Arkansas Has New EIA Law

The Arkansas 2001 General Assembly recently passed Act 540, which defines and sets standards for an equine infectious anemia (EIA) research facility and requires a Certified EIA Verifier to be present to check Coggins test papers at any equine event that meets one or more of the criteria listed below. Act 540 amends Act 1306 of 1997.

Event Criteria:

1. The event charges a fee of any kind, including an entry fee, a membership fee, a registration fee, a user fee, a camping fee or a grounds fee

2. The event provides prize money, trophies, plaques, ribbons, points or awards of any kind including jackpot and benefits.

3. The event causes a concentration of more than fifty (50) Equids.

It is the event sponsor's responsibility to have a Certified EIA Verifier present for verification of Coggins tests. A Certified EIA Verifier is an individual that has completed a Verification Course co sponsored by the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Arkansas, and the Arkansas Horse Council. Certification is for one year. A list of Certified EIA Verifiers is available from the Arkansas Livestock and Poultry Commission.

Any Person, firm or corporation who violates any of the provisions of these acts shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor; which is punishable by up to one year imprisonment and/or a $1000 fine.

Since 1977, nearly 10,000 horses in Arkansas have been destroyed after testing positive for EIA. It is estimated that officials have only been testing 10-20 percent of the horse population for the disease.

According to officials, the control of EIA in Arkansas will require full cooperation of all horse owners to be effective. Knowledge of the disease and compliance with the current laws and regulations could lead to effective control of this important disease.

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