Sunday, June 18, 2006

Livestock Tracking Proposal- Big Brother Comes to Animal Farm!

When I first heard this one I thought that it must be a hoax, but it checks out. Republican Congressman Peter King has a bill before Congress that will mandate data collection on EVERY FARM ANIMAL go into a national database. The bill is HR 3170 though it has a couple of companion bills.

The cost of this program will be more than the cost of real "disease control" measures, which was the obstensible purpose of the bill. Here is an excerpt from the bill..

" (a) Establishment- There is established a board to be known as the `Livestock Identification Board'.

(b) Duties- The duties of the Board shall be to--

(1) establish and maintain an electronic livestock identification system that--

(A) is capable of tracing all livestock in the United States from the time of first movement of the livestock from its original premise to the time of slaughter of such livestock in less than 48 hours;

(B) tracks all relevant information about the livestock, including--

(i) the livestock identification number or the group or lot identification number for the livestock, as applicable;

(ii) the date the livestock identification number or the group or lot identification number was assigned;

(iii) the premise identification number;

(iv) the species of the livestock;

(v) the date of birth of the livestock, to the extent possible;

(vi) the sex of the livestock;

(vii) any other information the Board considers appropriate for animal disease surveillance; and

(viii) any other information that the person who owns or controls the livestock voluntarily submits to the Board;

(2) maintain information obtained through the livestock identification system in a centralized data system; and

(3) determine the official identification technology to be used to track animals under the livestock identification system."

The "technology" they are talking about can only be something like an RFID chip. This program is supposedly already being tested on some farms. As nutty as it sounds, this one might pass unless we ask our Congressmen to vote it down.

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