In early April, House Bill 1960 passed all respectful chambers and was signed into law. With the enactment of this bill, the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission is now able to contract with private entities in the state in order to administer all requirements for the branding and marking of livestock. As a result of private entities conducting business under the obligations of the Commission, all private entities must post a surety bond as a form of financial security.
This bond is the Commission’s way of guaranteeing faithful performance of the private entities’ duties while decreasing the chance of unethical or fraudulent behavior in the workplace. All surety bonds will be determined by the Commission on a case-by-case basis in an amount deemed suitable for each specific circumstance. H.B. 1960 becomes effective in law on July 3, 2015.
Some of the most prominent forms of unprincipled behavior insured by a livestock branding surety bond are as follows:
- Purposefully branding, misbranding, marking or mismarking a domestic animal with an intent to defraud
- Knowingly placing a brand that has not yet been registered with the Commission
- Duplicating a brand that is already registered with the Commission
- Intentionally branding over previous brands or cut outs as well as destroying previous marks or brands on a domestic animal
Domestic animals can be defined in Chapter 34, Subchapter 1 of the Arkansas Code as cattle, horses, sheep, goats and hogs.
Performing any of the above acts can result in a Class A misdemeanor or a Class C felony depending on the severity of the act.
Before a brand can be used legally on livestock, it must first be registered with the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission prior to use. In order to register a brand with the Commission, individuals must complete the following steps:
- Submit an application on a standard form prepared by the Commission
- Supply a photo displaying the front, rear, left and right side view of the livestock to prove eligibility
- Select at least (3) distinct brands and locations on the animals and list them in the preferred order
- Pay all mandatory registration/application fees as determined by the Commission
Brands are valid for 5 years after approval by the Commission.