ICOW: USDA is not listening to the American people
Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming has submitted comments to the federal register and urge all Wyoming producers to go to http://www.regulations.gov to submit their comments.
The Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming is a producer, grass roots organization organized to protect and promote the future viability of the Wyoming Family Livestock and Ranching Industries. ICOW is the John Wayne among cattlemen—strong, no-nonsense, common sense, and straight forward. It is a powerful organization that provides a check and balance for Wyoming producers when other organizations get heavy at the top and forget their members.
The bureaucrats of USDA have pursued mandatory ID tags for over 20 years and have been consistently opposed by the American producers. This proves the USDA is not listening to the American people most affected by the burdensome mandate. The USDA has an agenda and it is not about protecting animal health or American freedoms. We now know the reason for the mandatory tags is the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). GRSB is nothing more than a war on free enterprise, private property and individuals and has absolutely nothing to do with animal disease protection or traceback.
All of the chips for the ID tags are all made in Communist China who is not a friendly country and has a penchant for stealing data to the detriment of American citizens. This is a national security issue. This technology places a great deal of personal information at risk.
Only authorized companies are allowed to furnish the tags, which means the government will be choosing winners and losers among the tag making companies. Will they have to be members of the GRSB to get the contracts? It is totally un-American. The potential problems of data storage and who can access it and who maintains it leaves a lot of doubt as to the integrity of the whole system. It is important to note, the packers want the data to further control the market place and of the 4 big packers, 3 are foreign owned!
The remedy to animal disease is to not import it through the border from countries known to have disease. The USDA needs to go back to the “no risk” on imported meats and live animals. Controlled risk is a joke. If the USDA wants producers to believe they are all about protecting the U.S. cattle producers from disease, they must show an effort to prevent it from importation. Tracking every move of an animal between the states will not prevent disease. It is foreign imports from countries like Brazil with known foot and mouth that pose the risk of disease We suggest that USDA APHIS go back to the agreed upon guidelines of 2013 and leave us to the business of feeding America.
The state of Wyoming has statute law that prevents mandatory RFID tags being forced on Wyoming producers. Federal rules are not supreme over State Statute law, especially a rule that is arbitrary and capricious as is this particular rule. Wyoming producers can refuse to affix Chinese Communist ear tags in Wyoming cattle The minimalist rule with only 11% of the animals is insufficient to trace back leaving the question as to the lack of trustworthiness of the USDA.
ICOW opposes eliminating the hot iron brand as an official form of identification. We understand that many states do not have hot iron brands, but in the west where cattle often get mixed and run on common allotments, it has been the most effective way to identify cattle. It stays with the cattle for their lifetime, unlike tags that fall off in the sagebrush and shrubby trees. Which leads to the question, what about the cattle that lose their tags? Do they go into the witness protection plan and get a whole new identity with replacement tags?
ICOW submits that these rules support the packers’ efforts to obtain U.S. raised premium cattle at low cost by eliminating the current age and source programs that cost above market average. If these rules are implemented all cattle will be age and sourced and all premiums will be gone. There is a total disassociation by the USDA on the real costs to producers and there has been no economic analysis on the cost of bangs vs. RFID tags. The USDA is asking producers to increase their production costs with no way to recover the cost in the market place.
The USDA must recognize that cattle are private property and as such are not federally owned as a “national herd”. Wyoming cattlemen are citizens of the State of Wyoming, and as owners of private property, are not “stakeholders”. Our private properties are not “premises”.
There is no federal statute that authorizes the USDA to mandate electronic tags so we see this as bureaucratic overreach. It is a costly mandate for farmers and ranchers.
From, Judy McCullough on behalf of the Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming