JEFFERSON CITY — Critics of an animal identification system plan to protest at a meeting sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The agriculture department planned to hold an all-day discussion Tuesday at a Jefferson City hotel to solicit opinions about the National Animal Identification System. Critics planned to protest outside the meeting.
Protest organizers said the discussion should focus on whether there should be an identification system and not to hear concerns about the proposal from farmers.
Opposition to the system is strongest from some independent cattlemen, small farmers and hobbyists, who think the program imposes unfair costs upon farmers and does not make the food supply safer, according to the Web site of No NAIS, a group opposed to the ID plan.
The nationwide system started in 2004 to trace livestock in the event of a disease outbreak. Farmers were to have voluntarily registered their properties with their states by January 2008. Mandatory reporting of livestock movements was to begin one year later.