As the NAIS Spins-Liars

We all put a spin on things. Most of have heard the old commentary that if 3 people see an auto accident each will relay to the police officer a different version.

With NAIS in the with various species groups and those doing the regulating we see allot of spin. Precisely how does one ferret out the truth and detect a lie? The following won’t work for non-personal contact, as you perfect your skill it can be used in telephone conversations.

Did you know that only 7% of of human communication is verbal? Every thought has some kind of manifestation, such as a gesture, posture, facial expression, tone of voice, the silence between words.

Louder than Words: Nonverbal Communication

10 Ways to Pick a Liar

1. Know what to pay attention to. Liars will often look away from you as soon as they finish speaking.

2. most liars appear to make eye contact, but they are really looking at your nose or cheek. You can tell the difference but they don’t know it. Some over do it by constantly staring at you.

3. Normally, while lying, they will scratch their chin or nose or jaw.

4. Listen for a rise or fall in the pitch or register, especially if it is quickly corrected. When the voice changes from low to high and then back to low, something is probably wrong with what is being said.

5. People who are uncomfortable will often ask to hear the question again, as they try to formulate a false answer. The truth does not require much thought.

6. Quite often a person who is lying will keep their fist closed and their arms crossed.

7. Sometimes the pupils will contract during a lie due to stress.

8. To detect a lie, watch the skin around the eyes. If the skin tightens (with tension) there is a good chance the speaker is lying.

9. Liars will often shift their weight from one foot to another if standing.

10. Watch for hand gestures that seem to be more or less animated than normal.

My grandkids love to play finding the “Bug” game on long trips now you can change the name of the game a bit and identify the liar (s), as the NAIS spins.

From the trenches,

Branding Your Ownership

Hopefully y’all are getting your testimonies and Memorandums ready for the hearings some of which address the brand issues on June 12 in Mt. Vernon at the Research Center and & June 14th in Moses Lake and the Fire Station. Both are at 5PM. See you there!

(This article is not written by an attorney and in no way offers legal advice. Always consult licensed legal counsel)

Brands 101 for the Urbanite

With the upcoming hearings on brands we should examine brands a little, what they are and what they legally are. You could ask any cowboy and they will share in’s and out of branding but most of us we may not know the fine points of the brand.

Brands, by statute, have been made prima facie proof of ownership of “the ownership of the person whose brand it may be” the ownership may be proved to a person other than the recorded brand.

A brand is person property that can be bought, or transferred. A statute authorizing an inspector to seize and condemn unbranded animals to be sold or shipped elsewhere, makes the brand rather than possession thief prima facie evidence of title and is not constitutional. Beyman v. Black, 47 Tex. 558

When a statute declares that only the recorded brands are admissible as evidence of ownership, it must be strictly adhered with. Washington Stat is one of the state’s with this statute. This doesn’t prohibit one from the introduction of evidence of flesh-marks or other proof of ownership, including unrecorded brands, where the object is to identify the animal. (This is an important distinction-brands show ownership which is different than identification) [...] Where the law requires marks to be recorded, but does not state that they shall not be evidence of ownership unless recorded, as in the case of brands, an unrecorded mark is admissible as proof of ownership.

The record of brand is constructive notice that the animal so branded belongs to the owner of the brand. But the brand on a stolen horse is not evidence to prove ownership in one claiming as a purchaser from the original owner.

“The brand law does not require that the ownership of an animal must be proved by the brand itself. ownership may be proved by flesh-marks or any other proper evidence, in the same way as if no brand law was in existence, and is especially applicable in the case of range animals”. Chavez v. Ty., supra

A “road brand” as distinguished from a “range brand,” is one required to be placed upon cattle before they are removed to market outside the state, and it must be recorded in the county from which it is being drive, before its removal. If recorded after they are driven out, it is inadmissible in evidence to prove ownership.

the recorded brand must correspond and be identical with the brand found on the animal, and the latter must appear on the part of the animal indicated in the record, or the discrepancy must be explained. The variance does not affect the admissibility of the record in evidence but only its probative force. But, where the record is uncertain as to the part of the animal, as directed by the statute, it is inadmissible in evidence. A record slating that the brand should be on the left side or right side is sufficient or that it is on the “hip, thigh, or flank”.

Where a brand is mistakable, a verdict of guilty of driving the cattle from their range will not be supported.

Then, by reason of their obscurity, a question arises as to the the brands on animals alleged to have been stolen, the testimony of experts in deciphering brands is admissible to show what they are.

The Law of Animals, A Treatise on Property in Animals, John Ingham

Hopefully y’all are getting your testimonies and Memorandums ready for the hearings some of which address the brand issues on June 12 in Mt. Vernon at the Research Center and & June 14th in Moses Lake and the Fire Station. Be there!

