Texas Animal Health Commission:
An Inventory of Animal Health Commission Meeting Records at the Texas State Archives, 1962-2000
The Texas Animal Health Commission, in the words of its mission statement, works "to protect the animal industry from, and/or mitigate the effects of domestic, foreign and emerging diseases; to increase the marketability of Texas livestock commodities at the state, national and international level; to promote and ensure animal health and productivity; to protect human health from animal diseases and conditions that are transmissible to people; and, to prepare for and respond to emergency situations involving animals."
The Texas Livestock Sanitary Commission was created in 1893 (Substitute House Bill 112, 23rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to eradicate fever ticks. In 1955 (Senate Bill 247, 54th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) the legislature broadened the scope of the commission's responsibility to control and eradicate other livestock and poultry diseases recognized to be infectious or contagious such as brucellosis, tuberculosis, hog cholera, and pullorum typhoid. In 1959 (House Bill 187, 56th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) the commission's name was changed to the Texas Animal Health Commission. The commission has divided the state into geographical areas, between eight to twelve in number, with a veterinarian assigned to supervise each area. The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) inspectors and veterinarians cooperate closely with the commission on disease control programs. A major program of the commission is brucellosis eradication and is supported by USDA funding for field testing, testing at livestock markets, and laboratory and clerical support.
The composition of the Texas Livestock Sanitary Commission/Texas Animal Health Commission was changed several times. Originally (1893) it was composed of three practical livestock raisers--one from west Texas, one from south Texas, and one from east Texas--appointed by the governor for two-year terms. In 1937 (House Bill 597, 45th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) the term was raised to six years. In 1955 (Senate Bill 247, 54th Texas Legislature, Regular Session) the number of members was raised to six: a veterinarian, a dairyman, a practical cattle raiser, a practical hog raiser, a sheep or goat raiser, and a poultry raiser; the geographical distribution was to be divided between west, south, north, and east Texas, as practicably as possible.
The Texas Animal Health Commission was likewise composed of six members, in the same fashion, from its creation in 1959 until 1973 (House Bill 645, 63rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session), when the number was raised to nine by the addition of representatives of the equine industry, the feedlot industry, and the livestock marketing industry. In 1983 (House Bill 1, 68th Texas Legislature, 1st Called Session), the addition of three members of the general public raised the number of commissioners to twelve. In 1993 (House Bill 1652, 73rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session), the number of public members was reduced to two, but a representative of the exotic livestock or fowl industry was added. Finally, in 2003 (Senate Bill 287, 78th Texas Legislature, Regular Session), the number of public members was raised again to three, making a total membership of 13 (an odd number, to avoid ties in voting).
To summarize, the policymaking body of the Texas Animal Health Commission is a thirteen member commission, appointed by the governor with concurrence of the senate for overlapping six-year terms. Three members are from the general public, one member from the veterinary profession, and one member is appointed from each of the following industries: dairy, beef, swine, sheep/goat, poultry, equine, exotic livestock/fowl, feedlot, and auction market.
(Sources include: the Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); the article on the Texas Animal Health Commission by John G. Johnson in the Handbook of Texas Online; the agency web site, at http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/agency/index.shtml (both of these sites accessed March 2007); V.T.C.A., Agriculture Code, Section 161.021; and the enabling legislation, 1893, 1937, 1955, 1959, 1973, 1983, 1993, 2003.)
The Texas Animal Health Commission works to protect the animal industry from, and/or mitigate the effects of domestic, foreign and emerging diseases; to increase the marketability of Texas livestock commodities at the state, national and international level; to promote and ensure animal health and productivity; to protect human health from animal diseases and conditions that are transmissible to people; and, to prepare for and respond to emergency situations involving animals. To those ends, the commission is empowered to adopt rules and regulations, a process which is documented in the agency's minutes. These records consist of minutes, with supporting documentation, and audio cassette tapes, of Texas Animal Health Commission meetings and public hearings, dating 1962-2000. There is a gap in the minutes dating 1983-1988, which is covered (with some overlap) by the 60-minute audio cassette tapes dating 1982-1989. (These tapes have not been listened to by State Archives personnel.) The minutes themselves are sometimes summaries of discussions and actions, but are often verbatim transcripts of the meetings. Subjects of discussion include reports from the Executive Director, committee reports, updates on various programs, public comments in hearings, and actions on proposed changes to the administrative rules. Supporting documentation includes the texts of proposed and adopted rules, requests for waiver of rules, correspondence, and executive director's reports.
To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room (Room 100). Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
See the Archives' Preservation Officer to arrange to hear the tapes.
(Identify the item), Texas Animal Health Commission meeting records. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession numbers: 1994/121, 1998/256, 2002/162, 2004/196, 2006/091, 2007/104
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Animal Health Commission on July 5, 1994; and August 10, 1998; and by the Texas Legislative Reference Library on August 8, 2002; July 7, 2004; December 20, 2005; and February 20, 2007.
Paul Beck, July 1994
Tony Black, March 2007
The Texas Animal Health Commission mounts its most recent agendas and its past minutes (in PDF format) on the agency web site (http://www.tahc.state.tx.us/agency/meetings.shtml).
The record copies of minutes and agenda are maintained by the Texas Animal Health Commission.
Detailed Description of the Records