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By Pat Shellenbarger
Blanchard, Mich. — Glen Mast doesn’t own a computer and doesn’t
want one, but he and other Amish farmers complain the Michigan
Department of Agriculture is insisting they tag their cattle with
electronic chips in violation of their religious beliefs. State
agriculture officials say the radio frequency chips are necessary to
track animal diseases and protect public health. Mast and other Amish
farmers say the chips’ 15-digit number is the Mark of the Beast warned
of in the Bible’s book of Revelation. “We’re a people who are inclined
to mind our own business,” Mast said, sitting in the wood shop he
operates without electricity on his Isabella County farm. “We’re never
happier than when we’re just left alone,” Mast said. “That’s all we’re
asking.” All over Michigan, Amish farmers are resisting the state
program requiring that all cattle be tagged with the electronic chips
before they can be sold. Michigan’s program is part of a National Animal
Identification System created after the outbreaks of mad cow disease and
foot-and-mouth disease in Europe. Michigan is one of the few states
making the voluntary national program mandatory.
Copyright 2007 Religion News Service

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