From the trenches,

Farmers, the Legislature, and Police Power

Exercise of Police Powers by the State

The following is a synopsis from a book entitled Animal Law by Favre and Loring with some observations from myself.

Society, through laws, even in ancient times has sought to control various aspects of animal ownership and agriculture in general. Areas often addressed are animal migration, control of communicable and infectious diseases, depopulation with compensation and the likes.

So where does police power fit into the agricultural picture? It is a term referred to power of the “50 states”, derived from sovereignty and to pass legislation that is binding upon members of society. Anytime a new law is passed, or a regulation is promulgated by an agency, there is an exercise of police power. That is a concept that is foreign to most farmers with exception of criminal instances. “While it seems at times this power may seem limitless, such is not the case. It is the judiciary’s role to determine whether or not a particular law or regulation is the proper exercise of police power. If the exercise of police power is found to be improper, then, in effect, the courts have declared the law void and unenforceable”.

Let’s give a real life example: When I had my first child I lived in a four-plex. One of the other occupants had two little dachshunds. These little dogs enjoyed doing their business on our front porch. This next part is example: I go to my Representative and asked that all dogs be destroyed in the state because of this trouble. He drafts a bill and it passes both the house and Senate and is signed into law by the Governor. Even though it could possibly be argued for the purposes of health and safety the judiciary would find the legislature’s response disproportionate to the risk to be controlled, hence unreasonable.

Our legislature passes laws which help to keep us healthy, provide safety, and the welfare of its citizenry. Proposed legislation must be reasonable and not arbitrary.

Police Power and the Farmer at the Federal Level
We have established that an exercise of police power could be considered improper… and void. On the federal level complex factors are examined a few of which are:

Is this legislation Constitutional?

Within the Constitutional context of animals your rights as a farmer and rancher are most protected by:

Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments-violations being lack of due process accorded the individual.

The Fourteenth Amendment, the lack of equal protection under the law.

The Fifth Amendment, the improper taking of private property.

“Under the concepts of procedural due process, the state may not interfere with private property unless certain minimal opportunities are provided the individual to understand and challenge the government action”. This is important to remember. I was doing a study of the history of animal identification in Washington State and discovered that the State Vet or designated authority may enter your premises for purposes of inspection unless you say NO. He then has the option to proceed with due process, have probable cause, and valid warrant and such. But you must say NO. You need to know you need to say NO. With due process you may argue you position and loose, but you have had your day “in court”.

The State Vet does have authority over disease issues. Here is an example: Right now the Hot Topic is brucellosis. Let’s hypothesize government determines my cattle has an infectious disease, such as brucellosis. The protocol for this is mandated to be slaughter of my cattle. The destruction of my cattle clearly interferes with my property rights, but equally clearly police power may deal with infectious disease. Typically the protocol would be call for a hearing and my right to rebuttal. It is commonly understood that though that inspection and testing are recognized as an adequate substitute.

Equal protection under the law ensures that all people are equal before the law. Thus it would be improper for the legislature to single out certain groups of people for controls or burdens, unless there is good reason. Licensing is a good example of this. It appears, though I am not an attorney of any stripe, that laws that are universal that include everyone such as these inspection points, probably would be considered reasonable in a court of law, because everyone stops. But, if the legislature proposed to stop only cocker spaniels or people driving ford pick-ups that might be a little questionable.

The last common child is the taking of private property. This is very complex and the implications of which could not be addressed by the average citizen, even a schooled one, only those licensed to do so and even that might require an area of expertise. The bottom line question is it fair for the farmer or rancher to bear the cost of a regulation for the public good? Ahhh that is a good question. “The stronger the state interest, the more supportive of the state is the judiciary; the greater the degree of interference with the individual’s property, the more the courts is willing to find a taking. Close issues are invariably decided in the state’s favor. Even when there is reduction in or loss of value for owner legislation is typically upheld in the courts.

It speaks for itself but should a state law or regulation conflict with federal authority. In the case of NAIS at the federal the lines are very fuzzy, maybe intentionally so.

All these factors we must bring to recollection at the appropriate time. Be careful when we place our vote and as we attempt to scrutinize proposed legislation, view it from all angles and for all consequences, even the ones you would prefer not to look at. Most importantly, it is hoped that you will participate in the Constitutional political process laid down by our founding fathers. It can be exhausting… it can be frustrating…. it can be time consuming, but at the end of the day you can say to yourself, “I counted my days wisely and contributed to decisions being made that will effect my loved ones, my animals and myself”. It is what being a shepherd all is about; nobody said it would be easy.

