Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 124

02/06/2006 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 380(RES) Out of Committee
Moved Out of Committee
HB 380-ANIMALS & ANIMAL OR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS                                                                              
CO-CHAIR RAMRAS announced  that the next order  of business would                                                               
be HOUSE BILL NO. 380, "An  Act relating to the powers and duties                                                               
of the  commissioner of  environmental conservation;  relating to                                                               
animals,   animal  products,   agricultural  products,   and  the                                                               
transportation of  animals and animal  products; relating  to the                                                               
employment, appointment,  and duties  of a state  veterinarian by                                                               
the commissioner  of environmental conservation; relating  to the                                                               
powers  of  the  commissioner   of  natural  resources  regarding                                                               
agricultural products; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER, Alaska  State Legislature, sponsor of                                                               
HB 380,  said the statutory  duties and powers of  Alaska's state                                                               
veterinarian  have not  been  changed since  1949.   The  statute                                                               
refers  to  fur  farms  and   other  anachronisms  and  gives  no                                                               
authority  to  quarantine  an  animal  unless  it  is  considered                                                               
livestock,  which   limits  options  during  a   potential  avian                                                               
influenza  outbreak,  for  example.   Current  statute  makes  it                                                               
unclear  who would  be  in  charge during  such  an outbreak,  he                                                               
noted.     He  said  various   agencies  jointly  came   up  with                                                               
suggestions that are written into HB 380.                                                                                       
1:34:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MIKE PAWLOWSKI,  Staff to Representative Kevin  Meyer, said there                                                               
is an amendment suggested by  the Department of Health and Social                                                               
CO-CHAIR  SAMUELS   moved  Amendment   1  as   follows  (original                                                               
punctuation provided):                                                                                                          
     Insert a new section:                                                                                                      
     *Sec.__. AS47.05.012(9) is amended to read:                                                                                
         (9) the compendium of animal rabies prevention                                                                         
       and control [2002,] published by the United States                                                                       
     Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;                                                                                
Hearing no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO asked  if  the state  veterinarian has  the                                                               
power to enter private property.                                                                                                
DR. BOB  GERLACH, State  Veterinarian, Division  of Environmental                                                               
Health, Department of Environmental  Conservation, said only with                                                               
respect to a  specific species in statute.  He  noted an instance                                                               
of  prairie dogs  spreading monkey  pox in  the Midwest,  and the                                                               
state veterinarians did  not have the ability to  go onto private                                                               
land, so they quarantined the area.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO said  he is  concerned  about rapid  global                                                               
movements of animals,  and there may be  unknown vectors creating                                                               
an  emergency situation.   "Would  this bill  allow you  to seize                                                               
upon a  situation that comes before  us that seems a  crisis, and                                                               
allow  you  to  act  very quickly,"  gaining  access  to  private                                                               
property in the interest of public health?                                                                                      
1:39:51 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. GERLACH  said HB 380  "would allow the state  veterinarian to                                                               
take action and control a  disease outbreak that was initiated by                                                               
a species, a novel species, or any animal."                                                                                     
MR. PAWLOWSKI said to look at  Section 3 regarding the ability to                                                               
inspect premises.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  said, "I would  like to know  that somebody                                                               
in the  state doesn't need to  have the troopers come  with them"                                                               
in the case of non-cooperating property owners.                                                                                 
DR. GERLACH said  the bill would give the power  to quarantine an                                                               
animal to  a premise and  then decide if extermination  is called                                                               
1:41:59 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.   GERLACH   provided   the  following   testimony   (original                                                               
punctuation provided):                                                                                                          
       The current rapid pace of disease emergence at the                                                                       
     beginning   of  the   21   century   has  created   new                                                                    
     challenges  for the  management and  control of  animal                                                                    
     and  public  health  diseases.  The  emergence  of  new                                                                    
     diseases   has  been   primarily  associated   with  an                                                                    
     increased  interaction   with  animals.    It   is  now                                                                    
     recognized  that  over  70%  of  the  newly  identified                                                                    
     infectious  disease affecting  human  health and  human                                                                    
     economies are  zoonotic diseases (animal  diseases that                                                                    
     infect people).   In the  past the  infectious diseases                                                                    
     categorized  according to  a convenient  but artificial                                                                    
     diseases of livestock,                                                                                                     
     diseases of wildlife,                                                                                                      
     diseases of pets,                                                                                                          
     diseases of humans.                                                                                                        
     Infectious  diseases   are  rarely  restricted   to  an                                                                    
     individual  species  and  are   not  contained  by  any                                                                    
     artificial geographic or political boundary.                                                                               
     Diseases  can be  introduced to  a new  area through  a                                                                    
     number  of routes.   For  examples let  us look  at the                                                                    
     recent  outbreaks of  some  highly publicized  emerging                                                                    
     disease and how they were spread.                                                                                          
   import and export of animals (Monkey Pox- rodents from                                                                     
   transportation of animal products (Bovine Spongiform                                                                       
     Encephalopathy -  Mad Cow Disease- meat  and bone meal,                                                                    
     animal feeds)                                                                                                              
   movement of food products (E. coli O-157- ground meat,                                                                     
     Salmonella-meats   and    vegetables,   Listeria-cheese                                                                    
   animal movement/migration (Avain Influenza-waterfowl,                                                                      
     Chronic Wasting Disease-white tailed deer)                                                                                 
   insect vectors (West Nile Virus- mosquitoes, Lyme                                                                          
     There are  also threats to public  health from diseases                                                                    
     that  have  been recognized  for  many  years and  were                                                                    
     thought to be under  control. These disease agents have                                                                    
