Property Rights

Eminent Domain

TCFA adamantly supports private property rights and works with other agriculture groups to enact stronger statutory and constitutional landowner protections under eminent domain. Under the Texas law, private property can only be taken for a public purpose (which does not include economic development) by a statutorily authorized entity. Texas landowners have the right to receive notice when a condemning authority proposes to acquire their private property and must be provided an assessment of the "adequate compensation" they are due for their land. Adequate compensation is defined as the fair market value of property acquired and damages to the remaining property, if any. At the time the offer is made, the condemning authority also must disclose any appraisal reports it has produced or acquired relating specifically to the property and that are used to determine the amount of its offer to acquire the property.

Texas landowners whose land is condemned are entitled to a hearing before a court-appointed panel that includes three special commissioners. This specialized hearing panel must fairly consider and calculate the amount of compensation that the condemning authority owes the landowner for the private property it condemned. The commissioners must also consider what compensation, if any, the landowner is due for damage to the remaining property's fair market value.

Texas landowners have the right to a trial, by either judge or jury, if they are unsatisfied with the compensation awarded to them by the Special Commissioners. Landowners who are dissatisfied with the trial court's judgment may file an appeal, just as they can appeal any other civil court proceeding.

Texas landowners also have the right to repurchase their condemned land at the original price if it is not used within 10 years for the purpose stated at the time it was acquired.

TCFA is also working at the federal level to further strengthen private property rights.

Horse Processing

TCFA supports the rights of horse owners to manage their animals and other livestock responsibly and respectfully. Regardless of whether some people believe that the processing of horses is unacceptable, the decisions about equine welfare and this issue must be based on scientific facts and solid animal husbandry practices. