Environment Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

SB-146

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS OF COMMISSION SALES STABLES.

Vote Date:

3/4/2016

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Substitute

PH Date:

2/24/2016

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Environment Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

Provides a two-year license for Commission Sales Stables (a.k.a. “livestock auctions”), amends animal identification and slaughtering requirements, and allows the Department of Agriculture to adopt regulations for standards dealing with animal handling, sanitation and recordkeeping. Currently, livestock auctions carry an inherently higher risk of livestock disease transmission when compared to standard farms due to the fact that this form of housing brings a large number of animals from different states into direct contact. Some of these animals are then purchased by farms or livestock dealers, which can further spread diseases into different herds. Further, livestock movement both within the state and across state lines has made animal disease traceability challenging and highlights the need for regulations that can ensure a timely response when animal disease outbreaks occur.

SUBSTITUTE LANGUAGE

The Substitute Language for this bill was removed by Amendment A adopted during the Environment Committee's March 4, 2016 committee meeting.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

Steven K. Reviczky, Commissioner – Connecticut Department of Agriculture: The Department is in support of this bill, as it would provide the Department with the authority to ensure that livestock auctions meet requirements that reduce the risk of livestock disease transmission and better enable the Department's ability to respond to the spread of a livestock disease. In addition to guarding against the spread of disease, this legislation would also protect consumers by ensuring that only healthy animals are sent to processing facilities.

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Henry Talmage, Executive Director – Connecticut Farm Bureau Association: In his testimony, Mr. Talmage stated his support for the bill since it represents “important improvements…that will clarify authority, improve operating efficiency and provide the Commissioner with the tools he needs to carry out of duties and responsibilities of the Department of Agriculture.”

Susan Mitchell, Simsbury Resident: Ms. Mitchell supports the bill with a number of proposed additions dealing with the humane treatment of horses.

Changes Recommended

-Permanently prohibit the sale and transport of horses into, out of or through the state of Connecticut if said horses are intended for slaughter or sale to a locale that permits kill buyers to purchase horses.

-Develop a breeder licensing programs to reduce overbreeding

-Create a passport/microchip program requiring certain foals to be passported and chipped

-Prohibit the sale of pregnant mares

-Implement a humane euthanasia program

-Create a program allowing for the voluntary surrender of a horse whose body score falls below certain levels

-Enhance education regarding responsible breeding

-Enforce private contracts and make breech of said contracts a criminal offense

-Convert the First Governor's Horse Guard facility in Avon into a rescue facility

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None Expressed

Reported by: Jared Savas

Date: 3/8/16