back to article US Dept of Agriculture rubbishes Amish anti-RFID push

Amish farmers attempts to prevent RFID tags being used in cattle have been attacked by the US Department of Agriculture on the grounds that it's not mandatory, and therefore can't be considered a breach of religious rights. The USDA has recommended the dismissal of the case, Wired reports, and points out that the plan for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Instead of RFID tagging people tag their food and let nature take it's course.

    Awww damn that's me helping the forces of oppression again if only I new when to keep my mouth shut.

  2. A J Stiles

    imposition on religious beliefs

    So could I complain about The Authorities imposing on my religious beliefs, if those religious beliefs required me to blow up a busload of unbelievers with an exploding rucksack?

    The sooner religion is outlawed, the better.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    I doubt the suit is widely supported in the Amish community

    This suit looks like a bunch of Libertarian cranks cooked it up, and got a few Amish to provide cover.

  4. Nic Brough


    Ok, so they are scared about numbering every single thing. Ignoring the baleful gaze of the Flying Spaghetti Monster pointing out that his is the only true religion, I have a question about this "numbering".

    Who is going to number the termites (or ants, I can't remember which)? I understand that there's around 40 metric tonnes of them for each human on the planet, and that's a lot of small insects to number.

    Oh, and how many bacteria are there on my colleagues five-year-old unwashed, lunched over, coffee-ridden keyboard? (Ick, I can't even look at it. It growls when I go past)

    I am no lawyer, but I reckon that demolishes the central "it's the beginning of the scheme" argument. What's the next joke from the US legal system?

  5. Frank

    Those damn wild animals

    "..wild animals that have proved remarkably reluctant to be RFID tagged. .."

    I bet they all have arguments as to why they shouldn't have to carry ID cards as well.

  6. Chris C

    Define animal

    I agree with the sentiments expressed in the article. What is optional today becomes mandatory tomorrow. Wearing a safety belt in a car used to be optional; it's now mandatory. Wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle used to be optional; now it's mandatory in many areas (for both children and adults). Having your fingerprints and DNA in the police database used to be optional if you have not been convicted of a crime (old school translation: if you are innocent)...

    Having said that, I take great issue with "...believes that God and the Bible authorize him with dominion over all animals on the planet...". Does that include animals owned by other people (the quotes implies that it does). And these idiots do know that human beings are animals, right? If their God put all animals on this planet to serve the people, then why are there many animals (such as bears and lions) which are so much mower powerful than humans? And why can tiny animals such as spiders kill humans with a single bite?

  7. Pierre Silver badge

    "but the same could be said for most things proscribed by the various theological creeds."

    Yep. So, as any other stupid creed-induced idiocy, it should be ignored. Not that I think any good of the RFID tags for sheeple. The feeble of mind just shouldn't be allowed to impose their fairytales on rational people. Don't allow more religious nonsense in laws and state affairs, scrape the religious garbage from existing laws and state affairs. Religion is a private thing, and should be kept private.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Abolish All Beliefs

    Why stop at abolishing all religions? Why not abolish all beliefs? Millions died at the hands of Communism. Ban that. Tamil Tigers have been exploding as many suicide bombs as long as Islamic militants have & they're secular nationalists. I haven't heard of that many Amish blowing up buses. Extremism exists in all beliefs, both religious & non-religious. I pretty much see people, particularly people in power, as having been basically the same through out history. In medieval times they murdered their rivals, oppressed people, & invaded their neighbours, despite them often professing to be the same Christian faith. In modern times Communist states, some that had even been allies (like China & Vietnam), went to war with each other. In both these cases things like the perceived national interest trumped theology & ideology. Religion & humanism are often used as cover for more basic human flaws. Imposing RFID tags on the Amish is wrong & ridiculing their beliefs is wrong. But it would also be wrong to make everyone go to church. Not chipping cattle isn’t going to lead to millions of deaths. The human race has lived long enough without RFID for millennia.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    The Amish get it....

    Quote: "It's hard to see how replacing a metal tag with a radio one can be a religious offence, but the same could be said for most things proscribed by the various theological creeds"

    Perhaps the Amish understand what others don't: That is, government is evil.

