Tana at smallfarms sent me a more comprehensive article on the animal identification system (NAIS) that has small farmers up in arms.  The article suggests that the program was initiated by a group composed of big business (Cargill, Monsanto, medicine companies such as Pfizer, not to mention the companies that manufacture and sell the actual technology) to protect the agricultural export business.  The program claims to reduce the danger of disease in meat by being able to track the meat to its source.  While that’s probably important, no one says exactly how it will make meat safer or prevent illness.  In fact, no one seems to be actively speaking out on behalf of the program.  Perhaps because it’s simply to protect and strengthen factory farming—the abominations of which more people are becoming aware.  I guess an unintended but happy benefit to the food business giants is that the program  will put additional stress on the already beleaguered small farmer.  The program remains more or less voluntary, but it’s important for small farmers and everyone who supports them to be vocal about keeping it so.  See nonais.org for more on this.