A Clark County judge has ruled in favor of a Loyal-area Amish farmer who refuses to comply with Wisconsin’s mandatory livestock premise registration law.
In a decision filed Tuesday dismissing the case, Judge Jon Counsell rules the State did not show that the controversial law “furthers the State’s interest in animal health and food safety.”
The state had filed a civil complaint against Emanuel Miller Jr., an Old Order Amish farmer who refused to comply with the law, which requires all properties where livestock are housed to be registered with the state.
Many Old Order Amish farmers, and others, have refused to comply, saying they believe the requirement could be, at worst, the Mark of the Beast, or, at best, another move toward government-reliance.
State officials say they just want to be able to respond to animal disease outbreaks more efficiently by knowing where animals are.
Counsell has been mulling the case since an evidentiary hearing in September. At the hearing, a local Amish Bishop persuaded the Court that their religious beliefs are burdened by the law. In the decision, Counsell notes Miller cannot buy or sell livestock, cannot obtain a milk producer’s permit and could be forced to give up his primary means of transporation: the horse.
District Attorney Darwin Zwieg says the case could be appealed. Any such decision would likely be made in collaboration with the Department of Justice. He’s not sure if the Department of Agriculture could appeal the decision on their own.
Paul Knoff, WCCN