Tagging the Curs


The Crown Prince of Homeland Security and Animal Husbandry, Tom Ridge , addressed a domesticated pack of reporters Monday to voice his support of a national identification system for livestock. This, claimed Ridge as he stood atop a regal podium bathed in the amber hue denoting the current 'Elevated' threat level, was to be yet another piece in the Bush administration's ongoing efforts to corral potential terrorists.

In an unprecedented move that would treat animals no better than common citizens, advocates have proposed a 'gate-to-plate' system, whereby livestock would be tagged from cradle to mouth-watering grave. Additionally, all communications ' good or baaad ' will be subject to warrantless monitoring. Regrettable though these measures may be, proponents claim each is essential to the security of the nation. As Tom Ridge put it, 'Some of these thoughts are certainly preliminary in nature, but . . . it seems to us to be a very good initiative to undertake.'

Bob Frost agrees. 'Eventually, something is going to get mandated,' he said. 'There is movement in the past year that has exceeded all the movement in the past five years combined.' He should know too. Not only is he president of the U.S. Animal Health Association, he also is a California rancher intimately familiar with the radical Isllamacist movement.

The Isllamas form a loosely-knit group of non-native quadrupeds, whose common goal is to be free of what they perceive as Western oppression. Tired of being thought of as mere beasts of burden, they created a unifying protest cry: 'That Isllama's been laden!'

While no provable links have been established between long-necked farm critters and terrorist organizations such as Al Qaida, their relation to the camel family has served to heighten suspicions. Secretary Ridge used those fears to further the national ID cause by warning of vague threats to the food supply 'pick[ed] up in the intelligence community.'

Apparently, the cause needed little furthering. State dweebs were quick to join the push. California Department of Food and Agriculture employee Steve Lyle had this to say, 'Everybody agrees that a national identification program is an excellent idea.' Even industry representatives could only muster qualms about who would foot the bill. And in that they had nothing to fear. The feds, through a lot of fleecing, had funds aplenty to spare in the name of Homeland Defense. Lyle, with a sheepish grin playing across his face, then added, 'Our concern all along has been how to put the infrastructure into place, and how do you fund it.' Just like leading lambs to slaughter.

There was a time when such plan, even during its earliest conception, would have elicited howls of protest from animal-rights groups, but that time has passed. Like so many other areas of life, everything changed for the farming industry after September 11. Gone are the days when nothing came between and a farmer and his animals, except for maybe his wife. It's a brave new world now. Whatever the plans are for the future, they're definitely not kosher.

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Emmett Harris lives in New Hampshire, home of the Free State Project.