Copyright (c) 2005 San Joaquin College of Law
San Joaquin Agricultural Law Review
COMMENT: AGRICULTURAL ACCOUNTABILITY: THE NATIONAL ANIMAL IDENTIFICATION PLAN, CONFIDENTIALITY AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
2005 / 2006
15 S.J. Agric. L. Rev. 213
Amy K. Guerra
Government accountability is, by far, one of the most pressing current issues. While many have lobbied for transparency in government action, there are still obstacles to achieving it, despite the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act and state information accessibility acts. This Comment will look at the need for governmental transparency as it relates to agriculture, specifically under the proposed National Animal Identification Plan. Recent announcements suggesting the possible privatization of the system have raised concerns about the public's future ability to gauge the effectiveness of a program, as well as government accountability in regard to this program, which was designed to protect the public from the impact of livestock disease, particularly mad cow disease. If the United States, (hereinafter "U.S.") was exposed to an outbreak of mad cow disease, under the proposed, initially voluntary, publicly maintained system, the public would face great difficulty in obtaining records surrounding government reaction because they would probably be protected from disclosure. This Comment suggests that the most effective program would be government mandated and controlled, while providing limited disclosure under the Freedom of Information where the government is forced to act by a discovery of disease among livestock.
First, this Comment will offer a succinct introduction to the topic, followed by a discussion of the current situation in regard to the proliferative mad cow disease, the history of the National Animal Identification Plan, and the need for the program in light of concerns ...
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