Since the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) has been discussed on this site by Jerry Salyer and Susan McWilliams, I want to mention that last month the program (after a $120+ million investment) was pulled by the USDA.  It has been renamed, and is being re-studied and re-worked—so reports of its death are premature.

Still, while the government’s IT system and numbering program remain in place for what is now the “animal disease traceability framework,” the requirement that all producers participate–including those raising just their own meat or selling only in-state–has been dropped.  This is good news for small farmers, and will not increase the danger of tainted meat reaching your grocery.  (That danger exists, but it is not due to the failure to implement national cow-tagging.)

Those interested can wade through the government’s FAQ’s page here.  The USDA does plan to trace animals sold across State borders, and expects to issue revised regulations next winter, to be administered by the States and not the feds.  So we’ll see.

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Katherine Dalton
Katherine Dalton has worked as a magazine editor, freelance feature writer and book editor.  She started in journalism in college, working at The Yale Literary Magazine during most of its controversial few years as a national magazine of opinion based at Yale.  She then worked briefly at Harper's magazine in New York, and more extensively at Chronicles magazine in Illinois, where she was a contributing editor for many years.  She has has written for various publications ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the University Bookman, and was a contributor to Wendell Berry: Life and Work and Localism in the Mass Age: A Front Porch Republic Manifesto.  She lives in her native Kentucky.


  1. The NAIS and its ADTF can KMA. Unless, of course, they plan on outfitting the bovine with recycled garden furniture fabric sunbrella diapers in gaily patterned colors that can be packaged and sold as Holistic Garden Amendments (HGA) for the GWC (Gullible Witless Consumer) in their local IGA.

    There are no doubt, at least six existing regulations that already address this issue quite well enough.

    Would that the Government spend as much time on a Money Lost Down the Rathole of Waste Traceability Network (MLDRWTN).

  2. I love how the name became a sort of scare tactic –“Animal Disease Traceability Framework.” It’s a wonder that the Monsanto puppet masters didn’t have their USDA lackeys name it the Database to Prevent the Spread of Mad Cow Disease on Small Farms. Government naming has become a sort of shrine to misinformation, manipulation, and doublespeak.

  3. Bob, the Democratic USDA is what backed down from NAIS… it was the Bush USDA that was gung-ho for this.

    And, it was _always_ about scare tactics… scare tactics to fool the public, but in private another Statist boon to Agri-business: increase barriers to entry, and dig the moat around animal production a little deeper to keep the burgeoning local farms off the grid. And, I remind you again, that was the Republican plan.

    To be sure, we’ll see this again rebranded and repackaged under the democrats; but let’s stop the nonsense that Republicans safeguard anything of value.

  4. My dear Marchmaine, I have diligently searched and searched my above declarative sentence and I can not find the word “Republican” anywhere in it.

    I would think that any careful analysis of even the RINO/Neocon administration of Bush the Lessor (truly an embarrassment to republicans of any stripe) and our nearly documented Kenyan-racialist Marxist president would indicate a wide “difference” in any number of categories related to, for example, liberty.

    I fear you, Patrick, DW and any number of FPR interlocutors are having your problems with recapturing reality in opposition to its contemporary deformations particularly the radicalization of the Democrat Party. And, I think its the underlying reason why we find so few in depth critiques or analysis of the commie-dems, e.g. as “distributists” (Catholic or otherwise) simply because “you people” require, or believe you require, the assumed supports and protections proffered by a centralized gummint.

    Something of a paradox, I agree, consequently I’m trying to work through an analysis of why those advocating the “local” and “Christian” are so defensive and protective of an Arbenesque centralized regime who by definition seeks to eclipse divine reality.
    Perhaps in Arendt I may find that attitude or mindset embraced by the pre-Holocaust Jews that had the deleterious effect of enabling the NAZI regime in its pogroms of slaughter.

    The commie-dems have the very great problem of being, in a Voegelinian sense “less than human.” In destroying the transcendent pole of the tension of existence they in effect have become what Augustine referred to as people who exist in the “amor sui.” This is one explanation why the Democratic Party placed the abortion plank in their party platform (…they are less than human; humans don’t slaughter their young!)Democrats exist in the condition of alienation and “aspernatio rationis.”

    Republicans, with all their flaws (and they are great indeed) still maintain the possibility of a metaxical existence, e.g. they can still choose to live as human beings and many do. Indeed, it’s possible, but just possible, that these “human beings” will capture some control of the party political apparatus. As a republican by inheritance (and I know you Brits have your problems with it) and inclination I maintain hope that the GOP may rally on the colors, defeat the internationalist’s swine, and destroy the Marxists Democrats!

