Burden versus boon

US - A proposed federal animal identification system may seem as simple as piercing a sow's ear, but some area farmers and legislators say it would provide unnecessary safeguards and place undue burdens on the agriculture industry.
calendar icon 20 September 2006
clock icon 1 minute read

Proponents say the program would safeguard U.S. animal and potentially human health. But opponents such as U.S. Sen. Jim Talent, R-Missouri, and U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, R-Cape Girardeau, say the plan oversteps government's role and could become overly burdensome on an already taxed agriculture industry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture "has spent $100 million on trying to do this program," Emerson said Tuesday from Washington, D.C. "They've been working on it for two or three years. And if they can't do this program and protect confidentiality, liability and affordability, then they shouldn't do it at all."

Last week, Emerson and Talent introduced a bill that would prohibit the USDA from making the animal identification system mandatory. Both Emerson and Talent said Tuesday the market should dictate whether such a system is needed. A mandatory system, they said, would make farmers' records available to their competitors, cost too much for some to implement and do nothing to protect a food system that is already safe.

Source: Semissourian.com

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