Public Awareness Committee
NAIS Position Statement
The American Goat Society, Inc. (AGS) opposes the implementation, both on the state and federal level, of a mandatory national animal identification system (NAIS). The NAIS would apply to every person who owns even one livestock animal and would include dairy goats. The American Goat Society opposes this program because:
1. The NAIS would not improve animal health. Any effective animal health program must take into consideration the specific species of animal and the specific disease, including its cause, prevention,
transmission, and treatment options.
2. The Government and industry-established systems for tracking animals are already effective and efficient for disease trace back. NAIS would not provide any further benefits.
3. The NAIS would infringe upon the property and private affairs of individuals, in direct violation of our Constitutional rights, including the right to due process of law, equal protection, religious freedom, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Making portions of NAIS mandatory without a finalized program in place would subject the property and registrants to as-yet-undetermined future rules, legislation and encumbrances. Registering could also expose owners to legal reprisals for events that happen after the animal leaves the farm.
4. The USDA is attempting to implement the program without explicit Congressional authority or oversight.
5. The NAIS would create significant costs, in both time and money, for dairy goat owners and society. These costs would drive many out of business and ultimately raise the cost of food for everyone.
6. The NAIS would increase the size of the government bureaucracy.
7. The USDA has not performed a cost analysis or a cost-benefit analysis of implementing and maintaining NAIS.
8. There are many technological and practical barriers to implementing NAIS, including concerns about the security of electronic identification and databases, the adverse effect of mandatory ear tags for goats, and the sheer magnitude of the program.
9. The NAIS would have serious, unintended consequences for citizens who own even one animal, including those with small farms and thousands of private citizens who own animals for companionship, recreation, and subsistence. This in turn would negatively impact related businesses, such as feed stores, auction barns, livestock supply stores, and the American Goat Society. It would also hurt fairs, shows, and livestock events that help farmers evaluate and improve their stock. As a result, the NAIS would have a significant negative impact on the entire rural economy of the state and the country.
10. These issues can, and should, be addressed through voluntary, participant-funded, market-driven programs.
Congress and the State legislatures should halt the implementation of the NAIS and investigate more effective and non-intrusive means of addressing animal health that would not adversely affect the economy, small farmers and individual citizens.