    But, one thing that’s for sure…they ain’t both the same!

  5. Unfortunately the conflict is existential. By its very nature, the managerial regime will not accept that it has lost a fight: Such defeats are always only setbacks in the short term, while the long term crusade of progress via centralized control goes on. Kind of like the Terminator, the Beltway bureaucracy will never ever give up or even accept a compromise in good faith. Keep in mind that the only reason they dropped the original, federally-enforced mandatory aspect of NAIS and tried to sneak through a seemingly less-draconian version is because they got busted by outraged farmers.

    It’s akin to what one saw in Europe whenever the people of a country were cheeky enough to vote against joining the EU. Or maybe it’s similar to what one sees when the Left proposes to achieve some new feat of social engineering but gets voted down on the ballot.

    Rather than accept a decision against them as final, technocrats just keep repackaging it and trying again, and will never stop until they get their way. They don’t take “no” for an answer.

    Marchmaine is of course utterly right about the thoroughly despicable GOP. It’s worth noting that this is the same party which overwhelmingly extolled the pro-choice Rudy Giuliani to the heavens when he attacked Ron Paul for questioning imperial policy and — speaking of scaremongering — is now trying to scare Kentucky voters away from Rand Paul by playing him up as “soft on terror.”

  6. Cheeks,
    Sometimes my friend, you are like a poorly trained Coonhound that cannot help itself for barking at the slightest ruffle . Attempting to qualify yourself by asserting that you did not utter the word “Republican” is case in point, its like when the dog barks and immediately ducks and looks dejected, knowing it is on shaky territory.

    The Primary System and the Electoral College place both Democrats and Republicans in Government nationally . Both parties have served the nation poorly, preposterously so because the nation, such as it is has decided that it can run itself on best intentions against a backdrop of limitless want. There may be certain areas of difference but they are of no essential consequence beyond disingenuous talking points for partisan media. The Debt as a percentage of GDP is a bipartisan production and it is a Republican Administration, avowed champion of the Cultural Conservative wing that broke the first bottle of champagne across the sinking tanker.

    You are right that there is a difference of sorts. One party embarks upon big government because it actually thinks it is an instrument of love and prosperity, heedless of any economic /social consequences of its actions while the other States publicly that it detests big government while embracing it. One might hazard the reductio ad absurdum argument that it is preferable to have a big government that loves itself over a big government that hates itself but I don’t think it makes much difference in the end. Both are a banana republic in the making.

    Asserting that the previous administration, inventor of “Free Speech Zones,” stalker of Quaker Peace Activists, illegal Internet sleuth , Suspender of Habeas Corpus, overall imperious violator of the Law is a better protector of “liberty” than the current farrago is like saying the Italian Bootleggers were more effective than their Irish counterparts because they did not love the product quite as much.

    But, back to the line of the blog at hand. An interesting article in the NY Times yesterday about butchering and the stymied growth in local meat. The lack of abattoirs is stifling what appears to be strong re-growth in local sources of meat. Farmers set to expand into a hungry and increasing market cannot do so or are tabling expansion because they cannot efficiently get time in the remaining abattoirs or the mobile units simply cannot meet the demand or, the livestock is being stressed by excessive transport to proper facilities. Once again, both the public and their mindset is ahead of a Government still rolling around in the seven day drunk of bypassed economic paradigms.

    We watch as our government continues to debate in a 30 year old mindset.

  7. Now, as you know, I’m not defining the GOP as paragons of virtue and we’ve been over my rather impressive litany of Republican misadventures. My criticism of your GOP NO-NO list is that it originates in the rather stoopid, “liberal” controlled “mainstream” media and is accordingly worthless. Why you would act as an echo chamber for the perky Katie Couric is both amusing and alarming. You are a much better thinker than that.

    With that said, my primary interest is in the statist commie-Dems, infrequently critiqued here at FPR perhaps because they more closely resemble the political apparatus championed here in Catholic Distributism/subsidiarity. Hence, I’m trying to determine any nexus between these “systems.”

    My critique of the current commie-dem regime is, as you know, that it is highly centralized and therefore dangerous, resembles a gaggle of “para-Marxist buffoons,” and is a “system” that does not honor human life and, in fact, is a “system” that rejects the notion that human life is sacrosanct. Consequently, it is worth examining the possibility that the commie-Dems, or at least the racialist, Nigerian-communist version representative of the current regime are variants of the age-old gnostic speculations found in Hegel, Nietzsche, and Marx.

