me and I don’t think that its really been thought through.

Here’s a puzzling piece of logic in the form of a question posed and answered on the NAIS website:

Q. If a Person Raises Animals for His or Her Own Use and the Animals Never Leave the Owner’s Property, Do They Need to be Identified?
A. Under the current plan, animals that never leave a premises do not need to be identified. However, animal owners are encouraged to identify their animals and their premises, regardless of the number of animals present, since many animal diseases may be spread whether an animal leaves its home premises or not. Examples of such diseases include West Nile virus, foot-and-mouth disease, vesicular stomatitus, and equine infectious anemia.

Hmmm. If the point is to track diseases that are being spread by the “commingling” of animals that happens during the transportation of said to feedlots and slaughter houses, why do they need to know that I have livestock at all if I’m not moving it anywhere and no animals are being moved to my property? What good will it do me or the program to register my premises and animals with the NAIS when my animals would only be exposed to disease by means other than commingling? Aren’t I already required to report these diseases if they occur on my property?