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Government Program Seeks to Tag Every Livestock Animal in the United States

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By Tabitha Alterman | Sep 1, 2006

A new government program wants to tag every livestock animal in the United States.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is embarking upon a new program that seeks to tag every livestock animal in the United States, identified, tagged and possibly implanted with a radio chip. The highly controversial National Animal Identification System (NAIS) would require anyone who owns even one livestock animal — such as a pigeon, rabbit, chicken or horse — to register that animal and its location in a federal database.

The USDA maintains that the program could help track and contain disease outbreaks. But livestock owners criticize the USDA’s intentions, claiming that this is just another federally supported benefit for large-scale “factory farm” producers, whose animals are the most at risk for disease outbreaks. In addition, the NAIS will place a financial burden on small-scale livestock owners, and invade individual privacy, to boot. Currently, enrollment in NAIS is voluntary, but the program is scheduled to become mandatory by 2009.

Find details of the USDA’s implementation plan:
www.usda.gov

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