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Equine Species Working Group - NAIS

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NAIS Working Group for the Horse Industry

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the NAIS?

A: The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is a voluntary program intended to identify animals and record their movements for the purpose of disease management and control. The ultimate goal of this identification system is to create an effective, uniform national animal tracing system that will help maintain the health of U.S. herds and flocks. When fully operational, it is hoped that it will allow animal tracing to be completed within 48 hours of disease detection, ensuring rapid containment of the disease, protecting our country?s animals and allowing for continued commerce.

Q: What is the ESWG?

A: Equine Species Working Group (ESWG) is the task force officially recognized by the USDA to evaluate the concept of the National Animal Identification System and its application to the equine industry. The group?s responsibility is to develop recommendations for a national equine identification plan that is in the best interests of, and protects the rights of, horse owners and breeders. The ESWG has submitted comments and continuously updated recommendations to USDA that distinguish the horse industry from other livestock, pointing out the unique characteristics of the industry and outlining our positions and concerns with a national ID program.

Q: Is the ESWG a committee of the American Horse Council?

A: No. The ESWG is an independent coalition of over 30 National Equine Organizations. The American Horse Council is one of the many members of the ESWG and as such is involved in evaluating the NAIS and developing recommendations on how the horse industry might fit into the program.

Q: Why is the ESWG reviewing any plan to include equines in the NAIS?

A: The ESWG is engaged because if the horse industry does not participate in the program?s evaluation and development, a national system could be implemented without its input. The purpose of the NAIS is to protect the livestock industry in case there is an outbreak of a potentially catastrophic animal disease or an attack of bio-terrorism. Either scenario could result in a significant loss to the horse industry and seriously limit a horse owner?s ability to move or export horses. There is strong support for NAIS at USDA, in Congress, with the state animal health authorities and within the livestock industry. The ESWG believes that it is in the best interests of the horse industry to work with those instituting NAIS to be sure that our industry?s specific concerns are understood and considered.

Q: Does the NAIS stop disease?

A: No. The NAIS is not a program that will stop disease, but is a program intended to stop the SPREAD of disease and to allow commerce and movement to continue if a disease outbreak does occur. The sooner animal health officials can identify infected and exposed animals and premises, the sooner they can contain the disease and stop its spread. This will also allow a quicker lifting of any restrictions on movement and commerce.

Q: Is the effort to create an equine identification plan linked in any way to the slaughter of horses for human consumption or meat quality?

A: NO. The plan is being formulated as a way to identify animals involved in an outbreak of serious infectious or contagious diseases that may spread rapidly among horses, other livestock or humans. The slaughter of horses for human consumption has not been a part of the discussions and the members of the ESWG include associations that support a ban on the slaughter of horses, organizations that oppose a ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption and organizations that do not have a position on the ban on slaughter of horses for human consumption. The NAIS is intended to protect animals from disease as well as to identify those that have a disease or may have been exposed to a disease so that they may be treated quickly and minimize the economic impact of the disease outbreak.

Q: Since horses are not used for human consumption in the U.S., why should the horse industry be involved in the NAIS?

A: The NAIS is about the health of our nation?s livestock, not just food safety. The horse industry is an integral part of this nation?s livestock community and as such has a responsibility to consider a national livestock program that will benefit it as well as other livestock industries. The horse industry benefits from being a part of the livestock industry through tax relief, disease control and research through the USDA and disaster funding.

Q: Are there diseases that affect horses that also affect other livestock or humans?

A: Yes, there are several. Some diseases that affect horses, other livestock and even humans include rabies, salmonella, ringworm, anthrax, screwworm and vesicular stomatitis. More information on the different diseases that can affect not only horses but other livestock and humans can be found in the diseases section of this booklet.

Q: Are there any bio-terrorism concerns involving equine diseases?

A: Several diseases of horses have long been recognized as capable of being used as a bio-terrorist weapon, such as glanders and Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis. Glanders is a disease of horses, mules and donkeys and has not been found in the U.S. since the early 1900?s. Glanders can be spread to humans through horses and was used by the German army in World War I to sicken enemy soldiers. In its bioweapons program, the former Soviet Union was producing the bacterial agent that causes glanders as late as the early 1980's. Glanders continues to exist in several third world countries, some of which have recently become members of the European Union. The U.S. requires that all horses imported into the U.S., including

U.S. horses that are temporarily exported for competition purposes, to be tested negative for glanders before being permitted to enter (or re-enter as the case may be) the domestic population.

