Your farm & ranch clients will want to know about new changes to the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act, sometimes called the Texas Farm Animal Activity Act. The act became law in 1995 and has been amended in 2001, 2011, and earlier this year.
The purpose of the Texas Farm Animal Liability Act is to limit liability for injuries and property damage that occur because of the inherent risks involved in working with farm animals and conducting farming activity. The act does not provide protection in other circumstances, such as where the injury or property damage was the result of faulty equipment, failing to gauge whether the activity could be safely performed, or failing to post conspicuous warning signs.
The latest update, House Bill 365, clarifies that farm owners and lessees are protected under the act. The term farm is now broadly defined to include any real estate that is wholly or partially used to raise crops, livestock, bees, or fish. Honeybees in a managed colony are now considered farm animals. The definition of farm animal activities was expanded to include vaccinating, transporting, and assisting in customary tasks concerning farm animals.
Farm owners, farm lessees, or farm animal professionals must post warning signs in clearly visible places near stables, corrals, or arenas. The required warning sign language has been amended to say: “Warning: Under Texas Law (Chapter 87, Civil Practice and Remedies Code), a farm animal professional or farm owner or lessee is not liable for an injury to or the death of a participant in farm animal activities, including an employee or independent contractor, resulting from the inherent risks of farm animal activities.”
The Texas Farm Animal Liability Act does not change anything related to the state’s rules on workers’ compensation or an employer’s ability to refuse to subscribe to the workers’ compensation system.
To learn more, visit statutes.capitol.texas.gov and in the dropdown menus select Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 87, Liability Arising from Farm Animals, and sections 001 through 005.