Senate Research Center
Agriculture & Rural Affairs
AUTHOR'S / SPONSOR'S STATEMENT OF INTENT
Breeder deer are required by law to have unique, identifying numbers for disease-tracking purposes. Current law requires that breeder deer held in a permitted facility must be identified by a durable identification tag, defined as a single tag not easily dislodged or removed and made of a material that is not likely to disintegrate or decompose. The current statute clarifies the term "includes, but is not limited to, newly developed technologies, including radio frequency tags." The statute also stipulates that breeder deer cannot be moved from a permitted facility unless the deer has been permanently tattooed in one ear with the deer's assigned unique identification number.
The statute does not go far enough to clarify that "newly developed technologies" such as radio frequency tags or microchips can be used instead of other prescribed identification requirements. Implantable microchips are an accepted, reliable, and viable veterinarian tool for animal identification. Such technology in breeder deer identification will inflict less trauma and stress on the deer than is imposed through the current requirements of ear-tagging or tattooing. In addition, ear tags can often fall off or be torn off by getting tangled in heavy brush or fences, or be chewed on by other deer, resulting in permanent disfigurement and frequent ear infections. Tattoos can be applied improperly or become unreadable. Tattoos can also be distorted and marked over to cover illegal activity. Human error can result in the use of wrong digits, transposing numbers and other inadvertent mistakes that create serious impediments for accurate identification, herd inventory and tracking—all critical components of mandated disease monitoring.
S.B. 499 clarifies that radio-frequency tags or implantable microchips are acceptable options for compliance with statutory identification requirements for breeder deer.
Rulemaking authority is expressly granted to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in SECTION 2 (Section 43.3561, Parks and Wildlife Code) of this bill.
SECTION BY SECTION ANALYSIS
SECTION 1. Amends Section 43.351(5), Parks and Wildlife Code, to redefine "durable identification tag."
SECTION 2. Amends Section 43.3561, Parks and Wildlife Code, as follows:
Sec. 43.3561. IDENTIFICATION OF BREEDER DEER. (a) Requires a breeder deer held in a permitted deer breeding facility, not later than March 31 of the year following the year in which the breeder deer is born, to be identified by placing on each breeder deer possessed by the deer breeder a single durable identification tag, rather than a single, reasonably visible, durable identification tag, bearing an alphanumeric number of not more than four characters assigned by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) to the breeding facility in which the breeder deer was born and unique to that breeder deer.
(b) Prohibits a person, except as provided by Subsection (d), from removing or knowingly permitting the removal of a breeder deer held in a facility by a permittee under this subchapter unless the breeder deer has been permanently and legibly tattooed in one ear with the unique identification number assigned to the breeder in lawful possession of the breeder deer and specific to the breeding facility in which the breeder deer was born or initially introduced if from an out-of-state source.
(c) Prohibits a person, except as provided by Subsection (d), from knowingly accepting or permitting the acceptance of a breeder deer into a facility regulated under this subchapter unless the breeder deer has been permanently and legibly tattooed in one ear with the unique identification number assigned to the breeder in lawful possession of the breeder deer and specific to the facility in which the breeder deer was born or initially introduced if from an out-of-state source.
(d) Authorizes a deer breeder to identify a deer by using a durable identification tag that is a microchip implanted under the deer's skin instead of using a tattoo to identify a breeder deer under Subsection (b) or (c).
(e) Authorizes the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to adopt rules governing the use of durable identification tags for identifying breeder deer under this section.
SECTION 3. Effective date: September 1, 2011.