South Carolina Legislature


 

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S 319
Session 113 (1999-2000) 

S 0319 General Bill, By Mescher
 A BILL TO AMEND CHAPTER 16, TITLE 50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976,
 RELATING TO IMPORTATION OF WILDLIFE, BY ADDING ARTICLE 5 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE
 ELK FARMING, TO PROVIDE FOR IMPORTATION AND REGULATION OF FARMED ELK, TO
 PROVIDE FOR LICENSURE OF ELK FARMING OPERATIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE PURCHASE
 AND SALE OF FARMED ELK PRODUCTS AND BY-PRODUCTS IN THE STATE, AND TO PROVIDE
 PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION OF THIS ARTICLE; TO AMEND SECTION 50-11-1920, AS
 AMENDED, RELATING TO THE SALE OF VENISON IN EATING ESTABLISHMENTS, SO AS TO
 ALLOW THE SALE OF EXOTIC FARM-RAISED DEER AND ELK BY OFFICIAL FOOD SERVICE
 ESTABLISHMENTS AND WHOLESALE FOOD DISTRIBUTORS WHO COMPLY WITH INSPECTION,
 RECORDKEEPING, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR THE
 VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION; AND TO DESIGNATE SECTIONS 50-16-10 THROUGH 50-16-70
 AS ARTICLE 1 OF CHAPTER 16, TITLE 50 TO BE ENTITLED "GENERAL PROVISIONS".

   01/14/99  Senate Introduced and read first time SJ-9
   01/14/99  Senate Referred to Committee on Fish, Game and Forestry SJ-9



A BILL

TO AMEND CHAPTER 16, TITLE 50, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO IMPORTATION OF WILDLIFE, BY ADDING ARTICLE 5 SO AS TO AUTHORIZE ELK FARMING, TO PROVIDE FOR IMPORTATION AND REGULATION OF FARMED ELK, TO PROVIDE FOR LICENSURE OF ELK FARMING OPERATIONS, TO PROVIDE FOR THE PURCHASE AND SALE OF FARMED ELK PRODUCTS AND BY-PRODUCTS IN THE STATE, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION OF THIS ARTICLE; TO AMEND SECTION 50-11-1920, AS AMENDED, RELATING TO THE SALE OF VENISON IN EATING ESTABLISHMENTS, SO AS TO ALLOW THE SALE OF EXOTIC FARM-RAISED DEER AND ELK BY OFFICIAL FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS AND WHOLESALE FOOD DISTRIBUTORS WHO COMPLY WITH INSPECTION, RECORDKEEPING, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS, AND TO PROVIDE PENALTIES FOR THE VIOLATION OF THIS SECTION; AND TO DESIGNATE SECTIONS 50-16-10 THROUGH 50-16-70 AS ARTICLE 1 OF CHAPTER 16, TITLE 50 TO BE ENTITLED "GENERAL PROVISIONS".

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Chapter 16, Title 50 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Article 5

Elk Farming Operation Act

Section 50-16-510. This article may be cited as the 'Elk Farming Operation Act of 1999'.

Section 50-16-520. The purpose of this article is to provide for the production of farmed elk and to provide for the importation, production, control, and eradication of disease in farmed elk.

Section 50-16-530. As used in this article, the term:

(1) 'Elk farming' means the raising and production of farmed elk for the commercial production of food and fiber.

(2) 'Farmed elk' means elk or wapiti (Cervidae, elaphus canadensis) only and hybrids between farmed elk species raised for the commercial sale of meat and other parts or for the sale of live animals. Natural elk is classified as unacceptable species and is not included within the definition of farmed elk. Elk that may be under the authority of Title 50, Part 23, Subpart C, Section 23.23 of the Code of Federal Regulations, implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 27 U.S.T. 1087, TIAS 8249, must meet the requirements set forth in the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, 16 U.S.C.1531, et seq.

(3) 'Director' means the Director of the Department of Natural Resources.

(4) 'Department' means the Department of Natural Resources.

(5) 'Division' means the Administrative Law Judge Division.

Section 50-16-540. (A) A person may not possess, buy, import, or transport farmed elk or engage in or carry on the business of elk farming without first obtaining an elk farming license from the Department of Natural Resources.

(B) The department shall issue an elk farming license to individuals who qualify under the provisions of this article or any regulation promulgated pursuant to this article. An elk farming license is valid from the date of issuance to March thirty-first of each calendar year. An elk farming license shall not be issued by the department to any elk farming operation which has not been inspected and approved by the department. A facility expansion must be preapproved before renewal of an elk farming license.

