Stop National Animal ID

NIAA: PR versus Reality
by Judith McGeary

Public relations (PR) is the art and science of managing communication between an organization and its key publics to build, manage, and sustain its positive image.óWikipedia

As opposition to the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) grows, government and industry officials use glossy brochures and reassuring press releases to try to reassure livestock owners the program is not as bad as we think. Yet government and industry PR materials often contradict the more detailed official documents and leave major questions unanswered.

The National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) is the trade organization that developed the plans for NAIS, building on industry efforts that date back to the late 1980s. So the recent NIAA Animal ID Expo provided a great opportunity to understand some of the contradictions and gaps in the documentation. The USDA, using our tax dollars, was a platinum sponsor ($10,000 or more) of this posh conference, which was also sponsored by technology companies and large agri-businesses such as Tri-Merit/Global Animal Management, Allflex,, and Cargill.

A comprehensive analysis of the misleading and incomplete statements made by the government and industry would take an encyclopedia. So letís look at just some of the PR statements and how they compare to reality.

Judith McGeary is an attorney in Austin, Texas, and the executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, an organization representing independent farmers, ranchers, livestock owners, and homesteaders. This article appeared in the Holiday 2006 issue of Rural Heritage.

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20 November 2006