A few years ago the National Institute of Animal Agriculture initiated a draft plan to put a tracking device into every livestock animal in the country in order to, as they said, monitor and trace disease outbreaks. This is called the National Animal Identification System and has produced a storm of opposition from farmers and ranchers that feel their freedom and ability to operate their businesses would be infringed upon with the implementation of this system.
While I do stand with the small farmers on this, I have many other reasons as well for not approving of this idea. The main reason is this: it won't work. If their stated goal is to trace disease outbreaks, it will actually do very little to stop them. Sure, we'll know where our infected beef is coming from, but it's still infected. It does nothing to force producers to change their methods and grow a healthier product, it merely "finds" the disease. That makes me feel sooo much better. Not only that, but it won't operate fast enough to catch many of the diseases, so what's the point?
Perhaps they will punish the offending farm or ranch in some way, but I doubt it. I don't believe that will be the case because the initiators of the system has a membership list that includes several of the mega farms and ranches . . . and also two companies that manufacture livestock tracking devices. Interesting.
This system also punishes the small farmers practice organic or sustainable methods and produce the healthiest food for us. Not only will it be expensive for them to implement, but most of their animals spend their time outside, not in huge confinement settings where it will be easy to mark them all at once.
This first draft of the plan called for every animal to be registered, even a family horse. Worse, when the animals are transported (trail rides??) the movement must be recorded beforehand.
Granted, due to all the opposition the founders of this movement decided that it won't be mandatory at the federal level, techinically. But instead of trying to "catch" diseases, why can't we just begin enforcing more humane growing methods to prevent an outbreak from the start? Oh yeah, because that's not profitable. It's sad when our health is a secondary thought to the all-consuming pull of money.
Good article on it: The Truth About the Animal ID Plan