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Ranchers Have Beef With USDA Program To ID Cattle 376

Ponca City, We Love You writes "The NY Times reports that farmers and ranchers oppose a government program to identify livestock with microchip tags that would allow the computerized recording of livestock movements from birth to the slaughterhouse. Proponents of the USDA's National Animal Identification System say that computer records of cattle movements mean that when a cow is discovered with bovine tuberculosis or mad cow disease, its prior contacts can be swiftly traced. Ranchers say the extra cost of the electronic tags places an onerous burden on a teetering industry. Small groups of cattle are often rounded up in distant spots and herded into a truck by a single person who could not simultaneously wield the hand-held scanner needed to record individual animal identities. The ranchers also note that there is no Internet connection on many ranches for filing to a regional database. 'Lobbyists from corporate mega-agribusiness designed this program to destroy traditional small sustainable agriculture,' says Genell Pridgen, an owner of Rainbow Meadow Farms. The notion of centralized data banks, even for animals, has also set off alarms among libertarians who oppose NAIS. One group has issued a bumper sticker that reads, 'Tracking cattle now, tracking you soon.' 'They can't comprehend the vastness of a ranch like this,' says Jay Platt, the third-generation owner of a 22,000 acre New Mexico ranch. 'This plan is expensive, it's intrusive, and there's no need for it.'"
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Ranchers Have Beef With USDA Program To ID Cattle

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  • Sigh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <Satanicpuppy.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:02PM (#28535387) Journal

    Nothing ever changes. This is the exact argument that they made in the 1900's when the FDA was first trying to reduce the number of human body parts that made it into canned meat: "Waaaaaa, you're going to put us out of business! Waaaaaaaa, no one could ever collect this much information!"

    I call BS. If I stole a cow from one of those giant farms, the damn rancher'd be able to identify it in a second, but the instant you want to track something for public safety reasons, "there is no way they could ever collect that information."

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:03PM (#28535395)
    You're an idiot if you think all ranchers have "those giant farms."
  • Re:Let it collapse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pavon ( 30274 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:07PM (#28535455)

    You are an idiot who can't even RTFS. This regulation would hurt the small sustainable ranchers who are teetering on the edge of being able to compete, while benefiting the large-scale industry that you abhor.

  • by decipher_saint ( 72686 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:07PM (#28535457)

    I'd pay more for them to change the way they do business rather than DIE from consuming their PRODUCT.

    But you know me, I'm funny that way.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:10PM (#28535503)

    Right now if a ranch has a serious infection they can quietly dispose of the corpses and obviously infected. If there's a government database it becomes pretty obvious if way too few cattle make it to market from a ranch.

    Also, it makes it obvious if someone tries to market a cow they didn't purchase, that perhaps strayed onto their land (it does happen, especially in areas with open grazing permits).

  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:11PM (#28535519) Homepage

    'Tracking cattle now, tracking you soon.'

    Ha! As if. Look, we grant cattle no rights, so it's not infringing their rights to have them be tracked. So it's a far step from there to tracking humans. It's like saying "Squashing spiders with slippers today, squashing people with slippers soon'. It's nonsensical. Besides, the reason cows have no rights is because they aren't capable of even thinking about the concept of rights much less engaging in protests etc to gain them. So not only are they different morally, they're different practically because it's not like the government could just come and start tracking us all without us noticing and burning down the Capitol.

    Hmm? What do you mean "what's that hanging from my ear?" Some piece of plastic with a number on it? Well so there is! Geeze, I don't remember getting my ear pierced, but I did get pretty drunk last Friday... I remember somebody in a suit pointing at me and then I felt like I wanted to lie down... But I must have gone into the tattoo and piercing parlor and gotten pierced. With a tacky and crappy earring too, that doesn't seem to want to come off... I hope I didn't get tattooed too... Oh geeze, what the hell?! "19273g"? What the hell kind of tattoo is that? Alright that's it, no more Friday night benders for me.