(C) The license of any elk farm operator who violates this article or any regulation promulgated by the department pursuant to this article is subject to revocation following notice and hearing. An elk farming license of any licensee whose facility does not meet the definition of elk farming shall be revoked, and the license may be revoked if the licensee violates any provision of Title 50 relating to farmed elk. Upon revocation or nonrenewal of a license, the holder of farmed elk under that license, within forty-five days, shall remove the farmed elk from the facility and dispose of the elk legally within the State or outside the State. If the licensee fails to dispose of the animals within forty-five days, he forfeits all rights, ownership, and claim to the elk and shall relinquish to the department any claim to the elk immediately. The department may then dispose of the elk in any way it chooses. The holder of farmed elk under any license issued by the department shall compensate the department for any expense incurred by the department or its agent during disposition of the elk after revocation or nonrenewal of a permit or a license.

(D) Elk farm operators shall maintain up-to-date inventory records of their elk herds and any transactions or movements including, but not limited to, natural additions, purchased additions, sales, loans, trades, and deaths. Records must be kept in accordance with specifications of the department and the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission and are subject to review by representatives of either agency. Upon application for renewal of an elk farming license, the applicant must include a complete annual record of all transactions involving movement of elk off of or onto the facility, and of any births or deaths on the facility.

(E) Elk farm operators shall construct and maintain premises and facilities used in elk farming in accordance with regulations promulgated by the department, provided that:

(1) the facility must be constructed of such material and of such strength as appropriate for the animals involved;

(2) housing facilities must be structurally sound and must be maintained in good repair to protect and contain the animals;

(3) the facilities must be designed in such manner, including the inclusion of barriers of sufficient dimensions and conformation, to safeguard both the animals and the public against injury or the transmission of diseases by direct contact;

(4) any portion of the facility within which farmed elk are maintained must be surrounded by a perimeter fenceNext with a minimum height of ten feet with no less than the bottom six feet made of woven mesh and constructed of a design, strength, gauge, and mesh approved by the department and which is sufficient to prevent escape of farmed elk and to prevent natural elk from entering. Supplemental wire to attain a height of ten feet may be smooth, barbed, or woven wire of a gauge and mesh approved by the department with strands no more than six inches apart. Perimeter posts, stays or supports, and perimeter gates must be of a design and strength approved by the department. All trees and other structures which pose an imminent threat, as determined by the department, to the integrity of the fencing must be removed unless fencing is constructed so as to prevent the breach of the Previousfence from the fall of a tree or structure;

(5) the pastures or paddocks within the facility must be of a size and so constructed with the vegetation managed in a way that all animals held within the enclosure are readily observable on a daily basis;

(6) native natural elk must be removed from within a facility operating pursuant to this article before the introduction of farmed elk. Upon initial inspection if it is determined that natural elk have been inadvertently confined within a proposed elk farming facility, the department, in cooperation with the facility operator, shall take any action it considers necessary to remove the natural elk from the facility;

(7) the operator of any elk farm immediately shall notify the department of the ingress of natural elk into the licensed facility. The department shall take any action it considers necessary to dispose of the natural elk;

(8) farmed elk may not be held within an enclosure unless the enclosure includes a handling facility adequate to gather, hold, and individually restrain animals in a safe and efficient manner for any inspection, testing, quarantine, or other management action pursuant to this article;

(9) elk farm operators shall register a unique brand, tattoo, approved combination of permanent ear tags, or other approved mark with the department. All farmed elk must be clearly identified with this approved mark. This unique mark must be placed or implanted on animals within fourteen days of birth or purchase if the unique mark is not present when the animal was purchased. The unique mark must be recorded in the facility operator's records, and must be noted in any transfer records or reports or other transaction records or reports referring to each animal.

(F) The department may inspect an applicant's facilities to ensure that the facilities meet the department's guidelines. The department shall report to the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission within thirty days of receipt of the application. The department shall transmit a copy of any license issued pursuant to this article to the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission. The department shall notify the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission of the revocation, nonrenewal, cancellation, or lapse of any license issued pursuant to this article. All notifications must be made in writing and as promptly as possible, but in no event shall the notification be given more than seventy-two hours after the event giving rise to the requirement of notice.

