Warning. This is just another attack on the fantasy that people have regarding back-to-the-land. Spoiler Alert: There are corporate entities that are not amused.
This is where I put my tinfoil hat on my wise old owl and tell you straight up.
Just because you are paranoid, doesn't mean "they" aren't out to get you.
I am pretty sure people are very familiar with the attacks on our ability to save our own seed by companies like Monsanto.
The past decade has been an interesting one, with the American people occupying the country again using a variety of motifs and causes, even before the Occupy phrase was coined.
Backyard Beeks are reclaiming and saving American Apiculture.
People on small acreages, or even city lots are starting micro-ecofarms and mini-farms and green spaces.
And people who still eat meat and eggs, are reclaiming the humble chicken, by raising them, small scale for eggs, meat, and integrative pest management sans pesticides and herbicides.
We have the Foodie Movement--or Slow Food Movement, and we have various organizations across the nation fighting the abuse and overuse of agri-chemicals in our food, and antibiotics in our meat.
And what do we get in return?
The invisible corporate hand, attempting to price most small homesteaders out of the game by passing TLMI--see quote from Countryside Magazine. http://www.countrysidemag.com/...
"We all celebrated when the proposed National Animal Identification System (NAIS) was withdrawn, but the party's over. There's a new rule on the horizon which is not only cumbersome to small homestead herds, it puts a heavy burden on those with backyard poultry flocks. The rule proposed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, titled Traceability for Livestock Moving Interstate, is on its face useless, and a little digging reveals the real reason for such over-reaching regulation—to raise money to keep a bloated, bureaucratic agency alive. Get your shovels ready."All over the nation, small scale poultry people have changed city ordinances, allowing chickens [hens] back into town, and in the backyard.
Right now, you don't have to be wealthy to keep chickens. I know they are all the rage with some White Collar Suburbanites--which is fine. Anything to get them to stop spraying their lawns. You can see their glossy photos in magazines with their prized poultry and their pretty and utilitarian gardens. All and all it's a good sign, that on some level, common sense might be re-entering the country. People connected with the source of their food are more connected with the environment on many levels.
Blue Collar folks keep livestock too. People who do a sort of subsistence farming, raise their own meat and eggs, and often have gardens as well. But the truth is people from every walk of life keep poultry for a variety of reasons:
Some do it because they do not care for the way caged poultry is treated in factory farms.
Some do it, because they want to know where their food comes from, what is in the meat and eggs [no hormones or antibiotics]
Some do it to control pests--Chickens are hell on grasshoppers, spiders, and ticks! They will even eat snakes and mice, given the opportunity.
And some like us, do it for the pleasure of their company, and for the most excellent pest eating and fertilizer making abilities of these sweet little birds. Eggs-are a bonus.
But if this law is passed, keeping livestock will be out of reach for blue collar folks and become a pain in the ass for everyone else.
Imagine if every chick in every hatchery had to be chipped with an RFID chip?
Now when you go to buy live, straight run chicks and pullets, what used to cost between 1.50 a chick and 3 dollars a chick, would go way up very fast. Larger birds like Turkey Poults and Goslings would go from 9 dollars a bird to quite a bit higher.
And who is going to monitor these chipped-chicks? How many more people will the government have to hire to enforce the new Poultry Code? And how much will inspections and certification cost a hatchery or a small scale farmer or backyard chicken owner to stay in code?
Welcome to the gentrification of the Small Scale Farm.
Honestly I see this as a backlash against the movements associated with encouraging small scale farming and heirloom seed and breed preservation and self sufficiency.
Once again this is about controlling our access to food by limiting individual self sufficiency.
APHIS cannot even make the claim that this is about disease vectors, since little is done to improve the overcrowded, over-medicated, cruel living conditions of animals on factory farms.
Free Range poultry can still get sick, but on a small scale you just loose the whole flock. This isn't an issue because the disease cannot spread to thousands of birds in an enclosed space due to infected feces and litter.
Small scale farmers who maintain flocks for food and eggs, are not generally shipping their eggs out of state, often not even out of their own county.
If their chickens do get sick and are being shipped, tracking is easy. Because you don't have to pinpoint one bird out of hundreds trucked to a slaughterhouse and then a packing line, which is then shipped to a store to ooze on a shelf somewhere in the U.S.
And no one mentions what chipping freshly hatched chicks will do to their health and longevity. When you order chicks from a hatchery, they are already stressed due to the travel in a box in express mail. I understand chipping an expensive adult or subadult bird, but a chick or a poult?
Will they be chipping game birds as well like Turkey and Quail or Pheasant?
But back to the backyard flock and small scale flock:
True Free Range Poultry see the sun. Feed is a supplement, because their primary food are the greens in the yard and genuine invertebrate protein. They have freedom of movement, and the space to do what comes natural. Scratch, socialize, hunt and take dirt baths.
Caged birds are crammed in small cages and forced to live in that space to lay eggs. They don't see the sun. They never scratch in the grass, they cannot preen themselves because their beaks are often removed, to keep them from plucking their own feathers out--which is what stressed, mentally ill caged birds do. They are fed enriched feed [read empty calories] which is why their eggs are not so good. Yellow, runny, pale.
Get a backyard bird's egg and it's a rich fully saturated cadmium orange. It's protein is a higher quality.
Remember in an earlier post about Climate Change and Weather Patterns? "We can always live off the fat of the land."
Well now in addition to the caveat, Weather Permitting, we also can add [if this ridiculous law is passed]--Government permitting-- as in, if you can afford the permit!
But with all these threats of inconvenience and increased cost for nothing good--this is an opportunity for bipartisanship.
It doesn't matter who you normally vote for, or what you think about certain talking heads on the radio, or any of that stuff.
We can all agree across the board, that this is a corporate attack on our ability to maintain our personal food security by entities who would like to dominate if not monopolize our food industry and our agricultural industry.
You can read more about APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] and it's proposed laws here: http://www.countrysidemag.com/...
If we are going to make America Greener and get the Plutocratic Tentacles out of our lives--small scale farming, and the return of the family farm are going to be big factors in this attempt to take our power back as nation of individual people.
Wherever chickens are outlawed, only outlaws will have chickens
The Small Scale and Family and Urban Farm movement and the Locavore and Slow Food Movement are grassroots attempts to explore and maintain sustainability, food security, and build community.
This lowers the need for cross country trucking, if you buy in season, and local or just raise your own.
This also lowers the need for factory farm products and directly competes with their bottom line.
If these movements are sustained and grow, this will in turn lower the demand for agri-chemicals as well. And as more people become aware of the long term effects of these chemicals on our food, our ecosystems and on our own bodies this may lead to a change in laws regarding usage and application or even availability of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and antibiotics.
Over time this could change the face of agriculture in this nation and threaten some very lucrative markets.
For example: we have seen a huge pushback by corn growers over the rejection of High Fructose Corn Syrup by the people, a sugary substances that is put in everything, because it is subsidized and not because it's healthy or sustainable.
Never doubt the power of the almighty dollar.
And when in doubt, follow the money.
If the government wants to ensure safety of our livestock from disease, they should start with factory farms.