RECEIVES FORCED PREMISE ID
Written by Bonnie Jameson, private citizen and mother
Webbers Falls OK
Speech given by Bonnie Jameson, Monday, March 12, 2007
on steps of Oklahoma Capital Building, Oklahoma City
What in the world is this?
(show ID card)
An OKLAHOMA NAIS PREMISE ID CARD………….
Issued to my 15 year old daughter…….
A white plastic card and a small paper that says,
“Enclosed is your NAIS Premise ID Card………….
This card has been printed in response to the completion of your premise registration application, and serves as a courtesy reminder
of your premise ID number.
you for participating in the OK voluntary premise registration program.
If this card is lost or stolen, please
contact ODAFF at (405) 522-6129.”
I asked our daughter when she had signed up for the premise ID………
she didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. The only “animal
thingy” she had signed was the entry form for the upcoming FFA livestock show.
My husband, who had the privilege of chauffeuring our daughter and her goat
to school that day, didn’t recall anything about a premise ID card either.
Since this our daughter’s first year in the Webbers Falls High School
I requested more information from her FFA ag teacher, Joe Osborne. Mr. Osborne
told her it was mandatory and she had to have that card to show her goat, especially
if she went out of state. It seemed odd to me that this premise ID was going to get a goat into the show ring.
Curious about the white plastic card, I called the number on the little brown
paper. I spoke to a pleasant gentleman who was not at all surprised by my call.
I explained to him that our daughter was 15 and had received this card in the
He told me the Oklahoma Department
of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the National Animal Identification System
had developed a program to PAY INDIVIDUAL 4-H CLUBS AND FFA CHAPTERS for each premise ID they turned in.
Club members were supposed to go around, knock on doors of friends and neighbors
and sign them up.
The ODAFF was providing $15 per premise registered before December 31, 2006.
They were paying our kids to sign
up neighbors and friends……
PAYING KIDS TO SIGN UP NEIGHBORS
Whoa, that sure got my attention.
I asked the pleasant gentleman if the Premise ID program was mandatory, he
said, no, not yet, but it will be soon. That was why they were in a hurry to
get people in the system now…….It would save time when it becomes mandatory.
“OK”, I asked, “then how do I get my 15 year old daughter’s
name off the list and out of their system? She
doesn’t own land all she has is a goat, for a school FFA project.”
He said he’d try to take it off.
Of course, I have since found that it doesn’t happen that way and the request must be made in writing.
A little knowledge can be dangerous so I set out to find the full story, behind
my child’s premise ID.
My first step was to search the internet……
I researched the rules for the FFA Livestock show, no mention of NAIS, Premise
ID or animal tracking.
There were lots of sites against the NAIS program. As I read their reasons, concerns, suggestions and even their anger.
I was impressed with the organization of these groups and individuals.
On the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry site I found that
“premises identification is a ‘must have’.”
I devoured the official Federal Government NAIS site and learned about the
progressive steps of NAIS.
First comes the Premise ID, this now familiar white card
Then Animal Identification, followed by animal tracking.
According to the NAIS User Guide, “the
responsibility for implementing and administering NAIS is shared among numerous entities—State and Tribal governments,
industry groups/private companies, and United States Department of Agriculture.”
Cleverly, the USDA has left the decisions of implementation, cost, tracking,
and physical tagging to individual states and PRIVATE COMPANIES……
Private industry groups and States will operate and maintain the system, all
kept neatly in some database.
Private companies, data base…….they
have my child’s information……… Isn’t that a comforting
This User Guide has repeated references to the VOLUNTARY nature of the program on the FEDERAL LEVEL.
Included is this quote from the NAIS User’s Guide, “Participation
in NAIS is voluntary at the Federal level. Under our current authorities, USDA could make the NAIS mandatory, but we
are choosing not to do so—again, participation in every component of NAIS is voluntary at the Federal level. The NAIS does not need to be mandatory to be effective; we believe the goals of the
system can be achieved with a voluntary program.”
