Sunday, July 16, 2006

State Tracking System for All Animals Draws Protests from Small Producers

In an "Animal Farm Meets Big Brother" nightmare scenario, I wrote a column one month ago about federal legislation that would require birth to death tracking of all farm animals, using an RFID (radio frequency implanted device) if necessary.

I first I thought it was a hoax. I could not imagine that such nanny-state idiocy was even being considered by our state government. But the state of Arkanssas is actually conducting a "voluntary trial" of the program, and is pushing its acceptance! Low and behold, the state sent an agriculture department official, former state senator Phil Wyrick, to tell hundreds of concerned farmers, ranchers, and poultry produceres that this ID program "was not their enemy". This contention brought angry boos from the crowd, according to witnesses.

The stated purpose of the program is for "disease control". To find the real reason, one must "follow the money". Two big signs of where the money trail leads can be found in today's Cristal Cody article in the Democrat-Gazette. This article reports on the same meeting that ArkansasWatch told you was going to happen several days ago.

(continued- click SUNDAY below and scroll down for rest of article. If sent straight here just scroll down.)

6 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Key Paragraph Number One from the Cody Article:

"Chickens raised in large houses, such as those operated by Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale, likely will receive one identification number for each flock, which can contain about 20,000 chickens. Small farmers will need identification numbers for each animal on their farms"

Key Paragraph Number Two from the Cody Article

"Whose going to pay for it? The USDA said industry and the government are going to share the costs."

*******************

So let's put this together. Tyson's only needs one ID number for a flock of 20,000 chickens, where as a small independent producer will have to have an ID number and keep track of each individual chicken in his/her flock of 3,000 birds that they sell in small groups. The administrative costs/hassels of this program would be much greater for the small/independent producer than it would be for Tyson Foods. Tyson foods would thus be at a vast competitive advantage over small producers or niche producers. Ergo, the corporate big boys at Tyson foods would be all for this program- which hands them a massive advantage over their smaller rivals.

Now let's consider the paragraph where the costs for the program would be "shared" by "industry and the government."

The government is YOU. Tyson Foods would be getting subsidies from your pockets to administer this program. The cost in time, energy, expertise, and money, to apply for grants from the program are likely to be so great as to prevent a small producer from even attempting to obtain the grant. If is takes a month worth of work to get a grant worth 2 cents per chicken then a good ole boy with a flock of 3,000 birds will probably not work that month for a shot at a $600 subsidy.

Tyson Foods Incorporated will have one guy work full time to get grants for billions of birds. Their subsidy will be tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars from your pockets. It will be worth it for them to go through the hassle of applying for the program. To the small producer it is not worth the hassle, nor can they comply with the double-standard rules that make them count every bird.

The bottom line is that the small producer is harrassed out of the business by their own government. Tyson Foods Inc. will then expand and service (at lower quality) the small farmer's former customers.

What is going on here? It is called corporatism , a cousin of socialism. Instead of the government telling private owners what they can do with their property, the most powerful business groups and the government work together to make rules that benefit them both at the expense of everyone else. This situation is a perfect example. The government grows, and it grows in a way that will also help big corporations grow, at the expense of everyone else.

Corporatism is one of the biggest threats to our liberties today, and this program is just one head of the hydrya that needs to be cut off.

11:00 AM, July 16, 2006  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Politically, it may seem like the Republicans are going to lose on this one, since Huckabee and Wyrick are both Republicans. This is a critical wedge issue for these producers.

In reality, in Arkansas it may help the Republicans. Jim Holt was at that meeting- the only state-wide candidate who was, and made it clear he would work to stop this program.

Those key people in the room know who to support and they will talk. Hutchinson may benefit from his farm background, and from the perception that he and Holt are idealogically in agreement on this issue. Holt will make the meetings, and Bebee is getting all the money from Tyson Foods.

This is another rural wedge group where the Democrats weakness should be exploited. Between that and rural schools, there could be a multiplier effect that swings the rural vote Republican.

11:09 AM, July 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Small farmers will need identification numbers for each animal on their farms"

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11:21 PM, July 18, 2006  
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