    Now what was I saying? Oh yeah. Some people are so paranoid!

  • Re:Let it collapse (Score:2, Insightful)

    by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:14PM (#28535547) Journal

    Just like testing all cows for MCD would also destroy the industry, because any positive would kill exports and greatly impact domestic consumption.

    So we only test a small percentage of pre-selected cows and get no positive results.

    Problem solved.

    And since we know in advance that the cows won't test positive, there is no reason to tag them.

  • Re:Let it collapse (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:15PM (#28535557)
    That's fine, we abhor you too.

    -The Meat Industry.
  • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:18PM (#28535579)
    Did he work alone? Ever? I remember trying to single handedly round up cattle for transport, even to fairs, back when I was growing up. No way in hell I could get them in a wagon by myself, let alone scan them while trying to keep them loading on. Plus then of course you have to take into account the cost of the scanner, internet connectivity, consumables (tags), it IS a lot of administrative burden. A lot of farmers in our area have themselves, maybe one kid helping them, and that's it.
  • by w3woody ( 44457 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:18PM (#28535581) Homepage
    "Tracking cattle now, tracking you soon." Too late; I already have a cell phone. I'm already being tracked.
  • Re:Hmmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:20PM (#28535609) Homepage Journal

    Yep, a reader mounted to where the cattle passes by as gthey load it onto the truck and an access database could easily do this from anyone with less then 200 head.

    The data could be uploaded with a dial up connection in minutes. Is that too much? fine next time you drive to town use the connection at the library, or get together with all the ranchers and donate a 1 Mbit line to city hall, with he provision they get a terminal to themselves so there isn't a line to upload the data. Still too much? fine, use data packets from a ham radio to a receiver.

    Still too much? fine, go out of business.

  • Re:Hmmm. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Buelldozer ( 713671 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:26PM (#28535681)

    What if "updating every week or so" meant driving 40 miles into town, one way, to use someone elses Internet connection? Now what if it's a verified blizzard outside with temperatures of 0F, 50MPH winds, and 10" of snow on the ground? What if your wife and kids are sick and there's no one else to get the chores done or help them out while you drive your happy butt 40 miles through a blizzard to send the government some bullshit data that the cattle ranchers in China don't?

    My point is this, don't automatically assume an Internet connection is convenient or even available.

    You likely live in an urban area and have no concept of how much free space there are in some of these cattle herding states. Like most people you're unable to step outside your own life experience and imagine the difficulties that someone else would have.

    My next question is are we going to demand this for all IMPORTERS of beef or is this a burden that only good 'ol U.S. Ranchers are going to have to bear?

  • Re:Tracking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bunny Guy ( 1345017 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:27PM (#28535691)

    O.K - having just returned from my vacation in Oregon "cow country" (prospecting for sunstones), I can clue you in on what's wrong with your world view.

    Having looked at the program - the information they are trying to gain is - where has the cow been, and what other livestock has it associated with. This means that you have to read the chip and report, every time an animal is moved. It may happen more frequently, but moves would happen at least from high to low pastures and back - because of the weather.

    So you have lots of reads, sometimes on small numbers of cattle. For the collected information to be useful it's got to be timely. Most people don't appreciate the scale of even eastern Oregon (much less New Mexico - I've lived in both). This leads up to the next problem -

    THERE IS NO CELLULAR ACCESS - there isn't cell access for 100 miles in any direction from where I was. Heck, even the 162.XX weather radio was inaudable (I'm a ham, too) So much for your "low cost cellular scanner". Sat Radio would work - know what an irridium set with data costs? Not cheap, and every hand moving cattle has to have one.

    Basically, it's clear that this rule was proposed by people who don't have a clear picture of the area they are asking this to be applied to - much less of the processes of the people who would actually do it.

  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:29PM (#28535725) Journal

    The issues of tracking cattle are going to be similar to tracking humans. They will learn from this project, so that the one that gets deployed on us will be much less error prone. In fact, people are probably easier to model (very habitual as everyone has a schedule for themselves) whereas a herd has a less rigid schedule.

