Food Fight

Animal ID bill places unnecessary burden on nonindustrial farmers

This week the House version of the Animal ID bill flew through the Texas House Calendars Committee, worrying many small producers and food activists.

Photo by Katee Boyd

The Animal ID bill being considered before the House (HB 2311) and Senate (SB 1233) unnecessarily burdens nonindustrial farms and would grant the Texas Animal Health Commission unprecedented authority to impose federal regulations within the state. A House vote is expected this afternoon.

Currently producers must tag animals when crossing state lines unless they are from a commercial hatchery or confinement operation. The proposed Animal ID bills would require small producers to tag their animals when moving them within the state. This would negatively affect small farmers and ranchers across Texas, including backyard chicken farmers. "Tagging animals, without having any connection to disease control measures, is unnecessary and time-consuming – the Texas Animal Health Commission already has in place the authority to address animal disease," says Paula Foore of Springdale Farm. "The proposed animal ID bill would create a significant burden for small farmers, ultimately making it more difficult for us to remain viable sources of local food for the community," adds Foore.

Both the Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance (FARFA) registered in opposition to HB 2311 at the House Agriculture Committee hearing. FARFA’s Executive Director Judith McGeary affirms, “We hope that the legislators will take a hard look at this issue before rushing to give the state agency a blank check to adopt federal regulations on an in-state basis.”

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