A Bunch of Federal Bull: The Omnibus Bill and Electronic Cattle Tracking

The rights of American ranchers and farmers are at stake. In early March of this year, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024, an omnibus spending bill that included a $15 million earmark for the electronic tracking of cattle owned by farmers and ranchers in the US. Through this act, the Department of Agriculture will be able to monitor and record all data concerning the raising of cattle for the purpose of meat production, subjecting meat producers to further regulations and restrictions on their operations. Accordingly, livestock owners and liberty-minded lawmakers balked at the legislation, ringing the alarm bells regarding the bill as an assault on private property rights. 


In a recent interview on Fox Business, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, a livestock owner himself, made it completely clear to the audience the true intent behind the bill, citing the fact that legislators from both sides of the aisle have their reasons for the push to sign it into law: 


“ The left wants to ban cattle, and before you 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. We’ve seen it happen in Europe. On the right, you’ve got some cronies who stand to make some money from these eartags. They’re the ones who get the $15 million earmark.”


Congressman Massie was also quick to point out that the bill was another form of corporate welfare, as the money allotted in the earmark would end up in the hands of the big conglomerates that currently control the meat processing industry in America, further consolidating their dominance at the expense of small business and eliminating whatever remains of the free market in that sector of the economy: 


“ [The money] doesn’t go to the USDA. It’s going to, quote, ‘stakeholders.’ That is a code word for ‘private entities are getting a handout.’ What they’ll do is they will verticalize the industry with this. There are four corporations that control meat processing in the United States. One is owned by China, one’s owned by Brazil. American ranchers will be working for those organizations if this tracking goes through, because they’ll verticalize the industry.” 

During Massie’s appearance, Texas rancher Shad Sullivan was also interviewed, giving his perspectives on the bill from the vantage point of someone heavily involved in the meat industry. Sullivan was in complete agreement with Massie’s assessment of the legislation, concurring that it was an attempt to squeeze out smaller producers in favor of the large corporations who have everything to gain from the suffering of ranchers while also pointing out the fact that the bill is at its heart a blatant violation of property rights: 


“It is the key that opens the door to the end of independent producers across the country, and it is a private property rights issue that we really have to consider here.”


He further explained that the legislation was similar to laws that currently exist in the EU, all under the guise of “fighting against climate change”:


 “When we start talking about RFID, EID, and data-monitoring of farmers and ranchers, and their cattle herd size, we open up the door to what is going on in the European Union under the rules of sustainable development. We know that RFID has led to land seizure in the name of climate change. So once we open that door, there’s no going back. They can come and they can monitor, measure, report and verify everything that’s going on your farm or ranch, and then maybe down the road, in the name of climate change, they can come and dictate to you the rules of their production…and it is extremely dangerous to private property rights.” 


This legislation is yet another example of the federal government parasitically violating the rights of Americans as a means of funneling money to corporate interests that they favor. Since it has become apparent that change is not likely to occur in Washington, the states should do everything in their power to nullify these fascist assaults on property rights and bring back some semblance of liberty in America. 


Eric Madden, Copywriter & Editor


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