Q: What horses should be officially identified?

A: The ESWG has recommended that official identification is necessary when a horse is transported to any premises where a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI), Brand Inspection, VS-127 permit, or International CVI is required. For the most part, this would exclude those horses participating in recreational activities, weekend ropings, trail rides, and other small gatherings of horses.

Q: Will I have to report every time my horse moves off its premises?

A: No. The ESWG has recommended to the USDA that no movements be recorded. The ESWG feels that the records maintained through the CVIs, Brand Inspections, VS-127 permits and International CVIs covers the high risk movements and are satisfactory for traceback purposes.

Q: Is the NAIS going to be mandatory in 2008?

A: The NAIS is a voluntary program. There are no regulations being developed at this time for the NAIS to be a nationally-mandated program. The ESWG has recommended that the plan not apply to the horse industry until 2010. There are many states, such as Wisconsin with mandatory premises registration, that are developing their own legislation on certain components of the NAIS. It is recommended that you check with your state Department of Agriculture to learn more on how your state is currently implementing the NAIS and what its future plans are for the program?s implementation.

Q: How do I get more information on the NAIS?

A: To find out more about the NAIS you can visit the following website: www.usda.gov/nais. You can also visit the ESWG website found at www.equinespeciesworkinggroup.com. We also recommend that you contact your state Department of Agriculture to learn more on how your state is progressing with the implementation with the NAIS. Contact information for each state Departments of Agriculture can be found on the previously mentioned NAIS website.


Please print both sides of the NAIS issue. See nonais.org for the other side, the side that tells what NAIS really is and how it will really work. NAIS is a business plan designed to benefit corporate ag while putting the costs and work on the little guy.
If NAIS were really so great then Big Ag would be doing it without wasting our tax dollars. Instead what they are doing is wasting hundreds of millions of our money to implement a system that will be a burden on small owners of livestock while only benefiting the big corporations, especially those who sell to foreign markets. We don't need NAIS. If they want NAIS let them implement it truly voluntary basis without any government funding or government involvement.

Just say No NAIS and Yes! to protecting our traditional rights to farm and own animals.
There is a for/against NAIS poll at the Western Horseman website....guess what? over 90% are against NAIS!

Actually, NAIS is NOT about protecting us from animal disease...it is a marketing plan for corporate ag. The microchip makers are also in on the plan because they stand to make millions.

NAIS traceability ends at slaughter which is where many food issues happen.

Why does the NAIS document allow only for depopulation if disease is suspected in an area? 6 mile radius (140 sq. miles of animals) will be wiped out.
What if I have a disease but I force YOU to take and pay for the meds so I can declare myself to be disease free? Ridiculous, isn't it?

But that how NAIS will work. While every one who owns even one chicken or other livestock animals will be forced to register premises/tag/report animal movements/face depopulation, Big Ag who gets ONE lot number per their groups of animals, tells the global market they are disease free!!!!!
Livestock owners will be under closer surveillance than illegals, drug dealers, convicted six offenders/child molesters.

Currently in the USA, only convicted six offenders/child molesters have to register their premises and file movement reports.

NAIS may also affect private property rights. In the NAIS document those who own livestock are called "stakeholder" and the land upon which the livestock presides is "premises". These words are used for a reason. The lectric law library states that the word "premises signifies a formal part of a deed,and is made to designate an estate; to designate is to name or entitle." Therefore a premises has no
protection under the United States constitution and has no exclusive rights of the owner tied to it. Black's Law states 'premises' was a tenement or conveyance'. Stakeholder (the term the USDA is using to identify us) refers to a third party who temporarily holds money or property while its owner is still being determined.

By signing up for NAIS, title to property rights could be clouded, basically making the land owner little more than a sharecropper.
If anyone?s freedom is destroyed, everyone?s freedom is in jeopardy?even yours.