    I wouldn't even call this a slippery slope. This is a stepping stone. It would only be a slippery slope if the lessons learned did not have any applicability to humans. But they do.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:39PM (#28535817)

    Meanwhile, the small ranches, and single family farmhouses that have cattle for tax purposes will be forced to pony up the money for this technology at their farm. What, you only have a few head of cattle? Too bad... Unless you plan on never selling your cattle, EVER, you're going to have to join the club and I bet you hand over fist that expense is coming out of your pocket. The ROI on owning a few head (10) cattle is extremely small from an economic standpoint. Naturally the ROI increases as your numbers increase since you then have infrastructure for it.

    And as far as disease is concerned? We've had, what, 1 cow test positive recently, READ 1, for BSE (Mad-Cow Disease to you non-Ag. people) in the U.S, out of ~90Million cattle. Your gonna tell me that implementing THIS technology is going to stop greedy individuals who like to cut corners and use cheap contaminated/BAD FEED? I don't think so.

    There is a WHOLE other side to why the big ranches want this technology implemented, and it has nothing to do with tracking disease.

  • Why bother (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NotSoHeavyD3 ( 1400425 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:43PM (#28535865)
    I mean since everyone seems to not know this mad cow disease is actually extremely rare. So rare that there are no known cases being caused by US, New Zealand, Canadian, or Australian beef the last time I checked.(Mostly because it's so cheap to feed cows here in the US corn and grass, beef producers generally don't bother feeding them that ground up animal garbage or if they do only at the very end. Outlaw that practice and you wouldn't have to worry.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:43PM (#28535867)

    Markets don't work without transparency, if people are fine eating GMO fine, but they should be able to, but it shouldn't infringe on the right of other people to not eat it. I see no reason why beef is any different in that respect.

    You do have a right to know where your beef comes from every step of the way...if you're willing to pay for it. If enough people buy meat that has been tracked, all ranchers will track their cows so as to remain competitive. THAT is how markets work (see the bulk of dairy products with "No Growth Hormones" labels on them). Not via whatever legislation the lobby of the month has flashed in front of a Senator on the golf course.

  • It 1) Improved public perception of the safety of meat, increasing sales,

    Forget perception. It improved the safety, and quality, of meat full stop.

    The reality is that the food industry as a whole needs these regulations. Left to their own devices, food producers will quite happily sell us sawdust and animal faeces to eat, feed dead cows to other cows, and buy, sell and slaughter sick, dying and dead animals that have been hauled across continents. All for a few pennies extra.

    BSE would not have happened if their was regulation of the kind of practices the meat industry was using. The Gros Michel banana would still be on shelves if anyone had had the sense to put a stop to the homogenisation in the fruit industry. Swine Flu's resistance to medication is the direct result of feeding battery farmed pigs anti-biotics instead of reducing pig density.

    The food industry cannot, will not and should not ever be allowed to regulate itself. While microchip tags seem frivolously sophisticated for a task that plastic ear tags have accomplished successfully for years, the concept of cattle IDs is an appropriate measure to control disease, improve meat safety and generally keep a tighter leash on an industry that should never be allowed to roam freerange.

  • Re:Regulation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pizzach ( 1011925 ) <pizzach.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @06:53PM (#28535995) Homepage

    If (relatively inexpensive) safety measures put all the mom and pop companies out of business, then they had no business being in business.

    Fixed your quote for you. You can't hide that you hate everyone's parents now.

  • Re:Hmmm. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by networkBoy ( 774728 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:01PM (#28536099) Journal

    Uploading data, you are right, it is very small. A few hundred bits per cow is all that would be needed. Even a old 300 baud modem could upload all the data relatively quickly.

