Farmers snubbed over dog microchips


(Note from RG: This article from New Zealand illustrates many of the lies being used to sell the National Animal Identification System -- NAIS -- in the U.S. Notice that a reason for not chipping dogs is listed as "to avoid the cost." It is also likened to a tax, just like Premises Registration in Texas, administered by the Texas Animal Health Commission is a tax for owning an animal. Also note that they claim that allowing an exemption would lead to massive refusal to chip animals, just like in Texas where they wanted to include parakeets because exemptions were too hard to do. See "Elk may Blaze the Animal ID Trail in Texas 2 pages)


March 28, 2006

By Kent Atkinson


Fairfax, New Zealand

Editorial Feedback:,2280,,00.html (website form)

The Government has snubbed farmers and their lobbyists by refusing to exempt farm dogs from rules that dogs first registered from July must be microchipped.
Prime Minister Helen Clark told a press conference yesterday that Cabinet would not be changing the law, which it authorised yesterday.
The law would be what the Associate Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta, told parliament a couple of weeks ago, said Ms Clark: "One law for all dogs -- it's very hard to make exceptions for some".
Ms Mahuta said the success of a nationwide system for electronic dog identification relied on as many dogs as possible having a tiny microchip inserted under their skin.
But at the same time, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton -- who holds a more senior ranking in Cabinet -- told farmers he was prepared to have it look at the issue again.
Ms Clark said yesterday he had honoured that commitment in cabinet.
"He honoured that to the letter," she said. "It was raised again and discussed but the Cabinet wasn't of the mind to attempt to amend legislation which is coming into effect in three months time."
The new requirement under the Dog Control Act -- to allow instant identification after a dog attack -- was framed after a series of dog attacks, including one on Carolina Anderson, then aged seven, who was severely mauled in a central Auckland park in 2003.
Dogs already registered on July 1 do not need to be microchipped, but farmers have likened the cost of microchipping to the infamous "dog tax" which triggered armed confrontation between European authorities and the Hau Hau cult at Hokianga in April 1898.
Maori who refused to pay a council dog tax triggered an evacuation of Rawene when they threatened to march on the council offices.
Federated Farmers president Charlie Pedersen said the lobby argued against microchipping farm dogs on the grounds that they were well controlled and rarely left their farms.
"Farm dogs don't bite members of the public, because farm dogs stay on their farms," he said. Urban dogs were different, because they had members of the public going past their front gate.
Veterinarians lobbied against the farmers' stance, and their national association said that if "farmers got away with registering pet animals as exempted working dogs, then a lot of urban owners would be encouraged to do the same to avoid the cost of chipping.
Veterinary Association chief executive Murray Gibb said the distinction between working and pet dogs on farms was blurred, and an exemption could mean 35 per cent or more of the canine population was exempt and microchipping as a means of identifying dogs would fail.
Mr Gibb said that microchipping was a blunt tool to address a big social problem with "poorly socialised and poorly managed" dogs -- often owned by people with a similar profile -- and there society needed to change its attitude to such owners.
Mr Pedersen, of Himatangi, said farmers would keep up their battle.
"We just won't accept this," he said.
"We are going to continue to lobby for the removal of our dogs being caught up in this ridiculous piece of legislation." 
But he ruled out carrying out the threat voiced during the lobbying by one regional representative, Taranaki Federated Farmers president Bryan Hocken, who said farmers might take their dogs to Parliament to protest.
"Our dogs will p_ _ _ on the steps to Parliament. . . and we won't clean anything up," said Mr Hocken, of Tarata in North Taranaki.
"And if we end up in jail, then we'll take our dogs with us and they'll do their business on the floors there as well."
Mr Pedersen said farmers would talk to Opposition MPs, but whatever the federation did would be in good taste.
"Some people got a little too emotional and suggested dogs would be defiling the Parliament -- we would never support that," he said.
South Canterbury farmers have urged Federated Farmers' head office to mount a civil disobedience campaign and call on farmers to ignore the microchipping law.


Copyright 2006, Stuff.,2106,3618756a10,00.html


Related, recommended reading:



Elk May Blaze the Animal ID Trail in Texas


November 2005


News Release

Texas Animal Health Commission

Box l2966

Austin, Texas 78711


Fax: 512-719-0719

Bob Hillman, DVM, Executive Director

Carla Everett, information officer or 800-550-8242, Ext. 710

For immediate release

Press Releases:

Text of House Bill 1361: (4 pages)


Elk being moved in Texas will sport a radio frequency identification (RFID) ear tag beginning after the first of the year, if commissioners for the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) adopt regulations proposed for tracking the animals for disease control, including chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal brain disorder. About 300 producers in the state own elk, which are classified as exotic livestock in Texas and are under the jurisdiction of the TAHC, the state’s livestock and poultry health regulatory agency. Premises and animal identification and recordkeeping requirements will extend to all of the animals’ movements in commerce.

