Provision tucked inside massive omnibus spending bill could spell the end of small ranchers in the US

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WASHINGTON, DC—Many people have long warned about items hidden inside 1,000-plus page omnibus spending bills. The devil is in the details. 

ZeroHedge reports that a provision in the recently passed spending bill in Congress directs $15 million to electronic livestock tracking, stoking fears that the ever-radical government could weaponize this system to limit beef consumption, long a dream of environmental extremists. 

In an interview with The Epoch Times, Shad Sullivan, a cattle rancher, told the outlet that he believes the new electronic tags will end small ranchers in the United States. 

“They are going to use it as a taxing mechanism to eventually control the livestock,” Sullivan said. “In the European Union, they used these measures under the guise of climate change lies to limit the cattle supply and if they do that here, it will destroy our industry.” 

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) echoed Sullivan's concerns. Massie owns livestock and believes the provision could lead to the erosion of the cattle industry. 

“The left wants to ban cattle, and before you can ban anything, you need a registry, you need to know where it’s at and who owns it, and that’s why they want to tag cattle,” Massie said in a post on X. “We’ve seen it happen in Europe. Because you know, protecting “democracy” just like they want to do by making Americans register their guns and ammunition, all a precursor towards the eventual confiscation leftists dream of. 

Previously, Massie wrote that if this provision was passed, it “will be used by the GREEN agenda to limit beef production, and by the corporate meat oligopoly to DOMINATE small ranchers.” 

According to the information contained within the Omnibus bill, passed with some Republican support on March 22 and touted by Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA), it directs $15 million to “related infrastructure” to begin the tagging program. 

The provision reads:

“The agreement directs the Department to continue to provide the tag and related infrastructure needed to comply with the Federal Animal Disease Traceability rule, including no less than $15,000,000 for electronic identification (EID) tags and related infrastructure needed for stakeholders to comply with the proposed rule, ‘Use of Electronic Identification Eartags as Official Identification in Cattle and Bison’ should that rule be finalized.” 

It has long been a dream of radical leftists to phase out beef, with some far-left individuals such as Bill Gates suggesting insects as an alternate form of protein. 

After the initial proposal came forth last year, the proposed mandate for ear tags for cattle and bison crossing state lines has understandably caused controversy, in particular among small ranchers, who fear the added costs, which they cannot absorb but corporate ranchers can, will drive smaller operations out of business. 

Under current practice, most livestock is tracked using tags with 11-digit numbers that are visible and trackable. However, on Jan. 19, 2023, the Federal Register published proposed regulations mandating radio-frequency identification ear tags. ZeroHedge wrote that they are required to be “both visually and electronically readable” to be recognized as official for the interstate movement of cattle and bison. 

Under the Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, livestock is defined as “all sexually intact cattle and bison 18 months and older; all female dairy cattle of any age; all male dairy cattle born after March 11, 2013; cattle and bison of any age used for rodeo or recreational events; and cattle and bison of any age used for shows or exhibitions, according to the proposal.” 

The push toward adopting electronic identification tags for livestock movement began in 2003 when the first case of so-called “mad cow disease” occurred in the United States. Since then, the industry has been moving toward enhanced traceability rules and technology. 

Justin Tupper, president of the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, believes mandating electronic ear tags would place “unnecessary and punitive costs on American ranchers” and raise the price of beef. 

“It is another example of ridiculous spending,” Tupper told The Epoch Times. “If they are going to use these funds to hand out free tags to those who would want them, then there would be no real harm, but that is not what it looks like they are doing here.

“Instead, they are going to give them to the big tag companies to shove down our throat to mandate it, which is an entirely different thing.” 

The cattle industry is already facing significant headwinds from regulations and drought, and a new livestock mandate will only exacerbate those problems. 

The supply of beef cattle has already slipped to its lowest point in decades, with the price of beef reaching an all-time high and some becoming concerned over the long-term health of farming and ranching in the US. Tupper said that a number of severe droughts, combined with government policies that favor large, industrial food processors, have slammed the supply of beef cattle to levels not seen since the 1950s. 

Tupper slammed Congress for the practice of sneaking pet projects into thousand-page omnibus bills, including the one-paragraph requirement for the ear tags, which could easily be overlooked in the rush to pass such a bill. He said this is another example of the increasingly intrusive federal government targeting independent ranchers. 

“Anything that is mandated, we are going to push back very hard against,” Tupper said. “We always have to be aware of who controls the data.

“We are well aware of the fact that data can exert a tremendous amount of control over the nation’s livestock.” 

Sullivan also worries the provision could be the end of independent American ranchers. 

“The beef industry is the last bastion of freedom,” Sullivan said. “Ranchers across the nation have to stand up. If not, these tags will be the end of the small rancher.” 

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I'm against virtually everything that gives government more control over any industry, but I want to know about tracking "all male dairy cattle born after March 11, 2013." The only bull milking that I can think of does not collect milk!


Do some research about Oregon's war on small farmers, to learn more about the bureaucrats' abuses.

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