Cattle ear tagging

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Who knew a provision about cattle identification was so controversial?

The panic surrounding cattle identification was reignited by a a right-wing X account with over 300,000 followers.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Mar 27, 2024   Updated on Mar 27, 2024, 11:15 am CDT

In each edition of web_crawlr we have exclusive original content every day. On Tuesdays our Senior Reporter Tricia Crimmins explains the legislation that is captivating the internet in her “Digital Democracy” column.  If you want to read columns like this before everyone else, subscribe to web_crawlr to get your daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.

The Bill: 

At the beginning of March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an omnibus spending bill that greenlit $460 billion to fund half the federal government. Included in the bill was a $15 million provision about eID systems for livestock, or electronically tracking cattle, and a proposal for a rule called the “Use of Electronic Identification Eartags as Official Identification in Cattle and Bison.”

The bill was passed in the Senate over the weekend, and is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden soon.

The Backlash: 

When the bill initially passed, Rep. Thomas Massie(R-Ky.) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) expressed their disdain for the proposed rule on X. Massie wrote that electronic tracking of cattle would “be used by the GREEN agenda to limit beef production, and by the corporate meat oligopoly to DOMINATE small ranchers.”

Massie appeared on Fox News’ The Bottom Line to talk about the eID systems last week.

“The left wants to ban cattle and before you can ban anything you need a registry. You need to know where it’s at and who owns it,” Massie said. “And that’s why they want to tag cattle.”

The panic surrounding cattle identification was reignited yesterday when @WallStreetApes, a right-wing X account with over 300,000 followers, tweeted that he was very worried about the Use of Electronic Identification Eartags as Official Identification in Cattle and Bison rule.

Many shared @WallStreetApes’s sentiment on X.

“All in the name of the.. fake climate change for the NEW WORLD ORDER!!” @caligurlluv wrote.

“After they get the cattle tagged, @kagensnews tweeted. “[You’re] next.”

One right-wing X user, @KeyboardMilitia, even said representatives and senators who voted for the omnibus bill will lose his vote.

“ANYONE  who votes for this bill in #Missouri WILL LOSE MY VOTE,” @KeyboardMilitia tweeted. “I encourage everyone to hold their local #Congress people accountable. They all know this bill is tyrannical.”

The Background: 

The livestock industry is divided.

Todd Wilkinson of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said the eID system is to help prevent the spread of disease among livestock, but Bill Bullard, the CEO of Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America, seems to agree with Massie and is against the system.

All that said, the idea that the left wants to ban red-meat to combat climate change is false. Discussions of the conspiracy theory will undoubtedly spike, though, if the omnibus bill is signed into law by Biden.

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*First Published: Mar 27, 2024, 6:00 am CDT