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Congress Passes Omnibus Bill Including a Livestock Tracking Measure

Congress Passes Omnibus Bill Including a Livestock Tracking Measure

Mar 27, 2024

Congress Passes Omnibus Bill Including a Livestock Tracking Measure

In a recent development in the agricultural sector, Congress passed an omnibus bill that included a provision for the electronic tracking of livestock, triggering concerns among small ranchers and some lawmakers. The provision earmarks $15 million for electronic identification (EID) tags and related infrastructure to comply with the Federal Animal Disease Traceability rule.

American cattle rancher Shad Sullivan expressed apprehension to The Epoch Times, stating, “They are going to use it as a taxing mechanism to eventually control the livestock.” Sullivan fears such measures could limit the cattle supply and damage the industry, drawing parallels to policies in the European Union aimed at reducing livestock numbers due to climate change concerns.

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Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), a livestock owner, echoed Sullivan's sentiment in a March 23rd post on social media platform X, warning that cattle tagging could be a precursor to a ban on cattle, as seen in Europe. Massie has previously criticized the tracking as a potential tool for the "GREEN agenda" to restrict beef production and for corporate entities to dominate small ranchers.

Despite these fears, proponents argue the tracking system is crucial for disease control and biosecurity within the livestock industry. Since the discovery of mad cow disease in the U.S. in 2003, there has been a push for improved traceability. The proposed regulations published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2023, would mandate radio-frequency identification tags for cattle and bison crossing state lines.

Justin Tupper, president of the United States Cattlemen’s Association, criticized the federal mandate for electronic ear tags as an unnecessary financial burden on American ranchers. Tupper told The Epoch Times that this move would benefit tag companies and further raise beef prices.

The beef cattle supply in the U.S. is reportedly at its lowest in decades due to droughts and policies favoring large food processors, leading to soaring beef prices and concerns over the sustainability of the nation’s farming community.

The insertion of the electronic ear tag funding into the omnibus bill has been criticized for bypassing the usual legislative scrutiny, which some view as indicative of the federal government's increasing intrusion into the lives of independent ranchers.

As the provision moves towards implementation, there is a growing debate on its potential impact on the cattle industry, particularly on small ranchers. Advocates for the tracking system emphasize its benefits for disease management and food safety, while opponents warn it could centralize control over livestock and hinder the operations of independent ranchers.

The current state of the event reflects a divide within the agricultural community, with the future implications of the electronic livestock tracking system on the industry and small ranchers yet to be fully realized.

Originally reported by The Epoch Times


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