NAIS imposes a lot additional expenses on family farms. (The Corporations behind NAIS wrote in exemptions for their large farms) This will drive up the cost of meat, milk, ice cream, and other animal products. The extra burden on farmers will eliminate smaller operations, reducing your choices at the supermarket. Control of our national food supply will be concentrated into the hands of a few large corporate factory farms. Lack of competition reduces incentive for excellence and increases prices. Monopolies are bad for business and bad for consumers. That is why they are illegal.

If all this technology can be tracked by USDA today, it can be tracked by someone else tomorrow. The USDA has already agreed to share this information database with other countries and handed what data they have to Multi Ag Media, LLC, a seller of custom lists to Ag marketers, . Is the USDA setting us up for an attack on our food supply by giving terrorists a road map to each farm?

If you or your children want to have a pet bunny, duckling, or canary, you get to join the overburdened ranks of the farmers and livestock owners, and make record keeping and fee paying a big part of your life. Even a single egg hen means you'll have to have a Premise ID, tag and track your chicken and file reports with the government. A premises ID clouds your property title and NAIS uses 840 the code used for stocks, bonds etc. (A ?stake holder? is not a legal owner so who will own US livestock?)

We now have evidence of how NAIS would apply to animals in practice. The Kentucky Department of Agriculture proposed regulations that would make premises registration and animal identification mandatory for all livestock animals, including horses. In place of the 24-hour reporting requirement in the federal NAIS plans, the proposed Kentucky regulations would require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) for all movements, sales, and exhibitions.
Have a pet? The proposed regulations allows warrantless intrusion on anyone who owns an animal. The proposed regulation allows the state vet to ?enter upon any farm, stockyard, auction barn, or any other place where animals are handled, for the purpose of inspecting and/or testing any animals for communicable diseases.? There are no requirements for a warrant or for any health emergency ? the state vet could enter the person?s property at any time. This proposed regulation covers all animals. Indeed, another section of the proposed regulations specify that dog and cat owners will also have to get CVIs for exhibitions. So even apartment dwellers with a pet dog, cat or gerbil might face a call from the State vet informing them that they are about to be inspected! These warrantless inspections could be done whether or not there was an actual outbreak occurring or without any human health risk at all.

CRIMINAL AND CIVIL PENALTIES-proposed via The Animal Health Protection Act (HR2002) May 24, 2001

...shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, shall be fined in accordance with the provisions of title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for a period not exceeding one year, or fined and imprisoned.

$50,000 in the case of any individual (except that the civil penalty may not exceed $1,000 in the case of an initial violation,... $250,000 in the case of any other person for each violation, and $500,000 for all violations adjudicated in a single proceeding....

In Texas, penalties for non-compliance with premises registration include $1,000 PER DAY fines (which is higher than drug dealers pay), misdemeanor charges and possible jail time

You get to live with the destruction of our Constitution and Bill of Rights, as NAIS is in violation of no less than six Constitutional Amendments and Rights. Visit: text and help stop NAIS!

World Bank wants Collateral Derry Brownfield Aug. 17, 2007 text
USDA in accordance with WTO/OIE plans for animal Husbandry is substituting traceability and GGFP (Guide to Good Farming Practices) for testing.

The USDA Three Step Plan must be considered as a whole:
Step 1 Premises ID

Step 2 National Animal Identification

Step 3 WTO /OIE and Codex working group ?Guide to Good Farming Practices?

Depopulation instead of vaccination in the event of disease out break

Implementation enforced by Fines/jail: Proposed CRIMINAL AND CIVIL PENALTIES-Under The Animal Health Protection Act (HR2002) May 24, 2001

Is the WTO/OIE plans for animal Husbandry practical?
See the list of Nations at: OIE member Nations Source: text

Farmers in the UK, Austraila, Canada and the USA have described the WTO/OIE plan as cumbersome, burdensome and unwieldy. One farmer in the UK stated the paperwork consumed 60% of his time. Can this system of animal management be used in all 172 OIE Nations when are developing countries? Can a starving, illiterate peasant in the Congo Argentina, or Zimbzbwe cope with RFID tags, a reader and tracking? When looked at from an International perspective the idea is laughable.

Once you see this list "global" Animal ID and farm management by OIE rules is shown to be an unobtainable dream at least in the near future.. The idea is just not viable on an International scale and I am sure the WTO and World Bank who are behind it are very well aware of that.

