Bill seeks to keep state out of animal ID system

US - A bill that would prohibit Washington state from participating in or establishing a mandatory - or even a voluntary - animal identification system has livestock owners lining up on different sides of the fence.
calendar icon 30 January 2007
clock icon 1 minute read
On one side are supporters of HB 1151, among them many small-scale livestock owners and the Cattle Producers of Washington, which has nearly 400 members.

In throwing their support to the bill, they warn that even though the USDA has made the controversial National Animal Identification System voluntary, the agency is still aiming at 100 percent participation by 2009.

On the other side of the fence are livestock groups, among them the Washington Cattlemen's Association and the Washington Dairy Federation.

Jay Gordon, executive director of the state's Dairy Federation, said the bill would essentially "park the state veterinarian at the sidelines in the midst of contagious disease outbreaks."

"That's the concern, we have," he said.

Prime sponsor of HB 1151 is Rep. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe. His aid, Cameron Bailey, said Pearson was contacted by a large number of small-scale livestock owners in his district who are concerned about the possibility of undue government control over their livestock and their farms.

The bill had its first reading Jan. 11 and was sent to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Source: Capital Press
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