Some Who Raise Livestock Resist Idea of Keeping Track of Animals

JULY 17, 2006 - Posted at 7:40 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - The planned National Animal Identification System has raised concerns of some Arkansas farmers and ranchers who raise livestock.  Diana Tweedy of Pocahontas says she doesn't see why the government should have to know how many cattle somebody has, or where they are sold.

As planned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the system will require owners of agricultural animals such as cattle, poultry, horses, sheep and even quail to get an identification number for each animal.  Federal officials say the system is needed to provide a 48-hour time frame to track ill animals and contain diseases.  Industry experts say the best way to track livestock would be a radio-frequency identification tag on each animal.

Sid Sargent raises chickens, horses, ducks and a sheep at her Lincoln farm.  She says she's worried that the identification system will give the government rights to enter her property west of Fayetteville and seize the animals and equipment or kill her livestock.  And she wonders how farmers will be able to afford the tags.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)