For immediate release: February 17,
Texas’ Proposed Premises Registration Regulations
At their meeting Thursday, February 16,
commissioners for the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), the state’s
livestock and poultry health regulatory agency, postponed taking action on
proposed regulations that would require identification of physical locations
where livestock, exotic livestock, domestic fowl, and exotic fowl are held,
managed or handled.
Dr. Hillman, Texas’ state
veterinarian and TAHC executive director, explained that postponing action
on the proposed rule that would make premises registration in Texas
compulsory July 1, 2006, does not mean that the issue has been
resolved. TAHC commissioners will reconsider the proposed rule at a
future commission meeting. The time, date and place will be announced
in the Texas Register, on the TAHC website at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us and by
public announcement. All commission meetings are open to the
"Although commission action on the proposed regulations
has been postponed, we continue to encourage voluntary premises
registration, which, as of today, includes more than 7,000 of the state’s
200,000, or more, farms, ranches or other facilities," said Dr. Bob Hillman,
Texas’ state veterinarian and TAHC executive director.
Premises registration is the foundation for the three-tiered
National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which, when fully implemented,
is designed to enable animal health officials to trace the movement of
diseased or exposed livestock or poultry within 48 hours. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) has spearheaded NAIS development since
2004, with the cooperation of national species working group
In Texas, HB 1361, passed and signed into law in
2005, authorized the TAHC to institute an animal identification program
consistent with the NAIS, and to collect fees, to offset some costs of
"More than 600 persons submitted comments
regarding Texas’ proposed premises registration rule during the comment
period which ended February 6," said Dr. Hillman. "The commissioners
also listened to concerns from nearly 80 persons at the commission meeting
Thursday, which was held in an Austin."
"Although the TAHC
commissioners recognize the need for an improved animal identification
system, they need additional time to consider complaints regarding the $10
per year fee, concerns about livestock and poultry identification and
reporting requirements that, eventually, may be implemented on a national
basis; and fears about the potential loss of privacy," said Dr. Hillman.
Dr. Hillman explained that premises registration, the only
aspect of the NAIS currently under consideration in Texas, involves
providing the TAHC with a contact name, phone number, physical address
and the species (but not the number of animals) housed, managed or handled
on a site, such as a farm, veterinary clinic, arena, or livestock market.
Information is confidential. A unique seven-character premises
identification number (PIN) then is issued for the site.
states have begun implementation of premises registration. Premises
registration is required in Wisconsin and North Carolina. In Indiana,
registration will be required starting September 1, 2006. Premises
registration currently is voluntary in all other states. About 200,000
premises in the U.S. now are identified.
working groups for each involved species are developing recommendations for
the second and third tiers of the NAIS, which, depending on the situation,
will involve identifying either individual animals, or groups of animals,
leaving their premises of origin or moving in commerce. The third tier
will involve animal movement reporting and tracking, making it possible to
locate diseased or exposed animals quickly," said Dr.
Links to additional information about the NAIS are
posted on the TAHC’s web site at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us.