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Animal information protection clears Legislature

OLYMPIA -- Livestock information under the state's disease traceability system is exempt from disclosure under a bill passed unanimously by both the Senate and the House.

House Bill 2456, sponsored by Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, cleared its last legislative hurdle in a vote Feb. 29.

Exempted from disclosure under the state Public Records Act is information related to animal ownership, number of animals, location, contact information, movements of livestock, purchase and sale information, account numbers issued by the government and any information that would identify a specific animal, person or location.

Chandler said the bill will protect personal business data of ranchers in cases where disclosure would put them at a competitive disadvantage. At the same time it enhances the ability to identify and trace diseased livestock.

The bill also eliminates references to the National Animal Identification System.

-- Steve Brown

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