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News Release
TAHC Commissioners Set Meeting March 23 to Consider Proposed Regulations for Premises Identification
Texas Animal Health Commission
Box l2966 * Austin, Texas 78711 * (800) 550-8242 * FAX (512) 719-0719
Bob Hillman, DVM * Executive Director
For info, contact Carla Everett, information officer, at 1-800-550-8242, ext. 710,
or ceverett@tahc.state.tx.us
For immediate release-February 28, 2006

Commissioners for the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) will meet at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 23, in Round Rock (just north of Austin) to address proposed regulations for registering sites where livestock, exotic livestock, domestic fowl, and exotic fowl are held, managed or handled. The meeting will be held in the Marriott North Hotel at 2600 La Frontera Blvd. in Round Rock and is open to the public.

"The TAHC commissioners proposed regulations for premises registration at their December meeting, following passage of HB 1361, the legislative authority for the rules and fee collection. The commissioners postponed action during their February session, opting for more time to consider the comments received during that meeting. It is important to note that the commissioners will focus solely on the proposed regulations for premises registration at the March 23 commission meeting," said Dr. Hillman, Texas’ state veterinarian and head of the TAHC, the state’s livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. The TAHC’s proposed regulations, "Premises and Animal Identification" were published in the December 23, 2005, issue of the Texas Register.

"The commissioners initially considered postponing action until May, but the commission needs to resolve this issue sooner, rather than later," said Dr. Hillman. "The commissioners have a number of options in consideration of the proposed regulations. They may: adopt the proposed regulations as presented; amend the proposed regulations; forgo adoption; or further postpone action."

"Premises registration is underway nationally, and is required in Wisconsin, and soon will be required in Indiana. More than 205,000 sites have been signed up - 7,500 of those in Texas. Registration is relatively easy, and information requested is limited, including a contact name, phone number, physical address and a list of species on the site. Registrants are not asked how many acres or animals they own," said Dr. Bob Hillman, Texas’ state veterinarian and head of the TAHC, the state’s livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. He noted that Texas has more than 200,000 premises.

"Knowing where species of animals are located would greatly enhance our ability to alert owners and get ahead of a disease outbreak before it spreads. In 2002, for example, Exotic Newcastle Disease was detected in a neighborhood in Los Angeles. The infection raced through small flocks, then spread to 22 commercial flocks, costing $160 million to eradicate," said Dr. Hillman. He said premises information, confidential by law, would enable animal health officials to "map out" emergency response, and save precious time searching for sites with susceptible species, and exposed or potentially infected animals. Dr. Hillman said recommended amendments to the proposed regulations would allow 4-H and FFA students to be covered by their 4H club or FFA chapter premises identification numbers, if the students maintain animal projects on a site that, otherwise would not need to be registered.

Recommended amendments also would exempt persons if they have only caged exotic fowl (such as, but not limited to parakeets, budgies, finches, canaries, cockatiels, parrots and other caged birds) and these fowl are housed in the person’s residence and not used for sale, barter or exchange. Dr. Hillman noted that, during an avian disease outbreak, the TAHC may require the premises to be registered, if the site is within a quarantine, surveillance or eradication zone established by the TAHC for controlling or eradicating the disease.

The proposed regulations call for premises registration to be compulsory, beginning July 1, 2006. Persons could register their premises in Texas at no charge through June 30, 2006. The premises registered prior to July 1, 2006, would be due for a two-year renewal July 1, 2008, when a $10 per year fee would be paid as a biennial fee of $20 fee for two years. Under the proposed regulations, persons who register on or after July 1, 2006, would pay the $20 two-year fee upon initial registration. Registration renewal and the $20 two-year fee would be required every 24 months thereafter. Premises can be registered now online at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us, or by completing a registration form and faxing or mailing it to the TAHC. Many county extension agents, as well as agricultural associations, have registration forms available, or can assist in registering online. The TAHC also has staff members who can assist by phone. The TAHC’s headquarters in Austin can be reached toll-free at 1-800-550-8242.


 

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