Information Alert on NAIS:
Dealing with a Visit to Your Farm
In the wake of reports of USDA abuses and failure to follow rules, some
people are worried about what to do if the
USDA or State Agriculture
Department shows up at their property and alleges that they have diseased
animals. THE FOLLOWING IS NOT OFFERED AS LEGAL OR MEDICAL ADVICE.
These are simply some thoughts about the
options. Each person should find a
local attorney and veterinarian to help
them make decisions about their
animals and their rights.
- Plan ahead. Have the following names and phone numbers written
down in your wallet:
A. A veterinarian you trust who is willing to come out at any time.
Preferably, have two veterinarians available,
one of which is
government-certified for the major disease(s) of concern in your state.
B. A local attorney.
The local newspaper or TV news station. Make some direct contacts
now, by talking to them about the NAIS issue.
A trusted neighbor or two. Arrange for a "phone tree" ahead of
time among a few neighbors, so that you can ask a couple
level-headed people to come to your place to act as witnesses as to what is happening. It is critical that everyone
- Keep good records on your animals, especially records of animal
purchases, testing, and health records. Have backups
of all documents,
kept separately from your main files, so that you will still have a copy
if they take your files
- Ask the USDA or State Ag agent for their name, title, and specific
basis for their visit to your property. Ask if
anyone has filed a
complaint against you.
- Ask to see the warrant. If they do not have a warrant, you may
choose to allow them in or you may choose to state
that you are refusing
to allow them onto your property. If you refuse and they come onto your
property anyway, ask
them for the specific statute and regulation under
which they claim authority. Immediately write it down or, preferably,
have a small tape deck or video recorder that you can use to record the
- Do not rely on oral statements about testing results, quarantine
procedures, depopulation procedures, compensation,
etc. Ask for a
written statement on all of these issues from the agents.
- Ask that your veterinarian be allowed to draw samples for
independent testing of any alleged disease. If they refuse,
ask for a written statement or record their response with a tape or video recorder.
- If they hand you something to sign, read it very carefully. If the
signature only acknowledges receipt of the document,
it may make sense
to sign it. But if the signature indicates that you agree with the
contents of the document, do
not sign unless you truly agree with what the document states, including the fine print.
- If they state that the animals must be taken away or killed, be
prepared to make a decision: do you agree that this
is necessary? If you
do not agree, talk with your attorney and veterinarian.
- If they insist on taking or killing your animals without your
consent, document what they do with photos and/or a
- It may be helpful to make notes immediately after the event, while
it is all fresh in your memory. Stick strictly
to the facts - what
happened, what was said, etc. Do not include any personal opinions,
background, or anything else.
Again, this is NOT intended as legal or medical advice. Each person
needs to find a local
attorney and veterinarian to help them make
decisions about their animals and their rights.
We thank Weston A. Price Foundation for this information:
To learn more about what USDA and State Ag departments are doing, visit