Warnick animal inspection bill signed by governor

Gov. Inslee signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick in a ceremony Tuesday.

Senate Bill 6369 removes an exemption on veterinary inspections of animals brought into Washington state. Under current law, importers are exempt from an inspection if an animal is delivered to a feedlot, slaughter plant or livestock market within 12 hours, causing concern about food safety processes.

“My bill closes an exemption and will improve our state’s food safety,” said Warnick, R-Moses Lake. “We are bringing state law into alignment to strengthen our ability to prevent infectious diseases and ensure healthy animals are coming to our state.”

It is already unlawful to import animals into Washington without obtaining a veterinary inspection to ensure animals meet the state’s health requirements. Warnick’s bill removes an exemption that weakens the state’s ability to meet animal disease traceability goals.

“I want to be sure our state is doing everything it can to protect our food supply,” added Warnick. “Making sure we know where animals are coming from and their health is critical. We’ve had instances where those using this exemption haven’t followed the rules and that puts us all at risk.”

The bill comes at the request of the state Department of Agriculture to align state and federal animal inspection rules. The United States Department of Agriculture made a similar change in 2013.