Press Release - April 20, 2006
Contact: Karin Bergener, 330-298-0065
Liberty Ark Coalition Forms to Fight Animal ID
FREEDOM, OHIO - A broad-based coalition has been formed to oppose the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) as it is presently proposed. "We're calling the project The Liberty Ark Coalition," says Karin Bergener, an Ohio attorney who helped form the coalition. "We hope the Liberty Ark will save our animals, and our farms from unnecessary government intrusion."
The USDA sponsored program would require every premises which houses even a single chicken, duck, turkey, cow, pig, goat, horse, or any other animal considered to be livestock, to be registered in a government database, and assigned a seven-digit number and GPS coordinates by 2007. The premises owner would be required to pay a fee for the privilege.
The next phase would require every animal to be tagged with a radio frequency identification device (RFID) by 2008, also paid for by the owner. Finally, by 2009, the movement of any animal from the registered premises would have to be reported within 24 hours. The program would be enforced with fines for non-compliance, which could reach $1000 per day.
"The program is designed to track the source of a sick animal," says Meritt Lamb, a Tennessee magazine editor who also helped form the coalition. "But it will do nothing to prevent diseased animals from entering the food supply chain, nor will it address the problem of identifying imported meat products that enter the food supply chain." Lamb is typical of thousands of small land owners who keep a few chickens, an occasional steer or pig or goat for their own use, who will be severely impacted by the USDA program.
"This program will devastate county fairs, and 4H and Future Farmers of America projects, through which children learn how to care for, and show, their animals," says Randy Givens, a retired army colonel and coalition founder who resides in Texas. "It will kill the rodeo circuit. These programs have been successful for generations; the NAIS will wipe them out because it is simply not worth the effort, or cost, to register, tag, and report every animal that moves to a show or a county fair, or to a rodeo."
Judith McGeary, an environmental law attorney in Texas, and
founder of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (http://www.farmandranchfreedom.org/),
says "We believe the Liberty Ark Coalition will bring together
thousands of small organizations and individuals who, together,
will have enough influence to convince legislators to stop this
program, at least long enough to interject a little sanity. But
it will take everyone, working together."
The Liberty Ark Coalition website is http://libertyark.net.