Model State Legislation
Model State Legislation Concerning the Authority of Departments of Agriculture to Create Animal Identification Systems
1. Definitions. As used herein, unless the context otherwise requires:
a. “Animal identification system” means a system substantially similar to that embodied in the “Draft Strategic Plan” and “Draft Program Standards” for a National Animal Identification System as published by the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, on April 25, 2005.
b. “Premises identification” means identifying locations that manage or hold animals.
c. “Animal identification” means identifying animals either individually, with a unique animal identification number, or as a group, with a group/lot identification number.
d. “Animal tracking” means reporting certain information concerning the movement of animals to an animal records repository, such as the relevant animal identification number(s), group/lot identification number(s), premises number of the receiving location, and date of the event being recorded.
2. Persons not subject to premises registration and mandatory animal identification system. The General Assembly recognizes the honorable occupation of farming, including but not limited to raising livestock, as a common law right and a inalienable freedom belonging to all (your state) citizens. Participation in animal identification systems is voluntary, and rules may be made mandatory only upon those who voluntarily choose to participate in them.
3. The (your state) Department of Agriculture (Department) shall not be authorized to promulgate rules for any mandatory animal identification system, including any system of premises identification, animal identification, and/or animal tracking without promulgating a list of those categories of farmers who are not subject to said mandatory provisions.
4. In the event that the Department shall require authorization to promulgate rules under the circumstances specified in paragraph 3 hereof, any such proposed rules shall be presented to the General Assembly for its review and approval in accord with normal legislative procedures.
5. In the event that the Department shall promulgate rules in accord with paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 hereof, the “premises” required to register under any such rules will be limited to the following:
a. As to cattle, bison, alpacas, llamas, goats, deer, elk, horses, mules, donkeys, sheep, and swine, “premises” shall include only those locations holding or managing, in the ordinary course of business, in excess of five hundred (500) individual animals at one time.
b. As to poultry, including chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, pigeons, and game birds, “premises” shall include only those locations holding or managing, in the ordinary course of business, in excess of two thousand (2000) individual birds at one time.
6. In the event that the Department shall promulgate rules in accord with paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 hereof, such rules shall not apply to the following:
a. Premises or animals owned, leased, or controlled by persons whose religious beliefs would prevent them from complying with such rules;
b. Premises or animals owned, leased, or controlled by persons who will use such animals solely for food, transportation, or draft power, or as companion animals, for their own household;
c. Animals not intended for use as human food or premises managing or holding such animals;
d. Premises or animals used in aquaculture;
e. Premises used to produce animals for, or animals intended for use or consumption by, persons purchasing animals or animal products directly from the producer thereof;
f. Premises or animals involved in the production of animals or animal foods which will be marketed wholly within the State of Tennessee;
g. Premises or animals involved in the production of animals or animal foods which will be marketed within a two-hundred (200) mile radius of the location where such animals or animal foods are produced;
h. Premises or animals involved in the production of animals or animal foods by persons or entities deriving a gross annual income of less than $500,000.00 (two hundred thousand dollars) from such production.
7. In the event that the Department shall promulgate rules in accord with paragraphs 2, 3, and 4 hereof, no person owning, leasing, or controlling premises or animals which are not subject under paragraphs 5 and 6 hereof, shall be required to have or to present any premises identification number or animal identification number in order to:
a. obtain the services of a veterinarian or obtain services otherwise related to the breeding, health care, or maintenance of animals;
b. transport animals not subject to regulation within the State of Tennessee; or
c. obtain the slaughter of animals not subject to regulation.
8. The Department shall have no authority to create or maintain any database or other records concerning any voluntary animal identification system, and shall have no authority to transmit any such database or other records to the United States Department of Agriculture or to any other governmental or private entity or person, unless the Department first obtains the signature of any and all persons owning, leasing, or controlling any premises or animals to be included in such voluntary system on a form making full disclosure to such persons of the nature of such system, the possible uses of information collected thereunder, and the other entities or persons to whom such information may be disclosed. Any such form intended for use by the Department shall be presented to all members of the General Assembly for review and such form may not be used by the Department until sixty (60) days have elapsed from the date the form was presented to the members of the General Assembly.
9. In the event that the Department has created or maintained any database or other records concerning any voluntary animal identification system prior to the effective date hereof, the Department immediately shall take all necessary steps to notify all persons owning, leasing, or controlling premises or animals contained in such database or records, concerning their inclusion in the database or records, the voluntary nature of the database or records, and their right to opt out of the database or records. As to any such persons who elect to opt out of such database or records, the Department shall immediately and permanently expunge all information pertaining to such persons from the database or records. As to any persons choosing not to opt out, their participation in any voluntary animal identification system shall nonetheless be subject to the requirements of paragraph 8 hereof, i.e., the Department shall be required, as soon as practicable, to obtain their signatures on a form meeting the requirements of paragraph 8 hereof.