Governor Sam Brownback unveiled his proposed 2012 fiscal year state budget this week. His budget includes initiatives to restructure and eliminate eight state agencies and do away with more than 2,000 state employee positions. The Kansas Animal Health Department (KAHD) and State Conservation Commission are included in the list of agencies to be eliminated. The proposal would assign the functions of these two agencies to the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA).

KAHD, funded largely through fees paid by the state’s livestock owners, is responsible for animal disease control, emergency response and preparedness for animal disease outbreaks, regulation of dog and cat breeders, registering brands and conducting investigations of livestock theft.

The governor’s new plan would designate the Kansas Animal Health Board as an advisory committee, eliminate eight employee positions and reduce state general fund expenditures for KAHD services by $193,000.

KLA member policy opposes the proposal to merge KAHD with KDA.

“The current structure of the Kansas Animal Health Department has fostered stability, regulatory certainty and direct accountability to our state’s livestock producers for over 90 years,” said KLA President Ken Grecian. “How can we be assured political appointees in the future will serve our industry as well as the current structure?”

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