     re-emerged recently  to cause  new problems due  to the                                                                    
     presence  in  a new  population  or  group of  animals.                                                                    
     For  example;  outbreaks   of  two  zoonotic  diseases,                                                                    
     tuberculosis   and   brucellosis,   in   wildlife   and                                                                    
     livestock   have  resulted   in  Minnesota,   Michigan,                                                                    
     Montana,  California, Arizona,  and Utah  loosing their                                                                    
     status as disease free states.   Other disease have re-                                                                    
     emerged as a threat due  to genetic mutations that make                                                                    
     the   pathogen   more   resistant  to   commonly   used                                                                    
     antibiotics.   Antibiotic resistant strains of  E. coli                                                                    
     O-157,   Salmonella   and    tuberculosis   have   been                                                                    
     identified   resulting  in   increased  morbidity   and                                                                    
     mortality rates and escalating health care cost.                                                                           
     The  consequences of  all these  disease outbreaks  has                                                                    
     had major impact on both  animal health, public health,                                                                    
     as well as regional and national economies.                                                                                
     There  is no  state agency  that has  the authority  to                                                                  
     manage  animals (domestic,  wild  or  exotic) that  may                                                                  
     carry  diseases   that  threaten  the   State's  animal                                                                  
     resources and public health.                                                                                             
     The  current authority  of  the  State Veterinarian  is                                                                  
     limited  to  livestock,  poultry  and  animals  on  fur                                                                  
     How has the state managed this problem?                                                                                    
     In the  February of 2004  a veterinarian  reported that                                                                    
     several horses had acutely died  in Kodiak. The disease                                                                    
     investigation was  initiated by the  State Veterinarian                                                                    
     in  collaboration   with  the   USDA,  UAF   and  local                                                                    
     practitioners.   Public Health was notified.  No person                                                                    
     had the  authority to stop  all animal  movement (pets,                                                                    
     livestock,   wildlife,  animals   for  exhibition)   to                                                                    
     prevent the possible spread  of a potentially dangerous                                                                    
     disease   during   this    investigation.   The   State                                                                    
     Veterinarian had the  authority to quarantine livestock                                                                    
     and  poultry only.    All animal  movement  on and  off                                                                    
     Kodiak was curtailed  through the voluntary cooperation                                                                  
     of DOD-US  Coast Guard,  State Dept  of Transportation-                                                                    
     Ferry System, private airline  carriers with the Office                                                                    
     of the  State Veterinarian.   Five horses and  a donkey                                                                    
     died in  the span of  two weeks; fortunately  the cause                                                                    
     of the equine deaths was not an infectious disease.                                                                        
     In the summer of 2005  a dog kennel owner imported some                                                                    
     ducks into Alaska to train  hunting dogs.   He reported                                                                    
     that 200 of  500 of the ducks had died  over the course                                                                    
     of  2 weeks.  These ducks  are not  considered poultry.                                                                    
     There was a  high level of concern due  to the outbreak                                                                    
     of  Avian Influenza  in Southeast  Asia.   The  disease                                                                    
     investigation    was   coordinated    by   the    State                                                                    
     Veterinarian  in  collaboration  with the  USDA.    The                                                                    
     owner agreed to the  disease control measures that were                                                                    
     instituted   during   the  investigation:   quarantine,                                                                    
     cancellation of  all dog trials scheduled,  sampling of                                                                    
     the  remaining  flock  of ducks.    The  condition  was                                                                    
     treated with an antibiotic and  the deaths ceased.  The                                                                    
     disease was  not the result  of Avian Influenza  or any                                                                    
     other  foreign animal  disease but  caused by  a common                                                                    
     bacterial disease.                                                                                                         
     In   the   past   disease  investigations   have   been                                                                    
     successfully managed and  controlled with the voluntary                                                                    
     cooperation of all parties involved.   The state cannot                                                                    
     depend on this  in the future, there needs  to be clear                                                                    
     statuary authority  in situations of an  animal disease                                                                    
1:52:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  RAMRAS  said he  would  like  to  address the  lack  of                                                               
veterinarian programs in Alaska's university system.                                                                            
1:54:11 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO said  the use of imported seed  has caused a                                                               
potato blight in  Alaska.  He asked about airlines  being able to                                                               
transport exotic pets.                                                                                                          
DR. GERLACH said the state needs  to be able to control and track                                                               
animal imports  or anything that would  be a vector to  a disease                                                               
that may threaten  Alaska's resources.  The  postal service ships                                                               
live poultry, and it is unregulated, he noted.                                                                                  
1:57:44 PM                                                                                                                    
LOUISA  CASTRODALE, Epidemiologist,  Division  of Public  Health,                                                               
Department of  Health and Social  Services, said the  director of                                                               
the Division  of Public Health  supports HB 380 and  Amendment 1.                                                               
She explained  that Amendment  1 removes  the specific  year from                                                               
statute  in   reference  to  the  compendium   of  animal  rabies                                                               
prevention and control,  so the compendium can be  referred to as                                                               
it comes out each year, "so it's the most up-to-date."                                                                          
1:59:27 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY  DEVILBISS, Director,  Division of  Agriculture, Department                                                               
of Natural  Resources, spoke  to Representative  Gatto's question                                                               
about potato  and tomato  blight and said  the strains  have been                                                               
narrowed down, and the vector  was likely imported tomato plants.                                                               
He said he supports the legislation.                                                                                            
2:01:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO asked about importation of tomatoes.                                                                       
MR. DEVILBISS  said the major  importers have been  notified that                                                               
plants must be certified or they will not be able to sell them.                                                                 
2:02:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  SAMUELS  moved to  report  HB  380  as amended  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.   Hearing no  objections, CSHB 380(RES)  passed out                                                               
of the House Resources Standing Committee.                                                                                      

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