Stable Environment

National Animal Identification System

What is the NAIS? NAIS is a system of registry for all animals in the USA, so that each animal can be traced to its local farm of origin. Small local herds can then be exterminated when the big meat packers need somewhere to pass the blame for food-caused illness due to unsanitary conditions in giant feedlots and meat packing plants. NAIS was a lobby effort by a majority of animal ID companies that pushed the USDA into thinking this was a good idea. NAIS is being pushed through state legislatures this year. Its backers are groups such as the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, made up of the largest food corporations. NAIS is the end result of factory-farming our food.

What does it require? Every property in the USA with animals, will have to register as a “premises.” Each registered premises will have to register & tag all cattle, bison, emus, goats, equines, llamas, sheep, swine, poultry, etc., raised for sale, or simply being transported off the property. All movements off the farm, including trail rides and every time you show your horse, must be reported.

Isn’t it voluntary? Though currently in a voluntary stage, the USDA “Draft Strategic Plan” makes it mandatory for everyone in 2008. “Mandatory” means that they will fine or jail you if you refuse to comply (the Texas version includes a $1000 per day fine for non-compliance). No one will be able to seek veterinary care, transport, sell, or process animals without registry. 

Who will bear the burden of NAIS? Small farmers. Every animal will have to be tagged or micro-chipped. Small farms have to pay for a separate number for each animal, plus veterinary fees; corporations with over 100,000 animals can list all under one number. NAIS will put yet another cost disadvantage on small farmers, and will make local agriculture less competitive with the giant ag corporations. Many small farmers are already estimating the NAIS will put them out of business. This means our sources of local, pasture-raised meat and poultry will disappear.

Will NAIS keep our food supply secure? What’s secure about millions of cows kept all together in feedlots, where they are vulnerable to bio-attack, where their immune systems are compromised, where “superbugs” multiply? Our food would be more secure if our meat was raised in small, local herds and flocks that are safe from confinement-spread disease. Food animal producers already have a trace-back system in place, which is how they are warned or fined for such things as illegal drug residues. Micro-chips are trackable but also hackable. Other problems are inherent with the technology, such as transponder performance, inability to ensure unique ID codes, and lack of manufacturers' accountability NAIS will not stop illegal imports of animals, or wild animal roaming, both of which could spread disease as readily as any domestic animal could. Mad cow - stated as one major reason for this program - is not 'contagious'.  

Where could this lead? As an open-ended law there is no telling what could be added to it over time. Many are disturbed about its inroads on property rights and the right to grow food.

Is it legal?
NAIS is clearly not constitutional - violating amendments 1, 4, 5, and 14 of the United States Constitution. Go to for more info and to read an attorney's well-researched explanation of the problems with NAIS.

What can we do?
- Contact your state veterinary office and complain.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
- Get your stock association, trail or 4-H club, horse council, etc. working on this.
- Call your state senators and representatives. Tell them you oppose NAIS.