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State agency delays premise ID plan until 2007

State agency delays premise ID plan until 2007

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AUSTIN — The Texas Animal Health Commission announced it would wait until next year to develop mandatory premises registration regulations for places that livestock and fowl are held, handled or managed.

The commission had planned to discuss proposals at its May 4 meeting, a release from the commission stated. The earliest the commission will revisit the issue is early next year, the release states.

The proposal is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s plan to tag animals so they can be tracked to prevent the rapid spread of disease.

The plan, called the National Animal Identification System, would enable animal health officials to trace the movement of diseased or exposed livestock or poultry within 48 hours.

In February, the commission met with opposition from one of its members and animal owners for a plan that would have required livestock owners to pay a $20 registration fee every two years beginning July 1, with penalties including a fine up to $1,000 for noncompliance. People who own only one animal — including a chicken, a horse, a cow, a goat or a pig — would be required to register.

The commission will continue accepting voluntary, free registration of premises. As of April 4, more than 10,000 premises had been registered in Texas, the release stated. There are about 200,000 premises in the state.

Nationally, more than 213,000 premises have been registered.

The USDA does not have plans yet for how different kinds of animals would be marked.

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