  10. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down


    "Religion is a private thing, and should be kept private."

    Agreed. Until your RFID tag lets world+dog know you are Amish, of course funny hats & beards notwithstanding.

  11. Al

    USDA putting food supply in danger

    Been following this issue for a while since I live in the Midwest of the US and have family that raise cattle. One thing this article doesn't talk about is the fact that much of the genetic diversity in the cattle market is due to the Amish and other like them. The keep meticulous records on the breeding of their stock to insure its genetic health. They don't feed their livestock animal protein which means they don't have mad cow problems which is one of the reasons they claim the tags are needed.

    One thing they have stated is that they won't go along with the tagging and that they would rather sell/destroy their herds that go along with the tagging. Scientists have warned that if they do that it could put the entire US beef industry in peril of being wiped out due to the large beef producers lack of genetic diversity.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @chris c

    "so much mower powerful"

    WTF? like 15 or 20 horsepower lawn tractor powerful?

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Post that went slightly off topic but still requires a title.

    I usually take the stance, that all religious beliefs and doctrines is a negatve thing for the individual. That any removal of freedom is a crime against humanity (that is me, you, and everyone else).

    What you need to realise though, is that when liberties is taken away from people whom you might not agree with, or whose lifestyle has little to do with your own, it gets a little bit closer to the day when they get around to tackling your liberties, or clamping down on the things that you feel are essential to being free and happy (for some reason the two seem to be closely related, but that might just be me).

    Remember, if a government wants to introduce something silly like ID cards (I have one already, it's called a passport... oh, i see, it's _actually_ optional to hold one... never mind then, different thing altogether)... they always make them optional, then mandatory for a small group of people who doesn't have enough voices to make themselves heard and who are not well liked enough for the rest to cry out...

    example: I'm norwegian, I live and work in the UK, I'm registered as a taxpayer here (So I have a NI number) and just to get into the UK in the first place I needed to have a passport, so I am registered with the 'system', and I hold a form of identification which is accepted by all governments in the world as proof of my ID. now tell me why it is that the UK government thinks that giving all foreign workers ID cards is necessary?

    (Appologies btw, as this post has wandered off the subject of the Amish getting their cattle tagged.)

    Of course, there is no conceivable reason for me to hold a 'UK' ID card except for one: I belong to a minority group that has only a few voices, and I am unlikely to speak up against something like this, and besides, as I am only a resident and not a citizen, they don't even need to lock me up if I start causing trouble, they can simply kick me out :o)

    I am also very unlikely to object, as I am only working over here (Oil related if you must know), and if things get to hairy (you know, mandatory blue hats for all foreigners, curfews, special queues at the supermarked), I'll just pick up my things and go work for the norwegian oil industry in stead.

    No, the reason why you should care that I will need to carry an ID card is this:

    For me it's just a silly piece of paper/plastic that I will only need as long as I reside on these isles (much like my NI number and my council tax bill). For you (assuming 'you' are a UK citizen) it's one step closer to the day that you need to speak to your local government recreation office before you're allowed to go for a picnic in the local park... but I guess you would be used to it by then... after all you had to have a disclosure on yourself, your partner and your families before you were allowed to apply to have kids.

    Ok, that last bit is a tiny bit orwellian, but the point is that most people wouldn't like to end up in that situation... even if it did mean that crime was at 0% and no kids got abused anymore... and of course there would be no more foreigners anymore either, as we would all have gone back to our own countries a long time ago... to live free from opression and tyranny...

    If I see you again in Norway, you can be sure I'll voice my opinion when the Norwegian government tries to give all the UK asylum seekers ID cards ;o)\

    Anon, as I don't want to get stopped at the border when I've had enough and want to leave :P

    Mine's the coat with the planetickets and the passport (International ID Card).

  14. Joe Cooper

    RE: Bears and lions

    "If their God put all animals on this planet to serve the people, then why are there many animals (such as bears and lions) which are so much mower powerful than humans?"

    For what it's worth, we do pretty much 0wn every animal we come into contact with.

    Crocs and Gators are epic beasts that have been around for over 200 MILLION years untouched by evolution simply because if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Kings of the swamp.