    So, I’m working on a paper that seeks to examine the possibility that some aspect of Gnosticism has leaked into contemporary political milieu and acted to disrupt personal and social order exemplified by the sundry programs and consequent breakdown of institutions initiated by the Obama/commie-dems. As you know DW, when this occurs we see the reactive effort to regain the meaning of human existence in the world. Voegelin, gives us the following examples of restoration: the Stoics following the collapse of the polis, the “vision” of a pragmatic ecumene, the Jewish apocalyptic, Christianity, Manichaeism, and Gnosticism.

    But the primary point to consider in my embrace of a “30 year mindset”
    (actually its much longer than that) is that one significant component of modern Gnosticism is the application of a dialectical-material process (of nature) that acts to pull being from the “alienation resulting from private property and belief in God” to the inherent freedom of being found in the revelation of the (gnostic) truth. And, here the ontic responsibilities are severe, that is man as being is responsible to carry on the “work of salvation.”

    Now, there’s no need for me to point out to you where I see similarities between the “dialectic-material” process utilized by the commie-dems in their contemporary political rhetoric and the recent explications of “subsidiarity” and distributism found here at FPR.
    The possibility is very real that there are those among our brethren that in fleeing the confusion and disorder of contemporary society are turning to a Gnostic answer to address the alienation and fear that grows daily.

    The order of the ancient world was restored, Voegelin tells us, by Christianity. I would suggest that that political philosophy best suited to present the people the opportunity to exist as free beings in the world is the one that advocates a minimalist political philosophy reflecting those republican principles utilized to establish this nation; not the Gnostic political philosophy of the socialists (of any stripe)!

  8. Bob, you are simply employing a patois that is too new.

    fulminating against Commie-Dem and Monopolist-Repub are tarnishing the same coin; if you toss it up and shoot it through the middle, the same bullet puts a hole through both of them.

    So, as a Catholic Distributist I am not afeared of Commie-Dems when juxtaposed to Monopolist-Repubs – nor would I run from one to the other… that is rather the point of our critique.

    Now, if you want to start haranguing the real enemies: the Jacobins who occupy the houses of Congress… there’s a slogan to which one can raise a glass.

  9. March, dear friend, I would, perhaps erroneously, place the Jacobins and commie-dems in one line-of-meaning and the near angelic republicans (please remember here in the colonies Lincoln put an end to that silliness) in a direct line with the ear of God…but you knew that!
    Hopefully, you, DW, Caleb, et al and I will hoist a glass of port, engage a reasonable decent cigar, and amuse ourselves with exegetic observations followed by a plate of beef.
    And, quite frankly, I am concerned of a gnostic distortion given the possibilities not only in your distributism but inherently in a misinterpretation of the Gospel.

  10. Bob, we Distributists are ever vigilant for taints of gnosticism; as are we also on the look-out for possible corruption from Nestorians, Monophysites and those damn splitters, Monothelites.

    In fact, if I recall correctly, at the last International Congress, Medaille was named head of the Committee to Abolish Burgeoning Arian Legacy (CABAL for short) .. though we don’t mention that much among outsiders.

    There, if that doesn’t set you at ease, I don’t know what will.

  11. March, “cabal”? Yes, I’ve heard of them and we have our fair share here! Indeed, I will rest easy knowing John’s on the job. Also you failed to mention the Valentinians, a dangerous crew…!
    As for Gnosticism, I’m rooting for the demonic here and waiting for Rev. Sabin sarcastic retort.
    Stay alert!

  12. Cheeks, I am only relieved that you did not characterize one of the prevailing afflictions as “Post Modern” Gnosticism.

    Be that as it may, the Popular Gnosticism afoot has its perfect dualistic vehicle in our picturesque Two-Party System…a continual Hee Haw caricature of Light fighting Darkness with an occasional Madame Blavatsky riding to the rescue and putting the Count Mesmer Stinkeye on a stinkeye-addicted populace. I only harp on the rather tired “Pox On Both houses” saw because you continually resort to a kind of crazed shitfit in defense of the indefensible Gouty Old Party, hardly a lesser of evils unless we resort to an intemperate degree of mythological thinking along the lines of that practiced by old men sitting in their Depends outside the Rest Home.

    In other words, the Democrats don’t even merit insult, at least whence insulting the Stockholm Syndromed GOP, we do it out of a sense of loss for what should or could be.

    You may ultimately be correct that my various moony proclamations display no small degree of aspernatio rationis redolent of the Born Again-Stoic but you should take comfort in the small victory that I at least have an evolving understanding, however immature…. of the perfidious forces of Metastatic Faith afoot in this darkly comic era.

    Perhaps instead of tagging Buttercup we should tag you and I under the “Animal Disease Traceability Network”

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