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April 05, 2006   Email to Friend 

SPARKS, RILEY AGREE TO ANIMAL ID AMENDMENT
Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
April 05, 2006

MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Ron Sparks and Gov. Bob Riley have agreed to an executive amendment to a bill recently passed by the Alabama Legislature that would allow the Department of Agriculture and Industries to implement an animal identification system that keeps producer information confidential.

The executive amendment would make it clear that participation in the animal identification program is currently "voluntary" in Alabama and would remain voluntary until federal law or regulation requires mandatory participation.

"I became concerned about clarifying this part of the bill after my office received many calls from concerned farmers who had been confused by the misinformation put out prior to the bill being passed," said Sparks. "I hope that adding this language will ensure that everyone can easily tell that this bill does not implement a mandatory animal identification program in Alabama and that the program would not be mandatory until it is required by federal regulations. It only means that the information collected in the program will remain confidential to protect the privacy of those who participate."

Riley, who raises cattle on his farm in Ashland, said he supports animal identification as a protection for farmers and consumers. The technology is available "to make sure we never have the spread of something that could be devastating to so many farmers out there," he told reporters at the Capitol.


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