Action Alert (Texas): Tell the Texas Animal Health Commission to Treat Small Producers Fairly

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The Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) is proposing a new rule on cattle identification, and we need you to speak up for small producers!

Previously, the TAHC had adopted a requirement that all adult cattle be tagged upon change of ownership, with no exemptions. Due to the objections of many groups and the debate during the Texas legislative session, the agency agreed to repeal that rule and replace it with a rule that included a direct-to-slaughter exemption.

The TAHC has now done that … sort of.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the Texas Legislative Session

 
We have a lot of information to share in this alert – to make it easier, below is a table of contents of all the news we’re covering!


texas-capitolThe 83rd Texas legislative session, including the vetoes and bill signings, is finally done.

Overall, it was a very good session for the local foods movement. Out of the nine local foods bills that were filed, three passed and have been signed by the Governor: the cottage foods bill (HB 970), the DSHS Better Communications Act (HB 1392), and the farmers’ market bill (HB 1382).

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Texas Local Food Bills 2013

 

Local foods was a hot topic at the 83rd Texas Legislature!  FARFA worked on several bills to support local farmers and remove some of the barriers for local food systems.   These common-sense bills address the needs of the local foods movement, where local farmers and food producers sell their products directly to consumers in transparent transactions. Helping the local food movement helps small local businesses and our economy.

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Texas Animal ID Bill Update

 
The Animal ID bill has slowed down thanks to your calls and emails, but it has not been stopped. The Senate Administration Committee has approved the bill to go to the Senate floor.  At the Committee hearing, Senator Schwertner said that he would try to address small farmers’ concerns when the bill came to the floor.

This bill authorizes the Texas Animal Health Commission to adopt animal ID requirements that are no more stringent than the federal ones. While that may sound good, there is a significant problem – the federal rules only apply interstate, so this bill allows the agency to adopt those same standards and make them apply to every movement within the state, which is far more burdensome on small farmers and animal owners. For example, current federal regulations include individual permanent tagging of chickens when small farmers take them across state lines – imagine if that were applied to every in-state movement!…

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Action Alert (Texas): Senate Hearing on Animal ID

 
The Animal ID bill has slowed down thanks to your calls and emails, but it has not been stopped. Senate Administration Committee has scheduled the Animal ID bill, HB 2311, for a public hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, May 8.

This bill authorizes the Texas Animal Health Commission to adopt animal ID requirements that are no more stringent than the federal ones. While that may sound good, there is a significant problem – the federal rules only apply interstate, so this bill allows the agency to adopt those same standards and make them apply to every movement within the state, which is far more burdensome on small farmers and animal owners. For example, current federal regulations include individual permanent tagging of chickens when small farmers take them across state lines – imagine if that were applied to every in-state movement!

The bill also provides open-ended authority for the state agency to adopt any future federal regulations.

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Texas Animal ID HB 2311 / SB 1233 Fact Sheet

 

Oppose HB 2311 and SB 1233
Or Amend to Truly Limit the Agency’s Power

 
DOWNLOAD THE PDF VERSION OF THE FACT SHEET.

While HB 2311 and SB 1233 appear to limit the Texas Animal Health Commission’s (TAHC’s) authority, the bills actually do the opposite. The bills authorize the state agency to impose federal regulations — intended only to apply to those moving animals across state lines — on people who own and move animals entirely within the state. This could burden people who own any type of poultry or livestock animal, whether as pets or on small farms.

Submitted by: Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Food and Water Watch, Independent Texans, Organic Consumers Association, Sustainable Food Center, Texas Landowners Council, Texas Organic Farmers & Gardeners Association. Contact: Judith McGeary, Judith@FarmAndRanchFreedom.org, 512-484-8821 (cell)

 

Oppose or Amend HB 2311 / SB 1233

 

The Legislature should not give the agency authority to adopt animal identification requirements unconnected to any disease control program.…

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Action Alert (Texas): Animal ID passes the House – next stop, the Senate!

 

DOWNLOAD THE TEXAS ANIMAL ID FACT SHEET.

On Friday, April 26, 2013, the Texas House of Representatives voted to pass the Animal ID bill, HB 2311, which authorizes the Texas Animal Health Commission to adopt animal ID requirements that are no more stringent than the federal ones. While that may sound good, there is a significant problem – the federal rules only apply interstate, so this bill allows the agency to adopt those same standards and make them apply to every movement within the state, which is far more burdensome on small farmers and animal owners.

The bill also provides open-ended authority for the state agency to adopt any future federal regulations. This could affect anyone who owns chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, or horses –from small farmers to pet owners.

But the fight is not over! The Senate still has to approve the bill. Please send the emails below to speak up for our rights as farmers and consumers of local food!

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Animal ID Vote Record

 
Below is how the members of the Texas House of Representatives voted on the Animal ID bill, HB 2311.  This bill authorizes the state agency to adopt animal ID requirements that are no more stringent than the federal ones.  While that may sound good, there is a significant problem — the federal rules only apply interstate, so this bill allows the agency to adopt those same standards and make them apply to every movement within the state, which is far more burdensome on small farmers and animal owners.  The bill also provides open-ended authority for the state agency to adopt any future federal regulations.

 

Representatives who voted FOR the bill

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Texas Animal ID is back!

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Contact your State Senator to oppose the Animal ID bill

Updated April 28:

The Texas Legislature is considering a bill that would authorize the Texas Animal Health Commission to adopt federal Animal ID regulations.  One of the federal regulations requires every chicken to have a permanent leg band with a unique ID number when it crosses state lines;  imagine what it would mean to have this applied in-state whenever a chicken was sold or moved to a new location!  While commercial hatcheries and large confinement operations would be effectively exempt, the requirement would impact both small farmers and people with backyard chickens.

The bill also gives the agency a blank check to adopt other federal regulations governing animal ID for all kinds of livestock animals, including goats, sheep, pigs, cattle, and horses.  The federal regulations govern the movement of animals between states, which is not a frequent occurrence for small farmers.  But imposing those same regulations on every movement within the state could cause significant problems for small farmers.…

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Action Alert (Texas): Keep Up the Calls to Oppose Animal ID

Please keep up the calls and emails on the Animal ID bills! The Texas Legislature is considering bills that would authorize the state agency to adopt federal Animal ID requirements — among them, a requirement that all chickens be individually tagged with permanent leg bands, unless they are from a commercial hatchery or a confinement operation. The bills also authorize the agency to adopt future federal regulations whenever it wants, which could mean new regulations on sheep, goats, pigs, cattle, and horses.

Although we posted yesterday on Facebook that HB 2311 had been approved by Committee, it turns out that was a mistake by the committee clerk; HB 2311 is still pending in Ag Committee. So we’ve re-posted the alert on the website to include all of the Committee members’ emails.

Please contact both your own Representative and Senator, and the Committee members as soon as possible; time is critical.

Please share this alert with all your friends and contacts!…

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