From the trenches,

The USDA Stamp of Approval-Pilot Project Final Report

Here is the latest report released this month (May) by the USDA on the NAIS Pilot Projects held throughout the United States. Keep in mind, that the farmers who participated, more than likely did so as paid contractors of the USDA. Can you say: financial incentive? Getting paid could just possibly influence the end result.

Stay tuned…. as I may add additional documents received from public disclosure.


From the trenches,

WARNING: NASS Hazdardous to your Health

Beware of the infamous NASS *survey*. Here is the breaking news straight from the horses mouth:

June 2007 Area Survey

The June Area Survey reveals the most timely, accurate and useful information on the current condition of U.S. agriculture by providing an in-depth look at land uses and agricultural activities nationwide. During the first two weeks of June, NASS representatives will visit more than 35,000 producers to conduct personal interviews and determine how their land is used. Producers will be asked to provide information on crop acreage, genetically modified crop acreage, grain stocks, livestock inventory, cash rents and land values, and the value of sales. The information from the June Area Survey will be used extensively by NASS in its ongoing survey and estimation program.

NASS June Survey


Surveys will be conducted monthly in an effort to “count” all our agricultural assets. Swine farmers, you will get a special survey.

Please consider the consequences of sharing your agriculture information or contact information with all unknown parties. You might just end up in a database with no way to escape or opt out.

From the trenches,

Old Mac Donald Had a Farm

For Educational Purposes Only

For your friends, family or acquaintances who just can’t seem to wean themselves off the junk food diet I was surprised to discover it in the Appendices of a Animal Law book:

Mc D

From the trenches,

Help Colorado Kids

NoNAISWA is active in assisting other states when they put our the clarion call in their opposition of NAIS. Let’s do it again, remembering they all helped us.

Do you have 10 minutes to help out kids in Colorado?

Here is what YOU can do!

Action Plan

What organization do you belong to that will support the NoNAIS movement especially for our 4-H and FFA kids? Sign up now.

Sign On

If you have other ideas how you can oppose mandatory NAIS in Colorado leave a comment and we will pass it along.

From the trenches,

Taming the Wild Beast

(This article is not written by an attorney and in no way offers legal advice. Always consult licensed legal counsel)

The term animal has always had mixed legal and legislative concepts. We need to fully understand the foundations of what an animal is historically in law before we can grapple with the new regulations coming into play. An animal can have a precise biologic meaning, a *fuzzy* common meaning, or a mixed legislative meaning. Over time the courts have found an animal to mean:

1. Those endowed with the power of voluntary motion

2. Every living brute creature

3. Sentient beings other than man

4. All irrational beings

Traditionally only organisms to small to be seen by the naked eye were a controversy as to whether they fit in the classification of animals. With the advent of GMO we now need to add a technical factor to our statutory definitions as the distinction between plant and animal blurs.

While it is true that an man fits in the animal category, legally speaking the context has historically referred to an animal as ‘non-human animal’. Hawaii maintains that an animal is defined as all living creatures. Being born in captivity does not constitute being a domestic animal.

As refine our strategy to deal with the wild beast of NAIS it is important to note why it is so important for us to continue to engage in our Constitutional political process for if a legislature considers, classifies, and “defines a term within a statue than neither judge nor jury may change or expand the definition.” Commonwealth v. Massini, 200 Pa Super. 257, 188 A2d 818 (1963)

The primary legal distinction of animals is always whether they are wild or domestic. Different rules apply to different categories. An owner of a domestic animal has more protection and statutory rights than the possessor of wild animals. This is an important concept to think about as you grapple with potential local, state and federal environmental legislation or regulations. Of course with those rights of ownership come responsibilities as determined by the animals status. This distinction between wild and domestic has arisen for two reasons: to reward and promote beneficial activities and to respond to perceived threats to human safety. Historically animals who are an economic utility to society have a higher status than others in the hierarchy. Owners of cattle, horses, goats and such were provided full access for civil and criminal remedies for any third party who dared interfere with their right in property. In past years interestingly owners of pets and companion animals were not afforded the same status in the legal system. Of course, with those rights of ownership come responsibilities.

Your county may be looking at adopting the new fad of dangerous or vicious dogs. Please keep your eyes open for this subtle regulation. Courts even today use the term “naturally ferocious, unpredictable, dangerous, mischievous” to describe wild animals. Giles v. State, 431, N.Y.S. 2d 781 (1980) Wolves for example might lead a highly disciplined life posing no threat to human safety while a classified dangerous dog could possibly be more stringently by regulation.

