Monday, March 27, 2006

For My Tennessee Readers

I am sorry this is late - Blogger seems to be giving me trouble the past few days but this is important information - I encourage you to write and call. Also, those in the Nashville area should attend in the morning. Here is a message I received from a reader about stopping NAIS in Tennessee: Dear Friends: We have been working on a bill with Representative Frank Nicely to keep NAIS out of Tennessee. You can read its contents below. We need to make as big a show of support as possible to get this bill through the Agriculture Committee. It's going to be a tough battle, and we need you there to help save the freedom to farm in Tennessee. The Tennessee House of Representatives Agriculture Committee will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 28, 2006 in Room 29 of the Legislative Plaza (at the State Capitol) for hearings on Bill No. HB 3297. That bill would stop the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) in Tennessee and free Tennessee farmers from mandatory premise registration, but still answer any valid disease control concerns anyone might have. This is our best chance to stop NAIS. If you're not willing to make the sacrifice to come to Nashville for one small morning, then don't complain later that the bill didn't pass and NAIS was crammed down your throat. On this day in 1775 Patrick Henry, the greatest statesman of the Revolution & American History, gave his famous speech in Richmond. In spite of all the odds against him in that assembly, he still spoke. Dead must be the soul whose eyes are not stirred to tears by these his words: "Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" We need you there on Tuesday -- you and everybody you can bring. It's up to you. Best wishes, Franklin & Justin Sanders P.S. Directions to the Legislative Plaza will follow tomorrow. P.O. Box 178 Westpoint, Tennessee 38486 (888) 218-9226; (931) 766-6066 Fax (931) 766-1128 HOUSE BILL 3297 By Niceley AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 44, Chapter 7, relative to animal identification. WHEREAS, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goal of the National Animal identification System (NAIS) program using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags is to register every farm and every domesticated animal (including non-food animals such as horses) in a centralized database; and WHEREAS, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), composed primarily of large corporate producers and the makers and producers of animal identification equipment, lobbied the USDA to create the NAIS supposedly to protect U.S. citizens and their animals from disease; and WHEREAS, in April 2002 a task force composed of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and over 30 livestock organizations created the proposed NAIS, while small-scale farmers involved in animal husbandry and animal hobbyists were not represented; and WHEREAS, farming is an honorable occupation and a right of all Tennessee citizens, and WHEREAS to protect the food supply of Tennessee and the United States from terrorism or disease it may be necessary to require Tennessee farmers to use an Animal Identification System that ensures less than 48 hour trace-back of any diseased animal, nevertheless such a system first, must not rob Tennessee citizens of their existing common law rights; second, cost farmers, stockyards, producers, processors, and consumers the least possible expense; third, leave Tennesseans secure in their privacy; and fourth, fit into the existing marketing structures of the Tennessee livestock industry without disruption, and WHEREAS, metal ear tags like those used to eradicate Brucellosis and Tuberculosis in the State of Tennessee cost only pennies and have already proven effective in eradicating disease, and WHEREAS Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are many times as expensive as metal tags, untested, vulnerable to breakdown, defeat, and falsification, require expensive reading equipment, and do not constitute a reliable alternative for the Tennessee livestock industry, THEREFORE BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE: SECTION 1 Definitions. As used herein, unless the context otherwise requires: a. Point of Entry Into Commerce means sales at a stockyard, sale barn, or sale facility. It also denotes sales where the number of animals sold will constitute a truckload or more, whether sold to in-state or out-of-state buyers. Point of Commerce shall not include farmer-to-farmer sales or direct farmer-to-consumer sales. SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 44, Chapter 7, is amended by adding the following as a new, appropriately designated part: Section 44-7-501. At no time shall department of agriculture funds or any other state funds be appropriated to implement the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). SECTION 3: All animals entering the point of entry into commerce shall be tagged on the ear with a metal tag containing a fifteen digit number consistent with the proposed NAIS, identifying at least the seller and the animal. SECTION 4: For purposes of Section 3, no seller of any animal may be required to register his farm or premises as a precondition of selling said animal. SECTION 5: For purposes of Section 3, those animals sold by the truckload in private sales or cooperative sales must be tagged by the purchaser of said animals, not the seller. If the purchaser of said animals fails to tag them they shall be fined not more than $50.00 per animal. section 6: iNFORMATION COLLECTED WHEN TAGGING ANIMALS AT THE POINT OF ENTRY INTO COMMERCE SHALL BE FORWARDED TO THE uNITED sTATES dEPARTMENT OF aGRICULTURE aNIMAL pLANT hEALTH iNSPECTION sERVICE (aphis) FOR PROCESSING, ANALYSIS, STORAGE, AND TRACE-BACK. SECTION 7: For purposes of Section 6, purchasers at the point of entry into commerce are not required to gather or forward data to APHIS until APHIS is prepared to accept that data. Should APHIS fail to make itself able to accept and manage the livestock tagging data, the Legislature may decide who in Tennessee will manage that data. SECTION 8: No animals except those sold for food at a point of entry into commerce shall be required to be tagged in the State of Tennessee. SECTION 9: No livestock producer in the state of Tennessee shall be denied veterinary or other services or medication, feed, goods, or any other needs because that producers livestock is not tagged, unless that producer is attempting to enter the animal into the point of entry into commerce. SECTION 10. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.

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