Bullard: Tyranny Lite

Let’s skip back in history a bit. About two decades ago the globalist-controlled World Organization for Animal Health stated that all nations “should establish a legal framework for the implementation and enforcement of animal identification and animal traceability in the country.”

Now, with its globalist’s marching orders in hand (which orders stand in sharp contrast to what the citizenry wanted), our U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nevertheless set out to do just that and began in earnest to implement what was initially called the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

For years the USDA insisted that U.S. livestock producers wanted their government to mandate radio frequency identification (RFID) eartags, and for years the vast majority of U.S. livestock producers said they did not.

Well, standoffs rarely last forever and eventually, the USDA relented, but not without tarnishing its own reputation as a farmer- and rancher-friendly agency. You see, cozying up to multinational eartag manufacturers and helping to enrich them just didn’t sit well with livestock folks.

So just over a decade ago, in 2010, the USDA cried uncle and in an effort to reestablish goodwill with those it had slighted, it began to walk back its previous NAIS-promotional activities that effectively damaged its reputation. The USDA began saying such heartfelt things as, “Some people were in favor of NAIS, but the vast majority of participants were highly critical of the program.” And that the old NAIS would be replaced with a new system that “honors the very legitimate concerns of the American public and those in Rural America;” that the new system would be designed so as not to overly burden producers; and, that the new system would be “workable, feasible and common sense for all of America’s producers—especially small producers.”  

The agency also acknowledged that an animal disease traceability system does not prevent diseases.

Now, and very importantly, in the midst of the USDA’s public repentance efforts, the agency emphatically stated this, “USDA will not mandate a one-size-fits-all approach to animal disease traceability” (emphasis added). 

Where I come from that’s called a promise, and I’m sure it is where you come from too.

And we acted upon this promise and agreed to work with the agency to develop the new system that honors the legitimate concerns of our members, that would not be overly burdensome, and that would be workable, feasible, and common sense.  

The outcome of that effort provided producers with flexibility when determining which type of animal traceability device worked best for their individual operations.

We were reasonably happy with this outcome. But like standoffs, the happiness didn’t last forever either. Soon the USDA regrew its fangs and broke its promise.

That was four years ago when the Secretary of Agriculture tried to mandate RFID eartags for adult cattle moved interstate. We sued the Secretary, and he backed down.

But not for long. I guess once an agency has been deemed untrustworthy, it no longer cares about its reputation. Soon the USDA issued a notice, stating that now it would do what it always wanted to do but had promised not to do. That was in 2020, and cattle producers were once again faced with the threat of an RFID mandate.

Cattle producers fought back, again. And in 2021, the USDA again backed down and the mandatory RFID notice was withdrawn.

But the USDA remains bound and determined to cast its broken promise in stone. It recently issued a proposed rule that will do what the agency promised not to do … it will mandate RFID eartags for adult cattle moved interstate. 

Over 2,000 comments were received by the agency regarding its broken promise. A member of R-CALF USA spent considerable time going through those comments, reviewing about half of them. He found in the half that he looked at there was overwhelming opposition to the RFID mandate. Of course, there were at least a handful of supporters for the proposal from some producers, foreign governments, college students, state veterinarians, and organizations that represent large meatpackers.

Now in some sense the comment opportunity provided by the proposed rule can be used to gauge whether or not the public consents to be governed in the manner proposed by the USDA.

What’s important to note is that the USDA has not received that consent, and that there is widespread opposition to the RFID mandate among actual producers who would be both subject to it and who would have to pay for it. 

If the USDA proceeds under the decades-long weight of overwhelming and widespread opposition to its mandate and decides yet again to break its promise and run roughshod over the legitimate concerns raised by America’s cattle producers, then America will witness a form of government oppression in the countryside – an oppression that we could legitimately call “Tyranny Lite.”

Commentary by Bill Bullard, CEO, R-CALF USA