Amish, members of an Anabaptist Christian denomination, are best known for their literal interpretation of the Bible and their simple lifestyle.
The livestock registration is allegedly intended to create a national tracking system to help contain outbreaks of diseases such as mad cow disease, or foot and mouth.
But the Amish claim that the scheme threatens their religious beliefs because, they believe, it is part of an ongoing attempt to number every living thing, a practice mentioned in Revelations where it is linked with the Devil.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) argues that its cattle tagging plan, part of its National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is voluntary and that the lawsuit should instead be directed at the state of Michigan, which wants to make it compulsory.
The USDA has also pointed out that farmers, including Amish ones, are already using numbered metal studs to track animals.Note: The USDA comment above provides general insight into how the government thinks generally: "Numbered metal studs" farmers use to keep track of their livestock is for private, internal purposes—to government "private" and "public" are the same thing. (DWH).