From Beef Stocker News
The road toward the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is getting even gooier. In the last issue of BEEF Stocker Trends (Nov. 14) we told you about the resolution passed by the U.S. Animal Health Association aimed at encouraging USDA to stick with the public animal movement database it had specified originally. Now, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is asking the General Accountability Office (GAO) to examine USDA’s plans for NAIS. “Animal diseases have huge potential to disrupt America’s food production and distribution system, turning livestock and poultry markets on their head,” Harkin says. “After two years of discussions, USDA has no clear plan for moving forward with a workable system. Producers are getting upset that they still don’t know how much the system will cost them and who will run it.” Harkin wrote to Ag Secretary Mike Johanns in October, urging that USDA inform producers about the potential costs of the system to their operations. Harkin also asked USDA to justify its decision to privatize the NAIS animal movement database. “This GAO report will shed needed light on how USDA is developing the animal ID system. USDA has spent many hours and a lot of money developing an animal tracking database. Then, without seeking needed input from all sectors of the livestock and poultry industry, USDA scrapped the original plan and now wants the database kept by a private entity,” Harkin says.