“We've worked closely with elk breeders associations, including the Exotic Wildlife Association, South Central Elk Breeders Association and the North American Elk Breeders, to develop the proposed regulations that will be presented to the commissioners for final approval at their meeting December 6 in Austin,” said Dr. Bob Hillman, executive director for the TAHC and Texas’ state veterinarian. “The regulations were developed to enhance disease monitoring with minimal impact on marketing.”

“Identification and recordkeeping requirements will be extremely useful for quickly tracing elk movements, if chronic wasting disease (CWD) -- or other diseases, such as brucellosis or tuberculosis -- are detected in the animals, “he said. “Nationally, the implementation of animal identification for exotic livestock is ‘way down the line,’ but the Texas industry saw a need to be able to track elk movement now, so these animals will blaze the trail in the state for other species.”

The proposed regulations will require owners to obtain a unique premises identification number for their ranches prior to importing elk, moving them to market, slaughter, another ranch or onto other premises within the state. Furthermore, receiving sites within the state also are to be identified. Dr. Hillman said producers of all livestock species can easily obtain the unique seven-character premises identification number.

“Producers can go online, call us or request a paper application to obtain their premises identification number. The information collected will be accessed and used only by state and federal animal health officials for disease surveillance, control and eradication purposes,” explained Dr. Hillman. Premises registration can be completed online at or by calling the TAHC at 1-800-550-8242.

“HB 1361, passed during the last legislative session, enables the TAHC to develop an identification program consistent with the National Animal Identification System, and provides authority to charge a fee for the premises registration. Until 2005, the TAHC was one of the few state regulatory agencies that did not charge fees for services. An industry committee, after looking at many options, determined a $10 per year fee for premises registration is the most equitable way to support TAHC programs,” Dr. Hillman noted.

Under the proposed elk regulations, the premises identification fee, to be paid biennially, is slated to become effective January 1, 2006, for elk producers who move their animals in Texas commerce. The fee will not be charged retroactively for premises registered prior to that date. However, as premises registration are renewed every two years, the $10 per year fee will be applicable. Fees for premises registration for other livestock species are expected to be in effect in spring 2006. As of late November, more than 4,000 of the state’s 200,000 premises have been registered.

If the elk regulations are adopted, Texas producers must individually identify elk with a permanent, official electronic ear tag prior to moving them from their premises. A movement report then must be submitted to the TAHC within 24 hours, providing the owner’s name, and the age, gender and individual identification device number for each animal moved, source of the animal and the premises identifications for the herd of origin and destination site. The producer is to maintain a copy of the records for at least five years.

“Pasture-to-pasture movement of elk can be allowed without the electronic ear tag, provided the producer owns both sites and has them under a single premises registration,” explained Dr. Hillman. “However, the owner must first obtain a written permit from the TAHC and fulfill the reporting requirements.”

The proposed regulations urge producers to have elk tested for CWD when they die or are harvested. Deer and elk that exhibit clinical signs of CWD, such as emaciation, behavioral changes and excessive salivation always should be reported to the TAHC, so brain tissue can be collected and tested. Although the disease has been detected in several states in mule deer, white-tailed deer and elk, and in one instance, a moose, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) do not associate CWD with any known human health effects. More than 9,413 samples from free-ranging or captive deer and elk in Texas have been tested, with no CWD detected.

While mule deer and white-tailed deer also are susceptible to CWD, these animals come under separate identification and health regulations, explained Dr. Hillman. Mule deer in far west Texas and white-tailed deer statewide are classified as native wildlife, and to own them, producers must obtain a scientific breeder permit from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), which has regulatory authority over these species. Scientific breeders must meet identification and testing requirements established by the TPWD.

“We cannot say we don't have CWD, if we don't monitor susceptible species and test for it,” Dr. Hillman stressed. “If we do find CWD in Texas, appropriate action must be taken to control and eradicate the disease. Hunting, wildlife and exotic hoofstock are industries extremely important to the livelihood of Texas. It’s only reasonable to take precautions to ensure these animals are healthy.”


Copyright 2005, Texas Animal Health Commission.