WASHINGTON — A roundtable discussion with a variety of stakeholders representing the full spectrum of views on the National Animal Identification System was hosted April 15 by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. This event kicked off a listening tour to gather feedback and input that will assist Mr. Vilsack in making decisions about the future direction of animal identification and traceability in the United States.
"Much work has been done over the past five years to engage producers in developing an animal-identification system that they could support," he said. "However, many of the issues and concerns that were initially raised by producers, such as the cost, impact on small farmers, privacy and confidentiality and liability, continue to cause debate. In the spirit of President Obama's call for transparency in government, now is the time to have frank and open conversations about N.A.I.S. We need to work collaboratively to resolve concerns and move forward with animal traceability."
The listening tour, which is still being planned, will seek input from communities throughout the U.S. As details for the tour are finalized, the information will be announced publicly and posted to the A.P.H.I.S. Web site atwww.aphis.usda.gov. In the coming weeks, U.S.D.A.'s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will also publish a notice in the Federal Register to request input.
During the roundtable discussion, which included more than 20 representatives from stakeholders, J. Patrick Boyle, American Meat Institute president and chief executive, iterated A.M.I.’s position in support of a mandatory animal identification system and stressed the importance of such a program for animal-health reasons.
Livestock producers are negatively impacted, as well as any packing facility where an infectious animal disease diagnosis was identified, Mr. Boyle said. "Past incidents in the U.S. meatpacking industry have demonstrated how critical it is to have an effective animal-identification system," he added. "The absence of such a system easily could put at risk the very viability of a company in the wrong set of circumstances. Because of that risk, A.M.I. supports a mandatory animal-identification system."
Mr. Boyle also said a mandatory system would have a positive impact on the U.S. meat industry’s ability to enhance international trade competitiveness with other countries, such as Canada and Australia, which already have mandatory identification systems in place. He added a mandatory system would also have a positive impact on consumer confidence and the integrity of the meat supply.
From: Beverly B.
Who are these "Stakeholders"? I don't remember signing away my farm and personal belongings to anyone. Who do they think they are? Nobody is going to be a "Stakeholder" on my farm. If they want this done, then they can pay the bill, but they won't own anything!
From: Barbara S.
I want to reiterate Beverly's comment. I am a private property owner, not a stakeholder for someone else. As long as USDA, Vilsack and our legislators keep referring to us as 'stakeholders' and our private property as 'premises', NAIS will go nowhere. I have yet to see any of them acknowledge the concerns about the Constitutional violations. How do they plan to fix that?
From: Bill V.
How can the public expect food safety if the people raising the cattle won't submit to tracing the beef?