Another traditional perception is that domestic animals are safer and less of a threat to humans than wild animals. These days that perception is changing. It occurred after the law was adjusted to afford pet owners protection under the law, upgrading the legal status of animals. Since then we have witnessed a snowball of animal rights. To be classified domestic an animal must prove it not wild. Let’s walk through the process:

1. Assume an animal is wild until proven domestic.

2. Is the species as a whole domestic?

3. In our society has the species been under dominion and control of humans?

4. By habit or training does the species live with man?

5. Is the animal useful to man providing food or clothing?

6. Does this species live near humans?

7. Is this species harmless?

Courts will look upon these questions to determine their historical analysis. This would then determine who had to establish the burden of proof. Mere possession of an animal is not proof that the animal is domestic. In order to fully ensure that the animal is domestic it must fit two criteria:

1. The animal (each) must be personal property with a person who claims title and full ownership rights.

2. The owner and or keeper must exercise training and control over the animal to be considered tame.

Proof of tameness is necessary because of society’s concern for the safety of its members. A domestic animal may only be considered tame if has lost the disposition to escape and inclination towards its wild characteristics, and importantly to note is no longer a threat to humans or their property.

Courts will look at whether an individual animal is domestic but the Restatement of Torts suggests once a species determination has been made, there can be no exception for an individual animal Restatement (Second) of Torts 506 (1977)

Dog Lovers

For al you dog lovers everywhere-dogs have always held a special legal status because of their unique character. This is true even though they could potential cause harm. Watch out though because since 1930 the legal trend is to eliminate the special status of the dog. Make sure when checking you regulations to see the cases from about the 1960′s to current for changes in dog legal dog status.


Are bees wild or domestic? I just did an interesting study on bees recently in lieu of the disappearing bee populations. From the time of Justinian through Blackstone bees were considered wild by nature. But as they are an integral part of agriculture and fit much of the domestic criteria they fall on the borderline between domestic and wild.

What is a pet?

A pet is determined by the following:

1. The animal receives the personal attention of the owner.

2. The animal is treated with affection by the owner.

3. the animal is kept in close proximity to the owner.

4. The animal is part of the owner’s daily life.

Most pets are non-commercial but may have economic value.

The concept that pets should be elevated in legal status stems from the courts should “attempt to preserve decent and reasonable rules by which mankind and animals may live together in harmony”. New York Life Ins. Co. v. Dick, 71 Misc.2d 52, 335 N.Y.S. 2d 802, 811 (1972) It is conceivable that the courts may someday totally reverse all historical status of pets and domestic animals and form some new creative criteria for distinction of animals. That process is probably well under way.

What is a beast?

The term beasts originates from the past. It refers to anything not human but having intrinsic value, ie.e.-commercial value. The confusion comes in that the legislature did not carefully examine their legislation and based their law on an imprecise language.


Wild life falls in various categories but it is not the intent of this article to examine the very rapidly changing arena of the legal status of wildlife. (That would take a library)

As one can quickly determine taming the beast, by definition and law, is not as simple as one might think. We can quickly see the alarming implications with current trends in our legislative and judicial processes. Stay active and informed.

From the trenches,

Physical First, Morality Next

Most of who are opposing NAIS understand the slippery slope of embracing the whole concept. We are socially responsible individuals who have shepherded our livestock and grown our crops with care and sensitivity to our environment. Most of know that this limitation on our personal property will lead to greater and greater infringement as history has bore out. While attempting to define police powers in the Miln Court the Mine Supreme Court In Nott three years before made the following statement:

“We think it as competent and as necessary for a state to provide precautionary measures against moral pestilence of paupers, vagabonds, and possibly convicts; as it is to guard against physical pestilence, which may arise from unsound and infectious articles imported, or from a ship, the crew of which may be laboring under an infectious disease.”

Police in Commerce

Id. at 142-43; see In re Nott, 11 Me. 208 (1834)

Most of us know history repeats itself. When will the powers that are pushing the NAIS take the leap to legislate it’s own ‘brand’ of morality or has the decision already been made waiting for implementation?

From the trenches,

Melamine Levels to be Published

Anyone out there have an experience with the Chinese melamine? On May 30, 2007 federal “guidelines” will be published, unless you would like to fork over the money to get the information from the Federal Register special list.


Reports and guidance documents; availability, etc.:

Melamine and melamine-related compounds; hogs and chickens from farms identified as receiving contaminated pet food scraps and offered for slaughter, 07-2649
[Filed 5/25/07 at 8:45 am]

Publication Date: 5/30/07



Reports and guidance documents; availability, etc.:

Interim melamine and melamine analogues safety/risk assessments, 07-2679
[Filed 5/25/07 at 8:45 am]

Publication Date: 5/30/07

Also of interest is a report from the GAO GAO-06-652sp

Melamine dinnerware has been imported to the US from China since 1997, especially institutional dinnerware.

From the trenches,