Thursday, June 01, 2017

Cattle nonprofit sues Nebraska Brand Committee

A nonprofit representing ranchers with Nebraska feedlots has requested a federal judge to rule the Nebraska Livestock Brand Act unconstitutional and prevent the state from enforcing it. The Nebraska Beef Producers Committee filed a lawsuit against the Nebraska Brand Committee and executive director William Bunce in U.S. District Court on Tuesday, the Lincoln Journal Star ( ) reported. The Brand Committee records ranchers' brands, inspects cattle to verify ownership and investigates missing livestock and cattle rustling. The Brand Act requires cattle being moved outside a designated brand area or sold within it to be inspected. Katherine Spohn, attorney for the beef producers, said the Brand Committee was initially formed in 1941 to address the vulnerability of cattle being stolen from large, open cow-calf operations. But she said current ranchers operating feedlots now use electronic identification devices and ear tags, along with brands, to track and find animals. The Brand Committee's website said none of the nearly 2,000 head of cattle recovered in the past two fiscal years had been stolen. "The evolution of the cattle industry has rendered the regulatory scheme codified in the Brand Act ineffectual and obsolete in its ability to protect the interests originally intended by the Legislature," Spohn said. She said waiting for inspectors can lead to weight loss to cattle, loss of revenue and sometimes lost contracts. "For members of the NBPC, brand inspections come at a high cost: cattle operations owned by members of the NBPC vary in size, with some members paying between $75,000 and $90,000 in brand inspection fees for 2016," Spohn said. Bunce told The Associated Press on Thursday that while it would be inappropriate to comment on the case, he hopes it has a positive outcome. AP

No comments: