18 December 2006

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Plan for Tracking Animals Meets Farmers’ Resistance” (news article, Dec. 13):

I live in rural Pennsylvania. I have one older riding horse and occasionally some laying hens. All these would have to be tagged if the National Animal Identification System becomes mandatory, and for no purpose, because none of my animals will be sold overseas for food.

And I would have to make a report to the United States Department of Agriculture any time a hen gets out and runs onto the neighbor’s property, or pay a $1,000 fine. This program will create havoc on America’s small farms.

I buy pasture-raised meat, milk and eggs from local farmers who I know personally, because the animals are healthier than industrially raised animals, and I find that the quality is better.

I expect that the industry groups would like to put my farmer friends out of business with the costs and hassles of tagging their animals, to eliminate competition.

I hope everyone who prefers local and pasture-raised animals will speak up and protect the source of their food and health.

Marjorie Smith
Shoemakersville, Pa., Dec. 13, 2006

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