DATCP: Livestock sales call for state licenses to protect animal health, livestock industry

No Exemptions for Neighborhood Sales, Fair Animals

Contact: Donna Gilson 608-224-5130

MADISON – Wisconsin animal health officials are issuing a reminder that livestock consignment sales and auctions, as well as buying and reselling animals – even for fair projects – must be licensed under state law, to protect both livestock health and Wisconsin’s animal agriculture.

Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Paul McGraw recently sent a letter to some producers who have organized such sales in the past, reminding them of the requirement. But there are others in the state involved in these activities who may not have come to the state’s attention and did not get a reminder in their mailboxes.

“It’s becoming more common for several families or neighboring farms to get together and organize a livestock consignment sale or auction on one of their farms or at their county fairgrounds,” Dr. McGraw said. “It makes sense because they can draw a larger group of buyers, but they are probably not even aware that a sale like that requires an animal market license. If it’s just one farm selling animals that they raised, a license isn’t necessary, but when you have animals from two or more owners, that changes things.”

It’s also common at this time of year for one individual to buy animals either in Wisconsin or out of state and resell them to young people for fair projects. These animals need all the appropriate health papers, and the seller needs an animal dealer license. The dealer license is for the person who sells animals shortly after buying them without changing them – for example, by using them as breeder or feeder animals. These animals also need to have all the appropriate health papers.

“We’ve been lenient in the past, but as we’ve become aware of the extent of this activity, and with animal agriculture such an important part of Wisconsin’s economy, we can’t afford to let things like this slide,” McGraw said. “Keeping a record of where animals are commingled and of animal movements is really vital in case of a disease outbreak. We’re starting with an education effort, and will work with people to get them licensed. But eventually we will move to enforcement.”

Animal market licenses cost $220 a year, if the licensee holds sales on four days or fewer during the year. Animal dealer licenses are $220 a year.

Applications for animal market and dealer licenses are available by calling 608-224-4889 weekdays 7:45 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Information about health requirements for imported animals is available online at http://www.datcp.state.wi.us under “animal welfare and disease.”