Children in livestock world face threat of
For over a hundred years, the straight forward communications between brand
inspectors, state veterinarians and livestock producers, proved out as affective
ways to control animal diseases in the United States.
This honorable, affective way to handle serious business, never once
compromised the privacy of livestock producer operations, or used a child to
achieve desired herd protection results.
Then one day - a hundred years later, livestock owners were told,
“The only way to safeguard the health of our state and national livestock
herds, is through registration of your premise and each animal- into a national
database. From there, we will be able to trace back of any and all animals
within 48 hours from the time a disease is discovered.”
At first, the
United States Department of Agriculture tried to mandate registration with
systems they called National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and
The cost of identifying livestock would fall solely on
livestock producers; those individuals who develop herd genetics to breed, born,
and raise livestock to the point of sale to buyers - who then “feed out” the
Once the animal has the desired market weight, it is sold to a packing
company that slaughters and readies the meat for consumer purchase.
livestock producer is a price “receiver,” in that the price of their product is
determined by the buyer. Regardless the retail price of packaged meat, the
livestock producer never shares profit.
Foreign consumers demand superior American meat, and packers fill
Since trade requirements include “geographical indicators...Trademark”,
presumably packers supported this idea of “marked animals;” for they didn’t have
to pay for ID devices and would enjoy margin profits from their
In contrast, the livestock producer would be weighted under the cost
of implementing such devices, and receive no market benefits to offset those
Who would stand to make the biggest profits off identification
devices? The manufacturers. Specially if they could get our government to
mandate purchase of their product.
As the mandatory cloud loomed over cattle
ranchers and other livestock producers, they made known their concerns: Cost,
lack of USDA consultation with them, a dangerously accessible database that held
their personal- Trademarked information, disallowance of pre-existing brand
laws, and USDA’s inability to provide vaccine timely enough to prevent
No livestock owner wants mortality. Animal disposal and herd loss can
devastate their livelihood within days. Recovery possibilities are zilch.
maybe after listening to the livestock owners, the USDA backed off
“mandatory” registrations, and asked instead for “voluntary”
Livestock owners thought the USDA would honor their word and
keep NAIS and Premise ID voluntary. But they didn’t.
appropriations were already in motion, and the recipients were compelled to
Some of these grant monies went to extensions that oversee state fairs.
Quite possibly this presented a new way for USDA to circuitously route back to
“mandating” registration. How? By having state fairs arbitrarily make
Premise ID a forced requirement for any child who wanted to participate in
showing their breeding animals at a fair.
After all, the manufacturers
still had inventory to unload, and packers had foreign markets to serve,
so apparently they put enough pressure on the USDA to open them up to the idea
of using children to peddle their goods.
Exploitation is: To use unfairly for ones own advantage. So please
consider carefully, whether or not the unfair use of our children,
for the conjoined advantages of manufacturers and packers, could be construed as
As a lay person whose goal is to help readers better see the whole picture,
I offer you a brief on the bug, virus, weed and disease history in the
Beginning in 1843, Contagious bovine pleuropneumonia was brought into the
In 1870 the US had its first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and
by 1929 the last of nine outbreaks was eradicated.
And so they marched into
the US; noxious weeds, virus, destructive insects and diseases including Bol
Weevil, Malta fever, Exotic Newcastle; Bovine spongiform encephalophy; Medfly
and Leafy Spurge.
Even though the Tariff Act of 1930 was set to prohibit imports of
meat and animals from countries infected with foot-and-mouth disease, and the
installation of a 1970 high-security quarantine center for animals imported from
countries with FMD and other exotic foreign animal diseases, the errant ones
still pass though our borders.
Are you beginning to see the pattern of
disease introduction via importation?
This brings back the big questions: Why does USDA request
livestock owners, within US borders, identify their animals when it
appears threat of disease outbreak comes from outside our borders?
And in spite of this hundred year disease stream into America, brand
inspectors and state veterinarians continue doing a terrific job keeping our
herds safe without any national database of animal and premise
If animal identification is a voluntary program for adults, why are they
mandating it on our children? To pad “sign up” numbers so federal grant
dollars will flow freely? To be little merchandisers of identification
devices? To provide Trademark qualifications for packers?
I don’t see any connection between these actions by USDA and state fair
directors, - and control of animal diseases. Do you?
Don’t they remind you of those unsavory hawkers who would troll low
income neighborhoods, pick up a car load of kids, drive them to upper crust
communities and dump them out to sell candy bars, wrapping paper or salted
Exploitation of children. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has
agents who sit at computers 24-7, looking for pedophiles,
pornographers, anyone...who breaks the law by exploiting a child. When found,
they’re held accountable for their actions, and prosecuted to the letter of the
Any state that is sincere in wanting to keep animals within disease
free, should demand the USDA work with them in the following ways:
1) Prevention: Be pro-active and vaccinate all cattle, before they get a
disease. Israel does this and it works! The goal should always be to “save
2) Aggressively work at borders to stop disease, virus, bug, weed from
entering the US.
3) USDA could pay for preventive vaccine. Pre-vaccination would eliminate
need for animal ID, because our animals would be protected.
4) Set up an emergency preparedness plan, whereby state veterinarians,
brand inspectors, and a first responder team, could immediately activate
whatever action is deemed necessary including: Draw a control zone and
vaccinate or quarantine - within 6 hours of call for need.
5) Acknowledge pre-existing brands as recognizable identifications, and
honor the continuation of communication between brand inspectors, state
veterinarians and livestock owners.
The USDA should shift their money and focus to pre-vaccine and vaccine
The additional benefits of pre-vaccinated herds include: Counter terrorist
actions; preserve genetics and seedstock; the assurance America never
suffers loss of international trade due to one diseased animal.
4-H and FFA programs are supposed to be safe environments where youngsters
can learn skills that will serve them well as responsible, productive
Maintaining disease free herds for over a hundred years never
once involved compromising the privacy of a livestock producers operation,
or abusing a child.
Now that you’re aware of what we face in trying to
protect our children in the livestock world, won’t you please join us and
help stop the exploitation of our children?
Please call your county
commissioners, state fair board directors, extension agents, state
representatives and senators, and demand: “We will not allow you to hold
our children hostage in your program of exploitation! Free them right
Roni Bell Sylvester
P.O. Box 155
La Salle, CO
April 25, 2008