New Laws and Regulations Relating to Rural Areas

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The government has been hard at work churning out new laws and regulations which may be of interest to those of you who live in rural areas and possibly even those of you who do not. Here are some of those new laws and regulations:

New Illinois Statute:
No, those purple spots are not from a hard night of partying. They mean “Stay off my grass”. - I guess Illinois landowners must have complained to their legislators that they were tired of having their posted “No Trespassing” signs used for target practice by night patrolling teenagers drinking “road sodies”. 720 ILCS 5/21-3 provides that as an alternate to posting the traditional “No Trespassing” signs, the landowner or tenant can now place purple marks on trees or posts located on the boundary of the property which will serve the same purpose.

New Illinois Statute:
“I found ‘er on the road Ma and she don’t stink yet. Fry ‘er up!” - At long last and through extensive lobbying efforts by, I would assume, the Hillbilly Political Action Committee, on November 30, 2011, 520 ILCS 5/2.30 was enacted by the Illinois legislature which allows you to take home an in-season, fur-bearing animal which you find dead along the road - provided, however, that you possess the proper license, stamp, or permit for the in-season animal that is about to become roadkill stew (I’m sure the money generated from these licenses will be going out to schools).

New USDA Rules:
“But I found this dead horse along side the road!” - It is comforting to know that during all of the budget haggling that has taken place in Washington, Congress still found time to allocate federal funds in the appropriations bill for the USDA inspection of horse slaughtering facilities which slaughter horses for human consumption to ensure federal regulations were being followed (Horses Could Soon Be Slaughtered in US, ABC (Nov. 30, 2011)), even though - even though, and get this - no such horse slaughtering houses currently exist in the U.S. However, you horse munchers can still dream. Animal rights groups claim existing slaughter houses have the capability to begin slaughtering horses for human consumption within a month’s time. For now, Illinois forbids the slaughter of horses for human consumption, but with road kill on the table (no pun intended) can Secretariat Steaks be too far behind?

FDA Testing:
“That apple juice will kill you!” - Remember the big deal when afternoon TV guru, Dr. Oz recently warned America that apple juice contains unsafe levels of arsenic? Well, following that report, Consumer Reports (Arsenic in Your Juice; How Much is Too Much? Federal Limits Don’t Exist, CONSUMER REPORTS) and the FDA conducted the same test Dr. Oz purportedly conducted to attempt to determine how much and what kind of arsenic are present in apples and fruit juices. The results of those FDA tests revealed that arsenic levels were well below the maximum level allowable for even drinking water (FDA Widens Look at Arsenic in Apple Juice, FDA (Dec. 9, 2011)). Back in 1989, “60 Minutes” aired a segment on the dangers of Alar, a growth regulator, and pesticides used in the apple growers’ industry. The sale of apples dropped and it led to the “Veggie Libel” laws which was legislation enacted to smite the disparagement of agricultural products. Does anyone smell a lawsuit coming on like the one Texas cattle producers filed against Oprah Winfrey a few years ago?

Proposed Congressional Legislation:
And finally, “I been saying this for years.” - Remember when the kids were little and every time they had an ear ache or sniffle, the Pediatrician would prescribe antibiotics for junior and a Xanax for mom? I’m no doctor, but it always seemed to me that eventually this practice would cause our kids to build up a resistance to those antibiotics if they kept taking them like candy. Although I was always chastised by my wife who continually reminded me that indeed “You are no doctor”, Congress is now poised to amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act noting that Americans have developed a greater resistance to antibiotics due, in part, to the use of antibiotics in food consumed by the animals we eat and to fight this ever increasing resistance, the use of antibiotics for non-therapeutic uses (defined as “... any use of the drug as a feed or water additive for an animal in the absence of any clinical sign of disease in the animal for growth promotion, feed efficiency, weight gain, routine disease prevention, or other routine purpose.” (Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2011, OPEN CONGRESS (June 15, 2011)) is being phased out and even therapeutic application is being drastically restricted. I am afraid though, that this is just another case of “Too much, too little, too late.”

(The above articles have been inspired by, and in part based upon, the work product of A. Bryan Endres & Carly Giffin entitled, “Developments in Food, Environmental , and Renewable Energy Law” as presented at the Illinois State Bar Association Seminar on “Hot Topics in Agricultural Law” on February 3, 2012).