"We may get to the point where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial civilization to collapse." Maurice Strong This is the senior advisor to the UN and the World Bank.

If only ?developed countries? have farmers who can afford the time and money to implement the OIE plan, does it make sense to do so?
The USA, Canada, Australia and Europe do not have major disease issues in their animal populations. The diseases are in the 3/4 of the OIE membership called "developing Nations" who can not possibly implement the OIE rules. For example out of the list of 2600 farms initially proposed by Brazil as meeting EU standards only 106 met EU guidelines.

International FRAUD
Even if NAIS is somehow implemented worldwide, Fraud and black-market will be alive and well. If the private NAIS data base is in the hands of people like the "Cattle Network, that diseased cow brought in from Brazil through the port operated by a Mexican syndicate could have YOUR FARM as its origin.
May 2 2008 ~ more than a matter of labelling regulations
The text reported yesterday that the demand for locally sourced meat is being exploited and beef labelled British has been found, in reality, to come from elsewhere ("Brazil or Botswana") But the report failed to mention the serious underlying issue that goes beyond fraud: if foreign meat is arriving without proper surveillance and testing the route for pathogens is wide open.
As one emailer writes today:
" If the origin of this meat is unidentified and has no audit trail, doesn't that mean that this meat is likely to be entering the UK (and other EU countries?) illegally? Are samples being tested for disease?"
This problem is not confined to the UK. The text reported on Tuesday:
".... only 1 percent of imported food is inspected, even though about 60 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables and 75 percent of seafood is imported..."
When disease can wreak such havoc it is surprising that in the UK the FSA's only reported response was to call for "labelling laws to be clarified". The Trust for America's Health report on Wednesday recommended that a new agency should be responsible for all food safety and that a priority should be "inspecting foods throughout the entire food production and processing chain". text

JBS S.A., the world's biggest beef producer, agreed to pay $1.27 billion in cash and stock for assets in the U.S. and Australia,The transactions would make JBS, the largest American beef processor. JBS, currently has beef operations in Brazil, Argentina, the United States, Italy and Australia. The Brazilian Government will increase its stake in JBS to 21% JBS wants to expand in the U.S., Australia and Europe to bolster sales in markets that restrict imports of Brazilian beef.

John Nalivka, president of livestock advisory firm Sterling Marketing, estimates U.S. slaughter plants are running at 84% capacity, below the 92% to 92% level necessary to turn a profit. "This is not a short-term glitch," said Nalivka. "Two years out doesn't look any better."

Why would JBS buy plants with operating at 80% capacity if it is NOT planing to make up the head count difference with imported beef? Perhaps with Brazilian beef imported at Santa Teresa, NM, were Chihuahuan cattle producers [Mexican] operate both sides of the cattle port-of-entry
Interesting. I read lots of articles about NAIS and how it is supposed to be a good thing, yet the comments are overwhelmingly against NAIS. But is the USDA listening? No, they are taking your tax $ given to them by the agribiz and forcing this program by many underhanded ways.
But good news...Attorneys for the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund filed suit in the U.S. District Court ? District of Columbia to stop the USDA and the Michigan Department of Agriculture from implementing the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

A funny thing happened on the way to the NAIS forum: Cargill (Excell) Beef, who is pushing NAIS and who NAIS will benefit, got creamed in court. Beef they sold to a Sizzler Restaurant was improperly handled by one of their workers at Sizzler (proven in court) caused cross contamination of e-coli on watermelon, which killed a 3 yr old child who ate the watermelon.
Cargill(Excell) Beef was sued by Sizzler saying this incident caused the loss of $$$$$ in sales, Cargill was fingered as the guilty party and forced to pay several million to Sizzler. AND, folks, this is just how NAIS will work on the rest of us. Did Cargill sell tainted beef. No, that happened AFTER it left Cargill and was tainted by improper handling at a Sizzler.

NAIS tracking stops at slaughter which is when most beef safety issues occur, but under NAIS that bad beef will be traced back to the one who bred/fed the cow and that person will be punished, not those who acually contaminated the meat by improper handling.

And what about the grieving family who lost their child?
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