(G) For purposes other than elk farming, farmed elk species must be held under a permit issued by the department. Anyone holding, possessing, importing, or transporting farmed elk species without an elk farming license or a permit issued by the department is in violation of this article.

Section 50-16-550. Health and transportation requirements for any farmed elk shall comply with the health requirements established by regulation of the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission. Those animals specifically used for elk farming must meet the requirements of the Uniform Methods and Rules of the Code of Federal Regulations for Tuberculosis and Brucellosis in Cervidae.

Section 50-16-560. (A) Any farmed elk which escapes from an elk farm is subject to the jurisdiction of the department and may be treated as a wild animal.

(B) As a condition for maintaining an elk farming license, it is the duty of the owner or operator of a licensed elk farm to notify the department immediately upon discovery of the escape of a farmed elk, and the owner or operator shall recapture or destroy the escaped animals at his own expense within twenty-four hours. A person must not be held liable for killing or wounding an escaped farmed elk.

(C) If the licensee does not capture or destroy the escaped animals within twenty-four hours, the department or a designated agent may capture or destroy the animals. Holders of farmed elk held under any license issued by the department are responsible for all expenses incurred in recovering, maintaining, or disposing of the animals, as well as any damage to the state's natural resources and shall, upon written demand, reimburse the department in full within thirty days of the date of the written demand. Holders of farmed elk are responsible for all damage done to private property by escaped farmed elk resulting from such holders' negligence.

Section 50-16-570. It is unlawful to hunt or attempt to hunt farmed elk held under an elk farming license within an elk farming facility, except that animals may be euthanized or destroyed for scientific, health, or safety concerns as considered necessary by the department or by the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission. The owner of farmed elk may slaughter farmed elk for personal use only after the farmed elk have been gathered into an approved holding area.

Section 50-16-580. Elk farm operators shall allow entry onto the elk farm, at reasonable times or whenever employees are present, of representatives of the department, the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission, or other departments or agencies having authority or duties involving farmed elk or wild animals to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws.

Section 50-16-590. Facilities intentionally commingling farmed elk with natural elk must not be licensed as elk farming operations.

Section 50-16-600. The department shall promulgate regulations necessary to effectuate the purpose of this article. The regulations must be designed to ensure the health and safety of wildlife, prevent the escape of farmed elk species, and prevent the spread of animal diseases between wildlife, wild animals, domestic animals, farmed elk, and humans. The department and the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission shall communicate and consult on matters of mutual concern so as to ensure the health and safety of farmed elk, wildlife, wild animals, domestic animals, and humans and to prevent, control, and eradicate animal diseases within this State.

Section 50-16-610. (A) It is unlawful for a person intentionally to release a farmed elk from captivity or to import, transport, sell, transfer, or possess a farmed elk in a manner causing its release or escape from captivity. If a person imports, transports, sells, transfers, or possesses a farmed elk in a manner which poses a reasonable possibility that the farmed elk may be released accidentally or escape from captivity, the department may revoke the license of that person.

(B) A holder of farmed elk held under any license issued by the department shall notify the department immediately of the release of these elk and shall recapture or destroy the released animals at his own expense within twenty-four hours. A person must not be held liable for killing or wounding an escaped farmed elk.

(C) If the licensee does not capture or destroy the released animals within twenty-four hours, the department or a designated agent may capture or destroy the animals. A holder of farmed elk held under any license issued by the department is responsible for all expenses incurred in recovering, maintaining, or disposing of the animals, as well as any damage to the state's natural resources, and, upon written demand, shall reimburse the department in full within thirty days of the date of the written demand. A holder of farmed elk is responsible for all expenses related to damages caused to private property by released farmed elk.

Section 50-16-620. (A) Products and by-products derived from farmed elk may be offered for sale and purchase in this State if all of the requirements established pursuant to the provisions of this article are satisfied.

(B) Animals must be slaughtered according to regulations of the Livestock-Poultry Health Commission or the United States Department of Agriculture currently in force for the product. Any meat or meat by-product must be sold, offered for sale, or purchased in accordance with Section 50-11-1920. The meat or meat by-product must bear an official inspection mark, tag, or package label as required by the State or by the federal government when inspected, or a tag or label of facility origin if not inspected.

Section 50-16-630. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person violating the provisions of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined up to five thousand dollars or imprisoned for sixty days, or both, in the discretion of the court.