However, THE USDA HAS GIVEN EACH STATE
OR TRIBE THE RIGHT TO MAKE THIS PROGRAM MANDATORY OR VOLUMTARY with financial incentives for compliance.
This leads to how our daughter was forced to become part of the program.
Again, according to the NAIS user guide
“States and Tribes also have the option of allowing industry organizations
or groups or other interested third parties to assist with
collecting and entering premises data.
These groups act as “authorized agents” and,
with the permission of the premises owner, are permitted to submit data to the State or Tribe’s premises registration
system on that person’s behalf.”
The problem is they
did not have our permission.
The Farm and Ranch
Freedom Alliance reports seeing “numerous
examples of similar abuses across the country, such as people being told that they had to enroll in order to participate in
4-H, or take their animal to a county fair, or use certain sales barns.”
This Alliance feels that “NAIS is not truly voluntary if people are enrolled in the program without their knowledge or consent.”
In her article: “But the Fight is Far
from Over -- Get Ready for Round Two”
Mary Zanoni writes “Legitimate "volunteers" have been few and far between, and the program has provoked outrage because the USDA
has egged-on many states to fulfill their "premises ID" quotas for USDA grant funding by data-theft from pre-existing state
livestock programs. In other words, many states have placed animal-owner records into the USDA premise-information database
without the prior knowledge or consent of the animal owners. These animal owners do not even suspect that they have
been co-opted into the so-called "voluntary" premises registration system until they receive a letter from their state agriculture
department "congratulating" them on their new premises ID number.”
After reading for days we went to the Webbers Falls High school to speak with
the Ag teacher and the principal about our daughter’s forced premise ID.
Mr. Osborne, the ag teacher, seemed upset when we asked him why our daughter
had been registered with a national id system WITHOUT OUR PERMISSION. His only
comment was “she has to have it to show her goat.”
My husband and I visited with the principal next …..To our amazement
she had no idea what the NAIS was or that it was in her school. Here is a woman
who is in charge of only 79 high school students and she has horses and show pigs…
When I requested a copy of the form our daughter had filled out for the ID
card I was informed by the ag teacher that the information had already been disposed of.
With that I searched the internet until I found the Premise ID sign up brochure
presented to the 4-H and FFA members, the one that offered $15 per premise.
I learned that the Premise ID was the first component of the NAIS. The geographic location of all farms, ranches, feed yards, auctions barns, fairs and livestock exhibitions
was necessary so authorities could locate animals.
I found that animals will be issued a unique AIN (Animal Identification Number)
which will begin with 840, the US code, followed by a 12 digit animal number.
The third component was explained as Animal Tracking to locate individual animals.
Three questions in the Q & A segment of the brochure stood out to me:
The first “Will NAIS become mandatory in 2009?”
I found the answer rather vague:
“USDA has set 2009 as a benchmark
for 100% voluntary premise registration. However, the current voluntary status
allows the USDA, producers and industry stakeholders to work together in continuing to develop the NAIS program.”
Any one as confused by that as I am?
The second question was:
NAIS require animal movements to be reported to a government database?”
“No, NAIS is voluntary. When and if reporting animal movement becomes mandatory is not known.
The USDA has approved PRIVATELY HELD data systems to house animal movement
OK, so the government isn’t going
to track animals but they are handing it over to private companies……..
The third question asked
register my premises now?
animals, increase consumer confidence in the nation’s food supply, help producers better connect to the global marketplace
and” (are you ready for
THE OKLAHOMA WAY OF LIFE FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.”
Receiving this little white card has made our family fully aware of the dangers
of the NAIS……
Here is our daughter’s name,
address and location, now part of a worldwide database ……
And we have no control over when, where
or how it is used……..
Government authorities who deal with
animals ought to know better than to put our offspring in that kind of danger.
Oklahoma MUST NOT let NAIS become
a mandatory program in our state……
It is essential for the Oklahoma
state legislature to hear AND PASS Amended House Bill 1842…..
premise id and animal identification voluntary or eliminate it completely.
Even the Federal government admits
that the program will work at the voluntary level……….