WISCONSINREPORT.COM (12/17/07) - The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection will hold animal health public hearings January 7th through the 10th. The hearings will be in regard to proposals that would streamline, clarify, and update Wisconsin's animal health regulations. The department proposals have a goal of protecting the state's livestock industry by better prevention and control of animal disease. The hearings will be held in Appleton, Madison and Eau Claire.
One proposed change would allow the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to register livestock premises if the operator does not. Another would make permanent the recently enacted emergency rule that sets VHS testing requirements for fish. The proposed changes also affect deer, cattle and goat farmers, along with livestock markets, truckers and dealers.
Many of the proposed changes simply bring state rules into line with federal law or codify what the department's Animal Health Division has already been doing as a matter of policy, but there are some new provisions, too.
The hearing schedule is:
***** Appleton -- Monday, Jan. 7, 6-7 p.m., Fox Valley Technical College, Room A160, 1825 N. Bluemound Drive.
***** Madison -- Tuesday, Jan. 8, 6-7 p.m., Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Room 106, 2811 Agriculture Drive.
***** Eau Claire -- Thursday, Jan. 10, 6-7 p.m., Department of Natural Resources West Central Region Headquarters, Room 158, 1300 W. Clairemont Ave.
Among the proposed new provisions:
- Premises registration: The current one-year registration renewal period would be changed to three years. Also, if the operator of a livestock premises failed to register those premises in the state database, the department could do so, but would notify the operator. The person could still be penalized for not registering.
- VHS testing Under emergency rules enacted in November: VHS-susceptible species of fish and eggs must be tested for viral hemorrhagic septicemia before being stocked into public waters, moved between fish farms, or distributed as bait if they were collected from the wild or kept on a farm that received fish or eggs from the wild in the past year. The proposal is to make the testing requirements permanent. The department estimates that 30 to 40 private fish farms would be subject to the requirements, with an average cost of about $500 to $650 a year.
- Chronic wasting disease testing: Farm-raised deer 8 months or older would have to be tested for CWD if they die, are killed, or go to slaughter under the proposed rules. The current requirement is for deer 16 months and older; since it was written, younger deer have been found with the disease in the wild. The proposal rule also would require that test samples be taken within 10 days of the animal's death.
- Johne's disease testing: In addition to blood samples collected by a veterinarian, as now permitted, producers could also submit milk samples collected by Dairy Herd Improvement Association-authorized technician if the testing was for herd management purposes. Testing for official classification as an A, B, C or D infection level would still need to be done from blood and/or fecal samples.
- Poultry imports: Poultry from flocks not entered in the USDA National Poultry Improvement program could enter Wisconsin if the birds have tested negative in the past 90 days for pullorum, fowl typhoid, and for turkeys, Mycoplasma gallisepticum, and haven't changed ownership since the test.
- Bovine tuberculosis: Wisconsin would require pre-import tuberculosis tests for cattle from states classified TB-free but that have found a TB-positive herd -- until the positive herd has been depopulated and any herds with links to it have tested negative. Tests are generally not required in those circumstances under current rules.
Oral and written comments will be accepted at the hearings. Written comments can also be submitted until Jan. 25 to Melissa Mace or DATCP-DAH, PO Box 8911, Madison, WI 53708-8911. Copies of the proposed rule will be available online or by contacting Melissa Mace, phone 608-224-4883.