    And I, a human, have eaten gator fried.

    It's the little bacteria and microorganisms and viruses that put the fear in humans. As non-animals, they're clearly exempt from being our bitch.

    But maybe with genetic engineering we'll make them our bitch yet!

  15. Paul Smith
    Black Helicopters

    Holy Cow!

    Some group: 'We don't want to tag our cows.'

    USDA: 'Calm down, you don't have to.'

    Clear-cut example of Jackbooted Owellian oppression, right there. I'm actually painting it on to a banner in my own blood as we speak.

  16. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects
    Paris Hilton

    @ Al

    I read about the Longhorn records being down to some half dozen ranchers a few decades back. They'd be extinct now, in the USA, I imagine.

    So how does the guvmint decide a religious outlook should be ignored because of the size of the herds?

    "Small farmers were expected to be excluded, so, argues the submission (pdf), there can be no imposition on the religious beliefs of the Amish."

    Is it illegal for Amish farmers to be big farmers?

  17. Lukin Brewer

    'Buttons are proud and vain, not plain'

    I've always wondered why they wear shirts and jackets that need to be closed with hooks and eyes. I wear tee-shirts and jumpers - no closures or fixings of any kind, much plainer. "We don this garment in the manner we come into this world - going headfirst, through a tight hole."

  18. Peter

    ID cards

    I've lived in Demark for 15 years. I've got a national identity card. Look at all the bad things that have happened to me..... er, ok, none.

  19. Mark

    @Joe Cooper

    And gators have eaten far more people than you've had gator steaks.

    Don't worry, they don't eat you whole.

    They spit that bit out.

    (they love long pork)

  20. Mark Burton
    Paris Hilton

    One thing is for sure

    You won't get any Amish reading all this and commenting back...

    --Paris 'cos I work there.

  21. Jon Kale

    re: "The human race has lived long enough without RFID for millennia."

    They also coped without indoor lavvies, central heating, clean drinking water and penicillin. Your point was?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "And gators have eaten far more people than you've had gator steaks."

    So an entire collection of species (coroccodilians) has eaten more of one other species (humanity) than a single member of that species (humanity) has eaten of the first group? Obviously they're the superior species.

    Since the dawn of civilisation, we've been getting back at the big creatures. One lion kills a human, we eradicate lions in a 100 square mile area. One croc kills a human and we have historically tended to hunt and kill all the nearby crocs. Revenge has kept us, as a species, physically secure ever since we got the hang of getting some neighbours and kicking the crap out of whatever was bothering us.

    I'm pretty sure the death toll we've inflicted on the scaly river denizens is higher over the years than their toll on us.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My Point Was...

    .... the Amish don't need RFID tags. In fact they do without a lot of the stuff we have & they seem to be doing fine. Actually they seem to be prospering (population has increased due to their high birthrates). While you may not agree with their faith, they may represent a possible future. If I (& I'm skeptical about it) peak oil occurs then we'll all need to do without things like electric lightbulbs.

  24. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: So?

    ""And gators have eaten far more people than you've had gator steaks."

    So an entire collection of species (coroccodilians) has eaten more of one other species (humanity) than a single member of that species (humanity) has eaten of the first group? Obviously they're the superior species."

    Yup. The OP had said we pwned all other creatures and put up as "proof" he'd eaten a bit of one.

    Pointing out that gators have eaten WHOLE PEOPLE would then prove they pwn us.

    Or he was talking bollocks.

    either works.

  25. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: re: "The human race has lived long enough without RFID for millennia."

    The point is that RFID doesn't make us healthier. It doesn't even make the cattle healthier (not feeding them sheep would be a good start). So given that we don't need RFID and that RFID will not have the benefits of even lavatory paper, why the FUCK should they be mandatorally introduced?

    NOTE: The US don't want GM labelling but they DO want non-GM foods labelled with an RFID. Why the difference?

  26. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: ID cards

    I already have an ID card. A drivers license. So why are they brining in a completely new ID card?

    Because the new card will require the NIR sit behind it with all our history to hand, all indexed by one number.

    Do you have an NIR in Denmark? No? Then how do you survive the terrorists?!?!??!?!?

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