Action Alert (Texas): Animal ID Bill Has Been Weakened

 

Please do NOT register in support of the bill, and stay tuned for more actions.

We’re sorry to send out so many alerts, but things change quickly at the Texas Legislature!

In yesterday’s alert, we mentioned the Animal ID bill as one of the bills our members might be interested in and want to support. The intent of that bill was to address Texas Animal Health Commission’s (TAHC’s) overly burdensome animal ID requirements, specifically the requirement that all cattle be tagged when sold, even if they are going direct to slaughter. Tagging animals that are going straight to slaughter is an unnecessary cost and burden. The requirement poses problems particularly for small-scale producers, who often don’t have the equipment necessary to tag cattle.

cattle-tagUnfortunately, while the original intent of the bill was good, the agency and a few industry groups have undermined it. We discovered at a Senate hearing that the “committee substitute” (an amended version) grandfathers the TAHC’s existing tagging regulation — the very thing the bill was meant to stop!

This version of the bill could actually hurt small producers by affirming the TAHC’s authority to issue animal ID requirements unconnected to any disease control program. (Currently, the TAHC has to justify any animal tagging rules as part of a disease control program.)

We are talking with the bill authors, Representative Kyle Kacal and Senator Schwertner, about changes necessary to restore the original intent of the bill. For now, we ask that you do two things:

1) If you come to the House Ag Committee hearing tomorrow, register Against CSHB 2311 (“CS” designates “committee substitute”).

2) If you are in Representative Kacal’s or Senator Schwertner’s districts (see below), please email and urge them to ensure that the original intent of the bill remains intact.

If you are not a constituent of the bill authors, please don’t contact their offices at this time. We will send out updates with additional action items when we see how the bill does or does not change.

If you haven’t taken action on yesterday’s alert, please do that! All the details are posted on our website.

 

Animal ID Bill Sponsors

If you live in one of the areas listed below, please contact your legislator. Tell them you support the original version of the Animal ID bill (HB 2311 and SB 1233), but you are against the committee substitute version.

PLEASE be polite when speaking to the legislators’ offices — you will be most effective if share your message that you’re opposed to the committee substitute in a courteous manner. Representative Kacal and Senator Schwertner took a positive step for animal owners when they introduced the original bill. The Texas Animal Health Commission and a few industry groups are the ones pushing for the changes in the committee substitute, and we need to ask the legislators to hold true to the original intent.

Senator Charles Schwertner represents Brazos, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker, and Williamson counties
Phone: 512-463-0105
Email: Charles.Schwertner@senate.state.tx.us

Representative Kyle Kacal represents Falls, Limestone, and Robertson counties; also represents part of Brazos and McLennan counties (Zip Codes 77803, 77807, 77808, 77840, 77845, 77868; 76624, 76640, 76664, 76682, 76691, 76704, 76705, 76706, 76707, 76708, 76711)
Phone: 512-463-0412
Email: Kyle.Kacal@house.state.tx.us