Greiner replies to posting: “How RFID Affects Religious Beliefs”
I feel obligated to respond to your Sept. 15 posting about Indiana’s premise identification program, because some of the information is incorrect. I’m sure you do not want to misinform your web-viewers, so I thought I’d pass along some accurate information.
First, while the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is a three-phase program, Indiana has passed a legal requirement only for Phase 1, or premise identification. Phases Two and Three (animal ID and animal tracking) are not part of Indiana’s law, nor are they required. Animal owners may choose to participate in those programs if they wish. This includes any requirement for RFID chips.
Second, RFID is not the only option for producers to tag their animals. Those who are concerned about issues related to the use of electronic interfaces have alternatives from which to choose to accommodate their needs and beliefs.
Third, this is not the first state or federal program that involves tagging of animals. Many Amish producers-as well as others-have tagged their swine for pseudorabies, cattle for brucellosis and sheep for scrapie for decades. NAIS has been introduced in an era of more technology options, which has shifted some of the discussion to electronic tagging and tracking. But, again, this is still a voluntary part of the program.
Fourth, the $1000 per day penalty rumor is still floating around. The document from which you pulled that quote is intended to counter rumors with the facts. The fact is: September 1 has come and gone, and BOAH has not started any action to fine anyone for noncompliance. Instead, our staff is working diligently to help producers register in the program and do what is best for Indiana agriculture.
Fifth, to assert or imply, even via a third-party quote, that “it’s just a matter of time before they put them in people” is irresponsible. We’ve heard from many members of the Amish community who are very sensitive to this issue. People are not part of this program. BOAH has no such authority-nor do we seek it. We need to keep information about this program focused on what is important and what it really stands for: BOAH is working to modernize a century-old system of tracing animals in an animal disease situation. PremiseID provides us a 911-like system for our livestock operations to help us, as the agency responsible for animal health in this state, to respond quickly and efficiently. Only when we can do that will we be able to preserve Hoosiers’ investment in animal agriculture.
If you have questions about this program or any of its finer points, I’m happy to answer them.
Jennifer L. Greiner, DVM
ID Programs Director
Indiana State Board of Animal Health