Some of Iowa’s small-scale livestock producers oppose the National Animal Identification System, known as NAIS. Several anti-NAIS groups are forming, including the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. One regional leader in the anti-NAIS movement is Charlotte Juett, who raises horses, hens and geese in eastern Nebraska.
Despite what some officials claim, Juett says there’s no way having stricter animal I.D. rules in place could have prevented the recent massive beef recall, which saw 160,000 pounds of meat taken from various Iowa schools and dumped in landfills. She says once the cattle reach the slaughterhouse and the meat from hundreds or a thousand cows have been mixed into hamburger, "you’ve lost any ability to trace where that meat came from."
Juett says NAIS is just the government doing more meddling and "Big Brother" getting bigger. She says what is needed is not NAIS, but COOL, or Country of Origin Labeling, which she says the packers have been fighting against for years. Juett says NAIS would be very difficult for family farmers to comply with and it clearly gives the advantage to large, corporate farms.
She says: "The amount of time it would take for the small producer to handle the tracking and the reporting that would be required by the USDA would be almost insurmountable, although there is a loophole for the big producers in that they can register thousands upon thousands of animals under one number." Juett, who farms near Genoa, Nebraska, says she believes NAIS violates at least four amendments to the U.S. Constitution and she’s appalled at how big government is trying to do anything in its power to railroad it through.
Juett says government money is being poured into the 4-H and F-F-A programs to get children to sign their parents up for the program, otherwise they won’t be allowed to show the animals they’ve raised at the county or state levels. Juett says she’s pleased at the recent signing of a law by Nebraska’s governor that would make all such animal I.D. programs in the state voluntary, not mandatory. Iowa’s beef industry is worth two-and-a-half billion dollars a year.