National Animal Identification System tramples on our Constitutional rights
RUBY VALLEY, Nev. -- USDA has become the enemy. People who sign up for the National Animal Identification System -- even those who are signed up without their knowledge -- may find that they have signed a "no-knock lease" with the U.S. Department...
RUBY VALLEY, Nev. -- USDA has become the enemy.
People who sign up for the National Animal Identification System -- even those who are signed up without their knowledge -- may find that they have signed a "no-knock lease" with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Who, in their right mind, would sign a paper that allows an outsider to enter their private property unannounced to look for infractions of rules that the owner doesn't even know exist? This very well may be the situation for every NAIS participant.
NAIS is enforced by Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The USDA-APHIS agency in charge of enforcement is the Investigative and Enforcement Service. They come armed with an arsenal of powerful regulatory ammunition. Penalties for noncompliance with USDA regulations range from $50,000 to $500,000 in fines, and up to ten years in prison. IEA caseload has increased by 51 percent, and the dollar value of fines has increased three-fold -- in one year. USDA is serious about enforcing its regulations.
The Constitution requires law enforcement agencies to present "probable cause" evidence to a judge who, if convinced, can issue a warrant that authorizes law enforcement officers to enter private property to search and seize evidence of a crime. By signing up for the NAIS, this Constitutional protection may be waived, and any hope of due process forfeited.
NAIS still is said to be voluntary. But when someone signs up, they become subject to all the rules that already are in place, as well as all the rules that will be adopted in the future. Few people have any idea of what the rules are, and no one knows what rules are yet to be adopted.
People who have signed up for the program should get out. Instructions for withdrawing from NAIS can be found at www.libertyark.net . People who are being coerced to sign up should resist, and send evidence of coercion to their elected representatives. USDA, once a friend of the rancher and farmer, has become an enemy, no longer welcome among the people who earn their living from the soil.
Editor's Note: Smith owns OX Ranch in Ruby Valley, Nev.