Section 50-16-640. In addition to any other remedy provided in this article and notwithstanding the existence of any adequate remedy at law, the director or his designee is authorized to apply to the Administrative Law Judge Division for an injunction. The division has jurisdiction, upon a hearing and for cause shown, to grant a temporary or permanent injunction, or both, restraining a person from violating or continuing to violate a provision of this article or for failing or refusing to comply with the requirements of this article or a regulation promulgated pursuant to this article. An injunction issued under this section does not require a bond.

Section 50-16-650. (A) The director, in order to enforce this article or any orders or regulations promulgated pursuant to this article, may issue an administrative finding of a violation and impose a fine not to exceed one thousand dollars for each violation whenever the director determines that a person has violated a provision of this article or any quarantine, order, or regulation promulgated pursuant to this article.

(B) The initial hearing and any administrative review of the hearing must be conducted before the division in accordance with the procedure for contested cases in accordance with the 'South Carolina Administrative Procedures Act' (Section 1-23-310, et seq.). A person who has exhausted all administrative remedies available to him and who is aggrieved or adversely affected by any final order or action of the director has the right of judicial review in accordance with Chapter 23 of Title 1. All penalties recovered by the director as provided for in this article must be paid to the State Treasurer for deposit by him in the general fund. The penalty prescribed in this section is concurrent, alternative, or cumulative with all other civil, criminal, or alternative rights, remedies, forfeitures, or penalties provided, allowed, or available to the director with respect to any violation of this article or any quarantine, order, or regulations promulgated pursuant to this article.

Section 50-16-660. (A) Unless specified in this section, the sale of elk parts is not prohibited.

(B) It is unlawful to buy or sell, offer for sale, barter, or have in possession for sale live elk, except as provided in Article 5 of Chapter 16 of this title.

(C) It is unlawful to buy or sell, offer for sale, barter, or have in possession for sale the venison of elk, except as provided in Section 50-11-1920 and Article 5 of Chapter 16 of this title.

(D) It is unlawful to buy or sell, offer for sale, barter, or have in possession for sale natural elk antlers or parts of natural elk antlers.

(E) For a violation of this section, upon conviction of each offense, the guilty party, for a first offense, must be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than three hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both; for a second offense, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both; for a third and any subsequent offense, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars or be imprisoned for not more than sixty days, or both.

(F) The provisions of subsections (A) through (E) of this section do not apply to elk farming operations licensed in this State pursuant to the provisions of Article 5 of Chapter 16 of this title or those operations which are lawfully licensed and regulated as elk farming facilities in any other state; provided, that live elk, elk products, or elk by-products meet the definition of farmed elk pursuant to Article 5 of Chapter 16 of this title and that live elk, elk products, or elk by-products are properly marked or labeled pursuant to Article 5 of Chapter 16 of this title in order that the origin of the item may be easily and readily ascertained."

SECTION 2. Section 50-11-1920 of the 1976 Code, as last amended by Act 342 of 1998, is further amended to read:

"Section 50-11-1920. (A) The proprietor of a permitted food service establishment may purchase and sell exotic farm-raised venison or elk which is processed through an official establishment, certified by the State Livestock-Poultry Health Commission or the United States Department of Agriculture. The food service establishment first must obtain a permit from the department, at no cost, and must maintain adequate records to provide department personnel, law enforcement officers, and other food service inspectors information as to the source of the venison or elk. The premises of the permitted food service establishment must be open for inspection by enforcement officers, department personnel, and food service inspectors at reasonable times or whenever employees are present.

(B) The owner of a permitted food service establishment is responsible for compliance with the terms of the permit and with this section. If the food service establishment or its employees violate the terms of the permit or this section, the permit is invalid, and the owner of the food service establishment is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(C) An official establishment or a wholesale food distributor may obtain a permit, at no cost, to buy and sell exotic farm-raised venison or elk to a permitted food service establishment. A permittee must maintain adequate records to provide department personnel, law enforcement officers, and other food service inspectors information as to the source of the venison or elk. The premises must be open for inspection at reasonable times or whenever employees are present. If the permittee or its employees violate the terms of the permit or this section, the permit is invalid, and the permittee is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars nor more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(D) The sale of whitetail white-tail deer or natural elk, wild or farm raised, is prohibited.

(E) The Department of Natural Resources may promulgate regulations to enforce the provisions of this section."

SECTION 3. Sections 50-16-10 through 50-16-70 of the 1976 Code are designated as Article 1 of Chapter 16, Title 50 and entitled "General Provisions".

SECTION 4. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.

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