Log Cabin Chronicles

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Bethany Dunbar reports for the Barton Chronicle, arguably the finest community newspaper in Vermont.]

Opinion: Another bad idea from you-know-who

Barton, Vermont

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is just another example of the current U.S. administration trying to scare the people into giving up their independence and rights.

The Bush administration says it is trying to stamp out terror and disease. Aren't those lofty goals? Think George W. Bush will accomplish them?

The problem is they are impossible goals. But what a great way to scare everyone into compliance with such ridiculous ideas as making birth and death records private, allowing the government to look at records of everyone's library books and book purchases, putting a wall up between the U.S. and Canada. What's next after radio tags in all the animals? Radio tags in all the criminals? Radio tags in everyone? Just to make sure we're safe.

But life isn't safe. Radio tags in the animals won't make life safe. It will just make things much more difficult for those of us who have a few animals and like to raise some of our own food or to buy it from our neighbors. Why are corporate farms exempt from tagging individual animals? What does that say about our federal government's priorities?

The right to information and the right to raise our own food are vital to our society and to our democracy. We don't need a radio tag in every chicken and horse in order to take steps to prevent the spread of disease. It will be in the interests of everyone who has a free-range chicken to help track the avian flu if and when it gets to the United States. Maybe there should be laws about how fowl are kept, how diseases are reported, and other sensible measures. Putting radio tags in all the animals is useless overkill in the same way that a wall between us and Canada would be.

Vermont officials are offering a compromise that seems on its face to make some sense. Premises registration for farm animals in itself is not a bad idea. But is this the first step toward the NAIS plan? There is no guarantee that it's not. The whole issue is something that anyone who prefers locally grown food should keep a close eye on in the future.


Copyright © 2006 Bethany Dunbar/Barton Chronicle/04.06