I'll Give Up My Chicken When They Pry It From My Cold Dead Hands
Last week I had dinner with two friends, one of whom is what the mainstream would call a conspiracy nut. Over the course of a couple of hours and a bunch of margaritas he walked us through everything from the government's role in 9/11 to the FEMA internment camps to the surge in gun regulations, all of which are scary, but also mostly beyond my experience. I'm a finance guy who gets the monetary side of what's coming, but I don't own guns (yet) and have no first-hand knowledge of 9/11 or FEMA camps. So -- while some or all of these things might be true -- it was still a bit academic.
Then we got to something I could relate to: Apparently the U.S. is getting ready to require every citizen who owns even a single backyard chicken to register their livestock and implant them with a microchip that will allow both identification and tracking. The chicken (or goat or pig) owner will be required to notify the government when the animal is moved, say to the county fair 4-H barn. And when the animal dies the owner will have to fill out a form and submit it to the authorities within 24 hours. AND the owner will be required to register visitors to their property, whether they come into contact with the livestock or not.
This sounded too ridiculous to be real. The other conspiracies at least have plausible, if dark, rationales, like setting us up for a war, containing troublesome mobs of unemployed private sector workers, or putting gun owners under the thumb of the ATF. But why would a would-be dictator care about the neighbor's chickens?
So I googled NAIS, for National Animal Identification System, and discovered that it is indeed real, has been around for a while, and calls for pretty much everything mentioned above, though initially on a voluntary basis. See this 2005 article by Justin & Franklin Sanders of the The Money Changer newsletter. And watch these videos:
NAIS' stated purpose -- to be able to track animals back to their source in case of a disease outbreak -- is something the USDA would obviously like to have, in the same way that the FBI would love to be able to monitor all telephone calls and emails without a warrant. But the downside of handing this kind of power to the government is so huge and so obvious that anybody with a sense of history has to suspect that the public rationale for NAIS is a smokescreen for some darker motive, of which several possibilities come to mind.
First, the per-animal cost of the chips and the paperwork (not to mention the loss of privacy) goes up exponentially as the number of animals per square meter goes down. So motive number one is clearly to enable big factory farmers and chip makers to squeeze fast-growing local farmers by raising their costs. NAIS will also make it harder for individuals to raise chickens for eggs or cows for milk, making consumers more reliant on the ag/industrial complex.
Meanwhile, people who keep animals and buy local produce also frequently own guns, and by and large would like to be left alone to pursue their own interests. Many of them own gold because they don't trust the government to protect their dollar savings. This is clearly a dangerously subversive subculture, and knowing where they are would be very helpful in case of a, ahem, public health crisis.
There's also the monetary angle. As Catherine Austin Fitts, whose Solari Network is doing great work in fields like financial freedom and sustainable communities, puts it:
"Oil is not sufficient to provide the backing for a global virtual currency. For that you need to control food; which means corporate ownership and control of seed and food production and distribution. NAIS is designed to help facilitate the roll up of control in the United States in the most economic manner."
And here's Ron Paul's take:
A Step Back
This month, after apparently getting an earful from local farmers, Congress voted to scale back funding for NAIS. They didn't kill it, which means agribusiness (and Homeland Security?) will now start lobbying to get funding restored. But this at least gives more people a chance to start paying attention. According to Catherine Austin Fitts, the best source for keeping up with NAIS is the Weston A. Price Foundation.