In a Wyoming federal district court, Harriet Hageman, senior litigation counsel for the New Civil Liberties Alliance, filed an opening brief related to R-CALF USA’s Federal Advisory Committee Act lawsuit against the USDA regarding its mandate of radio frequency identification eartags. In addition to R-CALF USA, Wyoming ranchers Tracy and Donna Hunt and South Dakota ranchers Kenny and Roxy Fox are plaintiffs in the case.
USDA and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service set up two advisory committees to assist their RFID efforts, the Cattle Traceability Working Group and the Producer Traceability Council. As filed by the New Civil Liberties Alliance in the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming, the plaintiffs argue that USDA and its subagency, APHIS, failed to comply with FACA’s statutory requirements in establishing and using the two advisory committees to gather information necessary to implement RFID eartags.
In April 2019, APHIS issued a mandate to U.S. cattle producers to RFID eartags on all adult cattle moved interstate beginning January 2023. The mandate included a requirement that cattle producers register their premises with the government.