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April 10, 2001
Introduced by Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee
S. Printed 4/10/01--H.
Read the first time March 28, 2001.
TO ESTABLISH A THREE-YEAR PILOT PROGRAM OF ALLIGATOR FARMING FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE FEASIBILITY OF ALLIGATOR FARMING FOR POULTRY MORTALITY DISPOSAL AND PROVIDE THAT UNTIL JULY 1, 2004, ANY PERSON EIGHTEEN OR OLDER MAY ESTABLISH AN ALLIGATOR FARM FOR THE PURPOSE OF POULTRY MORTALITY DISPOSAL BY COMPLYING WITH CERTAIN TERMS, CONDITIONS, AND PROVISIONS RELATING TO PARTICIPATION IN THE PILOT PROGRAM OF ALLIGATOR FARMING FOR POULTRY MORTALITY DISPOSAL.
Amend Title To Conform
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. (A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, from the effective date of this Joint Resolution until July 1, 2004, any person eighteen years of age or older may establish an alligator farm for the purpose of determining the feasibility of alligator farming for poultry mortality disposal by agreeing to and complying with the terms, conditions, and provisions of this section.
(B) The terms, conditions, and provisions that a person participating in the three-year pilot program of alligator farming for poultry mortality disposal must follow are:
(1) The propagation and exhibition of alligators and incubation of alligator eggs is not permitted.
(2) A person wishing to establish an alligator farm must obtain an alligator farmer permit from the Department of Natural Resources. The department may not issue a permit for alligator farming to an applicant who is under eighteen years of age. The permit year is from July first to June thirtieth. The number of permits that may be issued is limited and will be determined by the department with advice and consent of the South Carolina Poultry Federation. Permits may be issued only to those who are pioneering in the alligator farming for poultry mortality disposal effort, and the permits will be valid only for a period of three years. During this period the person holding a permit must adhere to the conditions of this section and must attempt to determine the feasibility of using alligators to dispose of poultry mortality.
(3) Department personnel will inspect the facilities and review the specifications of proposed facilities to ensure that the applicant has met and is complying with the terms, conditions, and provisions of this section.
(4) A person convicted of violating any law or rule protecting crocodilians or other wildlife within five years preceding the date of application, or who has been convicted of any felony within five years of the date of the application, is ineligible to participate in the Alligator Farming Program and may not be issued a permit.
(5) Upon revocation of an alligator farming permit the person whose permit is revoked shall have six months to dispose of legally acquired alligators.
(6) Alligators must be obtained from legal out-of-state captive sources such as an established alligator farm or similar legal source. Legal requirements of the state from which the alligators originate must be satisfied before alligators can be moved across state lines. The buyer must retain a bill of lading identifying the source of alligators, total number, length, and sex if known, or similar evidence of sale.
(7) Alligator farming facilities must be fenced or secured around the perimeter with adequate barriers to prevent escape or entrance of any size alligator. Fences shall be buried or otherwise secured at the bottom to prevent escape or entrance of any size alligator, and all fences must be approved by the department. An alligator farming facility may not be located or operated within one-half mile of a childcare facility, school, group home for the aged or mentally impaired, public park, or playground and must comply with all of the following siting, setback, and separation requirements:
(a) All siting requirements for alligator feeding operations must be measured from property lines.
(b) The minimum setback separation distance required between an alligator enclosure and real property owned by another person is 1,000 feet. Setbacks from property lines may be waived with written consent of the affected property owners.
(c) The minimum separation distance between an alligator enclosure and a public or private drinking water well is 500 feet.
(d) The minimum separation distance required between an alligator enclosure and waters of the State is 1,320 feet or 1/4 mile. If the waters of the State are designated Outstanding Resource Waters, Critical Habitat Waters of federally endangered species, or Shellfish Harvesting Waters, the minimum separation distance required between an alligator enclosure and waters of the State is 2,640 feet or 1/2 mile. A minimum 100 foot vegetative buffer of plants or trees is required.
(e) The minimum separation distance in feet required between a ditch or swale which drains directly into waters of the State and all alligator enclosures is 100 feet.
(8) All alligator farming facilities must be in compliance with all laws and regulations pertaining to zoning, construction, health and environmental standards, and must possess any and all applicable permits and licenses.
(9) Harvested alligators may be processed only at sites for processing alligators that are approved by the department.
(10) All alligators farmed under authority of this section must be immediately tagged when harvested with a tag furnished by the department at a cost of five dollars per tag. The tag must remain attached to the alligator hide at all times, and it is unlawful for a person holding an alligator farm permit to possess any untagged alligator hide or carcass. All alligators that die on a farm due to accident, natural causes, or reasons other than harvest must be tagged immediately or destroyed and recorded in the farm inventory records within twenty-four hours.
(11) Alligator identifying tags issued to alligator farmers holding alligator farming permits are and remain the property of the department. All unused tags must be returned to the department within fifteen days of the end of the permit year. Possession of an alligator hide tag by a person other than an alligator farmer who has been issued a permit under this section is unlawful and strictly prohibited.
(12) Alligator meat, skins, and products of alligators legally grown on the premises of permitted alligator farms may be sold or transferred by the permittee in the same manner provided in Regulation 123-151.
(13) Live alligators may be sold by the permittee only to another permittee and must be recorded in the farm inventory records within twenty-four hours of the sale. Live alligators may not be transferred to any state or country without advance notice being provided to the Deputy Director of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries by the transferor.
(14) Permitted alligator farmers must maintain complete and accurate written records and documentation regarding alligator stocks. The records must be maintained on an alligator inventory form supplied by the department. Shipping documents, invoices, bills of lading, transportation permits, and records of all hide and product sales shall be maintained and kept at the permitted farm to show source of supply or disposition of alligator stock. Farmers shall maintain records that show an accurate inventory of alligators present in each tank or enclosure and record any change in number of alligators and the causes of such change. Records must be made available for immediate inspection by department personnel upon demand.
(15) A complete and accurate Alligator Farm Annual Report form supplied by the department must be completed no later than January first and made available for inspection to department personnel at the farm. The report must include number of live alligators on the farm; total unharvested mortality (natural) during the year to include cause of death, if known, and disposition of hide and meat; number of alligators harvested; number of alligators purchased or received; and number of live alligators sold or transferred to other legal operatives.
(16) It is a violation of the permit conditions to submit inaccurate or incomplete reports or to submit reports later than January first. For the purpose of this section, an inaccurate report is a report that deviates more than twenty-five percent from the actual total of alligators present on a permitted farm.
(17) Department personnel may inspect permitted alligator farms, facilities, records, buildings, or lands used for alligator farming, including conveyances used for the transportation of alligators or alligator products to determine compliance with the program and laws protecting alligators and to allow for collection of biological information.
(18) An alligator farm inspection will not include inventory by the department except under one or more of the following conditions: upon lawful sale or transfer of farm ownership; when inspections or other department actions indicate a violation of alligator rearing procedures; pursuant to an investigation in which alligators or their parts are suspected of being taken in violation of these provisions; and before the transfer of alligator stock which occurs after a conviction resulting in revocation of an alligator farming permit. An inventory may consist of a total count or a sample of a portion of the facility.
(19) A permitted alligator farmer is responsible for the actions of an escaped animal and is liable for damage caused by an escaped animal and for the costs associated with the recovery of escaped animals. Department personnel or similar public safety officers may destroy escaped animals when deemed necessary.
SECTION 2. This joint resolution takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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