Update: Tennessee Ag Committee NAIS Hearing

The Tennessee House Ag Committee held a meeting this morning to hear testimony from Jim Acres of the South Eastern Livestock Network (SLN). Formed by the Cattlemen’s Associations of 10 South-Eastern states, SLN aims to make money off cattlemen by managing a database for farms, and by selling RFID tags and readers.

HB 1855 would give the TN Commissioner of Agriculture carte blanche to impose a “voluntary” animal id system in the state. This legislation will guarantee future profits for SLN.

As might be expected, Mr. Acres testimony was vague, and often self-contradictory. The questions from the representatives on the committee were mixed, some on our side. We had packed the 60 seat hearing room to standing room only, and about 2/3 of the seats boasted a red shirt or sweater. Comments from some representatives noted that everyone in red opposed NAIS and seemed to hint they have been receiving large numbers of e-mails and letters against NAIS. Great work!

What can we do at this point?

There are two major “private” supporters of NAIS in Tennessee.

The first is the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association. If you are a member, we would encourage you to cancel that membership with a phone call and/or letter explaining your stance.

The second is Farm Bureau. Thought by many to represent agriculture in Tennessee, Farm Bureau no longer truly represents Tennessee’s family farms. They have, instead, become a shill to front for Big Ag. One legislator once told me that whatever Farm Bureau wants from the Tennessee legislature, they get.

The only place to hurt Farm Bureau is in their pocket book. The easiest way to do that is to cancel our insurance with them and let them know why—then start a state-wide boycott of Farm Bureau Insurance. However, if we encourage people to do this, we must have a place for them to take their policies. This company needs to offer rates that are competitive with Farm Bureau.

Does anyone out there know of such a company? Please e-mail me at once.

There will be more meetings. At the end of today’s meeting Stratton Bone, Ag Committee chairman, stated that they would be hearing from all sides on this issue. While there is some pandering in everything that comes from a politician, we plan on scheduling a meeting so that we can speak before the committee. Please call Representative Bone’s office at (615) 741-7086 and tell him that you want our side heard and a meeting scheduled as soon as possible.

Finally, it is easy to give up. Don’t. It’s not over. There will be more hearings and we will need you there. Please, if at all possible, try to fit this fight into your very busy schedules. Please come to these committee meetings when you get an email about them. We need you with us. Also, you need to keep on hammering the House AND Senate Agriculture Committee members with letters against NAIS in any form, voluntary or not.

Jim Acres kept on repeating the same lie we’ve heard so often before: “Animal identification is inevitable, so we just have to swallow it.”

Communists used the same propaganda trick to demoralize their opponents, always mumbling that “the victory of socialism is inevitable.” Well, today in the ruins of the Soviet empire and in the shambles of socialism world-wide, we see just how “inevitable” socialism was—not at all. The only thing “inevitable” was its eventual destruction, utter defeat, and shameful discrediting.

NAIS did not come down from Mt. Sinai, written on Moses’ stone tablets beside the 10 Commandments. NAIS was hatched in corporate boardrooms by Big Ag, for Big Ag, and of Big Ag.

NAIS is not inevitable—not now, not ever.

The only thing “inevitable” is our defeating NAIS, if we will fight.