A petition is circulating among farmers in Ashe County (and in other rural counties, we wager), hotly decrying a Department of Agriculture "animal ID" plan, which is itself a panicky reaction to the several confirmed cases of "mad cow disease." The petition cites HR3170 and two companion bills (HR1256 and HR1254) "that will virtually destroy the small livestock farmers and make recreational livestock activities a thing of the past." (You can get a snoot-full of oppositional rhetoric at the Stop Animal ID Org site.)
The House has not acted, but the Department of Agriculture has proceeded with a pilot program, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) ... about which small farmers are very alarmed.
Our own Congresswoman Virginia Foxx sits on the House Agriculture Committee. She joined six (extremely conservative) fellow Republican members of the committee (including Robin Hayes) in writing a letter to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns, calling for the privatization of the ID program ... which as far as we can determine pleases corporate agriculture interests like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association but won't do a lot for the small farmers of Ashe County.
Foxx's position appears to be this: If a farmer is going to have to pay to register his animals, better he pay a big corporation rather than the government.
This has at least one letter-writer to the Jefferson Post hopping mad: "...It seems like George W. and his folks have been ruling over this country for about a thousand years with no end in sight. I think I'm getting a pretty good idea of what eternity in hell must feel like and it makes me want to repent fast. And what about old Virginia Foxx? We can't count on her for no help. Now it looks like she helped plan all this on our animals. If George W. tells her he wants an ID on the animals she'll say 'yes my lord' and tell us to put an ID on the animals. I think we should stick a big ID on George W's forehead that says 'President of America' and send him off to downtown Bagdad. I bet those Iraqis would be happy to stop killing each other for four or five seconds and spend some quality time with the man who gave them a free world. I'm sick to death of him taking over our country and getting into every part of our business even our phone calls. He says he isn't listening in on our calls. You just know that's a big fat lie right through his alcohol-stained teeth. I think when he starts messing with our animals its time for us to figure out how to impeach his butt." (Jefferson Post is available on-line only via subscription)
The Ashe County letter-writer notices a trend in this administration ... an avid interest in both our telephone calls and our livestock. At any rate, that's how national animal ID is playing in The Madam's legislative district.
Anyone got time to go look at how much money Madam Foxx has taken from big ag business?