Clark County's Old Order Amish community again finds their beliefs in conflict with state law, but it doesn't look like their non-compliance with premise registration requirements will land them in court in the near future.
Under the Wisconsin Premises Registration Act, livestock owners must register their properties with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture. But, many Clark County Amish farms fear government control, or worse, the Biblical "mark of the beast," and have refused to comply.
DATCP contacted Clark County D.A. Darwin Zwieg asking him to follow up with Amish Bishops, and possibly charge violators accordingly. But Zwieg remembers well the successful battle the Amish waged against a law requiring them to put triangular slow-moving vehicle signs on their buggies. According to court records, the Amish believe the signs to be "worldly symbols" and the bright colors against their religion. The Wisconsin Supreme Court sided with the Amish, saying there must be a compelling state to enforce such guidelines.
In trying to make their case, Paul McGraw, DATCP's Director of Animal Disease Control, cites a recent pseudorabies outbreak in Clark County as evidence of the need to enforce registration requirements, but Zwieg feels it may do just the opposite. He says the Amish could easily argue the government had no trouble identifying them without premises registration.
Zwieg requested DATCP produce "studies or other statistical information" to show premise registration was the "only way of achieving the objective."