New provisions of Texas Farm Animal Liability Act go into effect Sept. 1
Anyone who owns livestock in Texas, including horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, fowl and honey bees in a managed colony, need to be aware of key changes to the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act that will be effective Sept. 1, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agricultural law expert.
The Texas Legislature passed and Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 365, making important changes to the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act, said Tiffany Dowell Lashmet, AgriLife Extension agriculture law specialist, Amarillo.
Previously, a sign was required only for farm animal professionals, but farm and ranch owners and lessees must also now hang a sign at or near their arena, corral or stable to get the statute’s protections.
“While livestock owners have enjoyed the Farm Animal Liability Act’s protection for years, House Bill 365 made important changes to expand the scope of the Act in response to a Texas Supreme Court decision last year,” she said. “In doing so, there is a new signage requirement that producers need to be aware of and take action on.”
The required language has been slightly modified by the new bill and must read as follows effective Sept. 1:
Under Texas law (chapter 87, civil practice and remedies code), a farm animal professional or farm owner or lessee is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in farm animal activities, including an employee or independent contractor, resulting from the inherent risks of farm animal activities.
“Because injuries happen around farm animals, even when a person takes precautions, having the Farm Animal Liability Act as an available defense is important for all livestock owners across Texas,” Lashmet said.
Texas Farm Bureau and Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association will have signs available, she said, or individuals can make their own.