Tennessee NAIS Bill

The following bill was filed in February 2006 by Rep. Frank Niceley.

Filed for intro on 02/22/2006
By Burchett


By Niceley

AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 44, Chapter 7, relative to animal identification.

WHEREAS, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the goal of the National Animal identification System (NAIS) program using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags is to register every farm and every domesticated animal (including non-food animals such as horses) in a centralized database; and

WHEREAS, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), composed primarily of large corporate producers and the makers and producers of animal identification equipment, lobbied the USDA to create the NAIS supposedly to protect U.S. citizens and their animals from disease; and

WHEREAS, in April 2002 a task force composed of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and over 30 livestock organizations created the proposed NAIS, while small-scale farmers involved in animal husbandry and animal hobbyists were not represented; and

WHEREAS, farming is an honorable occupation and a right of all Tennessee citizens, and

WHEREAS to protect the food supply of Tennessee and the United States from terrorism or disease it may be necessary to require Tennessee farmers to use an Animal Identification System that ensures less than 48 hour trace-back of any diseased animal, nevertheless such a system first, must not rob Tennessee citizens of their existing common law rights; second, cost farmers, stockyards, producers, processors, and consumers the least possible expense; third, leave Tennesseans secure in their privacy; and fourth, fit into the existing marketing structures of the Tennessee livestock industry without disruption, and

WHEREAS, metal ear tags like those used to eradicate Brucellosis and Tuberculosis in the State of Tennessee cost only pennies and have already proven effective in eradicating disease, and

WHEREAS Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags are many times as expensive as metal tags, untested, vulnerable to breakdown, defeat, and falsification, require expensive reading equipment, and do not constitute a reliable alternative for the Tennessee livestock industry,


SECTION 1 Definitions. As used herein, unless the context otherwise requires:

a. “Point of Entry Into Commerce” means sales at a stockyard, sale barn, or sale facility. It also denotes sales where the number of animals sold will constitute a “truckload” or more, whether sold to in-state or out-of-state buyers. Point of Commerce shall not include farmer-to-farmer sales or direct farmer-to-consumer sales.

SECTION 2. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 44, Chapter 7, is amended by adding the following as a new, appropriately designated part:
Section 44-7-501. At no time shall department of agriculture funds or any other state funds be appropriated to implement the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

SECTION 3: All animals entering the point of entry into commerce shall be tagged on the ear with a metal tag containing a fifteen digit number consistent with the proposed NAIS, identifying at least the seller and the animal.

SECTION 4: For purposes of Section 3, no seller of any animal may be required to register his farm or premises as a precondition of selling said animal.

SECTION 5: For purposes of Section 3, those animals sold by the truckload in private sales or cooperative sales must be tagged by the purchaser of said animals, not the seller. If the purchaser of said animals fails to tag them they shall be fined not more than $50.00 per animal.

SECTION 6: Information collected when tagging animals at the point of entry into commerce shall be forwarded to the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for processing, analysis, storage, and trace-back.

SECTION 7: For purposes of Section 6, purchasers at the point of entry into commerce are not required to gather or forward data to APHIS until APHIS is prepared to accept that data. Should APHIS fail to make itself able to accept and manage the livestock tagging data, the Legislature may decide who in Tennessee will manage that data.

SECTION 8: No animals except those sold for food at a point of entry into commerce shall be required to be tagged in the State of Tennessee.

SECTION 9: No livestock producer in the state of Tennessee shall be denied veterinary or other services or medication, feed, goods, or any other needs because that producer’s livestock is not tagged, unless that producer is attempting to enter the animal into the point of entry into commerce.

SECTION 10. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.