Texas Farm Animal Limitation of Liability Act Warning Signs

As discussed in this prior post, Chapter 87 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code now includes as “Farm Animal Professionals” the following categories of service providers, provided that their services are provided for compensation:

1)      A person who rents to a participant a farm animal for the purpose of riding, driving, or being a passenger on the farm animal;

2)      A person who rents equipment or tack to a participant;

3)      A person who examines or administers medical treatment to a farm animal as a veterinarian; and 

4)      A person who provides veterinarian or farrier services.

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The Act now requires Farm Animal Professionals to post and maintain a sign containing the following warning language in a clearly visible location if the professional manages or controls a stable, corral, or arena where the professional conducts a farm animal activity:

WARNING

UNDER TEXAS LAW (CHAPTER 87, CIVIL PRACTICE AND REMEDIES CODE), A FARM ANIMAL PROFESSIONAL IS NOT LIABLE FOR AN INJURY TO OR THE DEATH OF A PARTICIPANT IN FARM ANIMAL ACTIVITIES RESULTING FROM THE INHERENT RISKS OF FARM ANIMAL ACTIVITIES.

The Act also requires all Farm Animal Professionals to include the above warning language in every written contract that the professional enters into with a participant for professional services, instruction, the rental of equipment or tack, or the rental of a farm animal. The warning must be included without regard to whether the contract involves farm animal activities on or off the location or site of the business of the farm animal professional, and the warning must be clearly readable.

I am currently unaware of any sign manufacturer that is mass-producing these new signs for purchase by the general public. This is probably because the Act just recently took effect on June 17, 2011. Farm Animal Professionals to whom the Act applies and who wish to avail themselves of the new immunities can have signs containing the specific language custom made. It is highly advisable for all Farm Animal Professionals to have participants/customers sign a written agreement for services that contains the warning language. There is nothing in the Act that prohibits Farm Animal Professionals from including additional warning, release, or indemnity language in their written agreements.

Edited to add:  As a member service, the TVMA has ordered a limited number of warning signs on weatherproof corrugated plastic and has them for sale. The signs are 8.5" by 11" and are available to members for $12 and non-members for $15. If you would like to purchase a sign, you can call the TVMA or send an e-mail to info at tvma dot org.

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Time to Get New Warning Signs: Equine Activity Act Amended in 2011

As of June 17, 2011, the Texas Equine Activity Limitation of Liability Act was amended to include most common farm and livestock animals. The new Act will now be called the “Texas Farm Animal Limitation of Liability Act.”

In short, the immunities related to damages arising from horse activities found in Chapter 87 of the Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code [formerly referred to as the “Texas Equine Activity Limitation of Liability Act”] now apply to all “farm animals”. A “farm animal” includes: an equine animal, a bovine animal, a sheep or goat, a pig or hog, a ratite [which, in case you have never heard of a “ratite”, includes an ostrich, rhea or emu], and a chicken or other fowl. 

The 82nd Texas Legislature [regular session] adopted amendments to the former Texas Equine Limitation of Liability Act through Senate Bill 479, the text of which can be found here. While most statutory amendments and new laws from the 2011 legislative session will not be effective until September 1, 2011, the amendments to the Act became effective “immediately” upon the requisite 2/3 vote in the Texas House on June 17, 2011.

The amended statute only applies to causes of action that accrue on or after June 17, 2011. 

Notable amendments to the Act include:

  • “Farm Animal Activities” now include rodeos, “events” in general, and “handling, loading, or unloading” a farm animal;
  • Providers of veterinarian and farrier services are now included in the definition of “Farm Animal Professional” ; and
  • The Chapter 87 warning sign language that is now required to be posted by “Farm Animal Professionals” is as follows:

WARNING: UNDER TEXAS LAW (CHAPTER 87, CIVIL PRACTICE & REMEDIES CODE) A FARM ANIMAL PROFESSIONAL IS NOT LIABLE FOR AN INJURY TO OR THE DEATH OF A PARTICIPANT IN FARM ANIMAL ACTIVITIES RESULTING FROM THE INHERENT RISKS OF FARM ANIMAL ACTIVITIES.

“Farm Animal Professionals” should post new warning signs containing the updated version of the Act’s warning language. See the link above to the newly-adopted language for the warning sign language and provide same to whomever you have make new signs for your property. It will probably be a while before signs containing the updated warning language will be mass-produced and sold at places like Tractor Supply Co., feed stores, et cetera.

Related Post: Victory for Texas Horse Industry in Texas Supreme Court

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