    Except that this is a government program, so rather than a simple data format, tailored to the job, it will be WTF worthy XML from hell that has a 200:1 ratio of formatting overhead and spurious data that could be sent once and stored at the server, but will be sent every time. Further, rather than lumping the data like so:

    <herd="some rancher">
            <head="cow number 1"/>
            <head="cow number 2"/>
            <head="cow number n"/>

    it will be along the lines of:

    <herd="some rancher">
            <head="cow number 1"/>
    <herd="some rancher">
            <head="cow number 2"/>
    <herd="some rancher">
            <head="cow number n"/>


  • Re:Let it collapse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zippyspringboard ( 1483595 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:15PM (#28536255)
    My understanding is that the current plan is to allow large corporate operations, that move large numbers of animals around at a time, to identify them as a "unit" While smaller farmers who don't source from a single location, nor sell to a single location will be required to chip each animal. This is one advantage this gives the corporate process. Add in the registration process and all the various laws and fees that are sure to accompany the process, and its probably going to place a pretty hefty and disproportionate burden on the small farmer who has only a few critters. (or at least that is their fear) For example a $500 fee to register a property probably wouldn't phase a large corporate operation, but the guy who sells me my eggs and has only a dozen chickens probably isn't going to pony up the $500. Personally I think a good look at many of the large corporations that handle our food, and the type of hardball they can and do play, make Micro$oft look pretty warm and fuzzy.
  • Re:Tracking (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bunny Guy ( 1345017 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:27PM (#28536393)

    SPOT - Nice system - I may have to get me one of those...

    An adapted device could be hand-held and run on AA batteries. Just add the RFID scanner, rudimentary code to filter/format the data, and it's good.

    Now, I'm an instrument developer by day, and I've built systems like that (more primitive tech, but when in New Mexico - shoot rockets...). I know what it takes to do that kind of integration -- If I was a rancher in the western U.S., before I agreed to anything - I'd want to see at least two vendors showing systems. Because of the radically lower demand (lots fewer ranchers than hikers) and the customization - add a zero to the price - so it's ~2000. *per ranch hand*. That fits right into the "they are tryin' to run us out" way of thinking.

    That said, if I was wandering around out there, I'd like one... cool toy....

  • Re:Let it collapse (Score:3, Insightful)

    by yndrd1984 ( 730475 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:30PM (#28536423)

    Plus, if you don't like it you can choose not to support the slave industry...

    Well, as long as nobody is forced to support it, there isn't a slave industry.

  • Re:Regulation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by wurble ( 1430179 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:40PM (#28536543)
    Umm, what does the Flu, a VIRUS, have to do with antibiotics, which are treatment for BACTERIAL infections?
  • Re:Let it collapse (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @07:46PM (#28536607)
    Since the USDA is also subsidizing corn, soy, wheat, oats, etc. I don't think it matters that you don't eat one class of food subsidized by the USDA. Vegetarians might not like that the animal meat industry is getting handouts from the USDA, but I'm not all that excited about the USDA making Soy cheaper for Tofu manufacturers so it all comes out in the wash.
  • by Curunir_wolf ( 588405 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @08:28PM (#28536967) Homepage Journal

    CO2 is not a pollutant. We have real pollution we should be dealing with, that would actually have a deterministic impact on improving the environment. Instead, some want this giant new market for Wall Street to play around in that will most likely increase the US dependence on imports.

    Then you're also supporting some huge new "track every edible product everywhere" scheme, which is nothing but a boon to giant corporate farming that will kill off farmer's markets and roadside vegetable/fruit stands (not to mention small sales at small farms). You know, place where you actually buy food from the people that pulled it out of the ground.

    Sell crazy somewhere else. We've got all we need around here.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crmarvin42 ( 652893 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @08:36PM (#28537017)
    I understand what you are trying to say but you are misunderstanding the actual situation. The time and cost/animal to tag will be fairly uniform. Yeah the large operation may be able to buy tags for less/tag but the difference will be relatively minor. Especially since the smaller operations are already paying more for just about all of the input costs per animal.

