Serving Minnesota and Northern Iowa.

Hearing held on Board of Animal Health rule revisions

By Carol Stender
cstender@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 10/10/2012 1:09 PM

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ST. CLOUD, Minn. —Although more than 20 people requested a public hearing on the Board of Animal Health's proposed rule changes, no one testifying at the hearing last week seemed upset over the revisions.

However, they raised several areas of concern to Administrative Law Judge Barbara Neilson.

The rule changes are acceptable overall, said Minnesota State Cattleman's Association executive director Joe Martin. He highlighted provisions on livestock locations and rules enforcement and penalties.

The board stated, in the rules, that animal and location information will be protected. Martin stressed the importance of confidentiality. The board noted that it's important to have the information to better control animal diseases and to protect the health of domestic animals.

Martin and several others who testified want more information on the rules' enforcement and penalties.

Provisions detailing cattle movement within the state has drawn concern from Minnesota Farmers Union members, said MFU representative Thom Petersen. Language in the rule revisions will be clarified relating to individual identification numbers for breeding cattle, rodeo cattle and all cattle for exhibition. The proposed rules include no provisions for official identification of or the recording of identification tags for feeder cattle.

MFU raised concern over the possible costs producers will incur.

Most of the testimony surrounded cervidae.

Gary Olson, with the Minnesota Deer Breeders Association, talked about a provision involving the separation of wild and domestic deer.

"We would like to see double-fence written in there, so people understand the benefit to double fencing," he said.

Concerns were expressed about a provision outlining when wild cervidae enter a facility. The revised rules say an owner must remove the wild cervidae from the premises by herding them off the land at the owner's expense prior to brining any farmed cervidae in. Olson said any testing should be done by the board .

While some cervidae producers said animals brought to game farms should be tested, game farm game farm operators disagreed.

The current rules were written and amended many times over the last 100 years and don't meet current disease control and animal health needs, the board said in its Statement of Need and Resonabliness.

The public can comment on the rules and rule changes until Oct. 10. Additional comments, strictly on the new rule proposals and not entering new exhibits, can be made until Oct. 17.

To view the regulations and rule changes, go to the Board of Animal Health's website at www.bah.state.mn.us.