The state’s point man on livestock premises registration thinks the USDA’s surprise decision to scrap the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) could strengthen Wisconsin’s law and help to ease some fears.
As of 2006, all Wisconsin properties with livestock had to register them with the state. While it’s a state law, premises registration was listed as one of the three steps in the NAIS plan.
Dr. Paul McGraw says USDA’s decision last week could strengthen Wisconsin law by giving states the responsibility of managing traceability within their own borders.
Some farmers, especially the Old Order Amish, have refused to comply with the law. The say it infringes on their religious freedom. A familiar argument is the premises registration will lead to the animal identification system, which they feel could be the Mark of the Beast warned about in the Bible. McGraw is hopeful the USDA decision will ease their fears.
There are over 60,000 properties in Wisconsin. Penalties for not complying include fines and the denial of producers’ licenses. A case currently moving through Clark County Circuit Court could help determine if the law is Constitutional.
AUDIO: Paul Knoff reports (1:25)