    Their point is only valid if you truely believe that there is some sort of benefit to society in their running a less efficient operation. Large operations have the benefits of scale, but what benefits do we get from the smaller operations? They can get away with avoiding a lot of the environmental and safety regulations that exist because the governement regulates the large operators more aggresively. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not safer, more sustainable, or healthier.

    I don't believe that any of these people are greedy or lazy, instead I tend to think of them as being less ambitious or fortunate. They either haven't tried to expand to take advantage of greater economies of scale, or have been unable to. Either way, that doesn't remove the net benefit to society and their industry if this kind of animal tagging becomes routine, which IMO outweigh their desire to avoid compliance. I say this as a member of the agriculture industry, although admitedly not a farmer myself.
  • Re:Tracking (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcnnghm ( 538570 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @08:42PM (#28537047)

    You need to learn how to do a cost benefit analysis. There have only ever been 3 cases of mad cow disease in cows (1 of which was imported from Canada), and 3 in people (one of which contracted the disease while living in Saudi Arabia) in the United States since 1993. There were 104.8 Million head of cattle in the United States on July 1, 2007. So by your estimate, it will only cost $15.7B upfront, then another $15.7B every year. That's the equivalent of spending almost $84B per diseased cow, quite unnecessarily, since we're only detecting, on average, one diseased cow every 64 months. It makes no sense to piss away over $170B over the next 10 years when current measures are already effective.

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @08:49PM (#28537081)

    Here is the funny part, there are already numbered tags on the animals which can be used to track them. There is no need for this program. The monitoring in the healthy period regulation can show when sick animals arrive. If that isn't working, then a RFID tag isn't going to fix it. This is nothing more then wanting to know exactly where the animals go so they can tax potential revenue sources even when the revenue is a bale of hay.

    That, and, I promise you this, some congressmen on an agricultural subcommittee has a brother in law (or he himself) with a sizeable investment in an RFID company. A company who, suprisingly, will be the front runner for providing the RFID tags should this ever come to fruition.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @08:56PM (#28537145)

    Health of cattle eaters should always be placed before the health of the cattle industry.

  • Re:Regulation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by khallow ( 566160 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2009 @10:01PM (#28537675)
    If it's putting companies out of business, then it's not "relatively inexpensive", is it?
  • Re:Sigh. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shiftless ( 410350 ) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @01:08AM (#28538739) Homepage

    Ok, no one is entitled to an ability to raise cattle for sale to the public profitably.

    What the fuck? Is this Soviet Russia, or the U.S., supposed home of the free? It's getting harder and harder to tell the difference these days with people like you running your mouth. You're god damn right every man has the right to raise cattle (or operate any other reasonable, commonplace enterprise) without being strangled out of business by ridiculous regulations.

    Their is no inherent value to society in the continued existence of unsafe farms just because they are smaller.

    Ridiculous. There is nothing about small farms that makes them "unsafe." If anything, it's the ridiculously huge mega farms that are often causing unsafe conditions by cutting corners to squeeze every dime out of the farm. This legislation is feel good bullshit that won't do a damn thing to actually improve safety. One thing it will do for sure is drive nails in the coffins of poor farmers that are already struggling to get by.

    The little farms are not really competition, what is 10 head compared to 1,000 head really?

    Well for every mega-farm with a thousand cattle, there's a thousand smaller farms with ten (or more) cattle. 94% of the nation's farms are small farms, those grossing less than $250k per year.

    Besides, the point of these tags is ... to minimize the potential spread of all sorts of infection between cattle as well as between cattle and humans. One of the more problematic infections that crops up periodically is Hoof and Mouth ... Any farm with a confirmed case of Hoof and mouth is immediately quaranteened and depopulated with the Government buying all of the animals at well below market value.

