National Animal Identification System (NAIS)

With all the other changes Obama has enacted in such a short time after taking office, people would be wise to keep an eye on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) to see if this becomes a federally mandated program over the next year. As it stands right now, it is a voluntary program, but we all know how that goes!

As a matter of fact, The state of Wisconsin actually implemented the animal identification program a few years ago when all this started. Right now they REQUIRE all farms and even homes that own livestock (even including one or two chickens) to register. You do not have to participate in the ID program (electronic eartags and injectable transponders) YET. Their website states that:

“Livestock,” as defined by the WI Premises Registration Act Rules

· bovine (bison, cattle)
· equine (horses, donkeys, mules)
· goats
· poultry (chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, guinea fowl, and squab)
· captive game birds (pheasants, quail, wild turkeys, migratory wildfowl, pigeons, and exotic birds,)
· sheep
· swine (other than wild hogs but including pot belly pigs)
· farm raised deer (elk, moose, caribou, reindeer, and the subfamily musk deer)
· camelids (llamas, alpacas)
· ratites (rheas, ostriches, emu, cassowary, kiwi)
· fish (aquaculture farm)

Furthermore, the website says:

“Livestock premises registration means that any location where livestock congregate – family farm, hobby farm, backyard poultry flocks, veterinary clinics, markets, livestock feedlots, livestock dealers and haulers – provides to a central database an address, contact person and list of species. The location gets a unique number.”

Does this mean you’d have to report the three chickens you have in the backyard as PETS or that you keep for eggs? YES!

If you want to verify this information or read more, you can visit the Wisconsin Animal Identification website at:

Again, currently registration is REQUIRED of all farms, homes, etc. even where these animals are raised as a hobby, but the ID chips are voluntary.

I believe the program in Wisconsin is being done partly to see how it will work on a national scale and to see how well people will comply with the requirements. Once they have all the “bugs worked out,” so to speak, I believe this will be a federally mandated program on a national scale.

In the Frequently Asked Questions section, one of the questions seemed especially telling to me:

Q. Can I discontinue participation in NAIS after I register my premises?

A. NAIS continues to be a voluntary program at the Federal level, and has established a procedure for premises registration removal. Because individual States and Tribes are responsible for registering premises, requests for such a removal must be submitted through your State animal health official or State NAIS administrator, who will decide whether to authorize the request.

So even though it’s voluntary, once you’re registered, they will have to authorize a request not to participate in the future. Hmmm…. So once they have a record of you and your animals, you have lost your options about whether to register or not. That doesn’t sound so voluntary to me.

Let’s keep an eye on this proposed plan to “keep American consumers safe.” While I want to know that my food is not diseased, the best way to do this is to BUY LOCALLY and raise your own food when possible!!

Sonya Haskins


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