    If it's that dangerous, then how are the RFID tags going to solve anything? Are you going to risk only culling 10% of the herd when one comes up with hoof and mouth, just because your magic RFID reader says that "should" be all that is needed? This is a false sense of security. What happens when a neglectful farmer (or other individual involved with reading RFID tags) fucks up or slacks off on his job, or worse yet, fudges numbers to make it appear that the infection is limited when in fact it's widespread? So they cull part of the herd and unknowingly send other infected cattle off to the slaughterhouse. The only way to be SURE is to test each of the cattle--or to simply kill them all off, which is cheaper and easier in the end anyway.

    In short, once again: this legislation will do NOTHING to improve safety, while at the same time tacking on a bunch of unnecessary bullshit red tape to what ought to be a simple profession, thus driving half the small farm owners out of business. Great move, assholes!

  • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by civilizedINTENSITY ( 45686 ) on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @05:10AM (#28539905)

    Beef ranching in the western US does not work the way you think it does. Much of the basic logistics of it have not changed much since the 19th century.

    So then maybe its about time?

  • Re:Actual costs? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 01, 2009 @09:05AM (#28541135)

    1. The cost of the tag may be $6 at this time (for cattle only). A horse is $20. A goat (tail web) is $20. It is illegal in the state of Illinois to inject my own critters, therefore I must pay a vet to come out and do it - $60 per hour + sedation for the donkey (lumbar insertion required). We sat down with our vet and figured out the cost. 12 chickens, 37 goats, 2 steer and 1 donkey (guard). Our cost (including scanner, second computer ($900 - seizable under statute if we are missing a chicken - don't want the rest of our personal data taken), etc. )was $4,024 dollars to implement. Our entire feed/vet bill last year was $3,012.

    The governments own study done by KSU states that 100 cows = $17 dollars per head. 50 cows = $60 per head. 10 cows = $81 per head. Now seeing that according to the NASS 80% of the cattle produced in this country come from 1 - 49 head - who will be affected? Small producers. (see #4 below).

    2. The 840 tags are not removable and re-usable. Under Federal Statute they may only be removed at the time of slaughter by the slaughter house or by the "stakeholder" to whom the livestock belongs if slaughtered on "premises". It is a class 4 Felony to remove the tags.

    3. This is not about the "cows" rights - this is about my rights as a livestock owner to continue our very small operation which provides 90% of our meat and dairy products. This in effect would cause us to lose $12K worth of milk per year. We don't feed anyone else but ourselves.

    4. If this is such an "imperative program" why are the "large producers" exempt. Ever seen 1 million chickens - they are exempt. Large producers will use a "group lot number" - no individual tagging or reporting. What exactly is the definition of a "large producer" - seems the USDA forgot to set a number.

    5. This program stops at slaughter. Once the head is removed, the carcass becomes just more "meat" in the pile. Now how is one going to determine - since testing takes place on the MEAT - if it is AIN 840-xxx-xxx-xxx-xx1 or AIN-840-xxx-xxx-xxx-xx2 that caused the issue? One needs to work these things out before implemting the program.

    6. If my livestock never leaves my farm, then I have the "honor" of just registering my Real Property as a "Premises" (look in Blacks Law Dictionary for the problem there). But if I need to take my critter to the vet - can't, slaughterhouse - can't, bring on new breeding stock - can't. HOWEVER according to Illinois Statute I will be committing a Class 4 Felony if I do not take the critter to the vet.....catch 22.

    The issue is this: This program has not been well thought out. Looks good on paper for exporters, but not for the little guy. Whenever you can get over 30,0000 Americans to go to a Federal Website and register their complaints/concerns it is pretty amazing.

    The USDA should increase the safety of the food supply by:

    1. Actually inspecting critters at the borders (less than 0.05% are actually looked at now).
    2. Actually inspect the livestock being presented for slaughter.
    3. Use the Disease programs in place now (Illinois has been disease free for many of these diseases for decades).
    4. Not depend on the magic Rfid tag to create a +3 "Shield of Disease Resistance" on MY livestock.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan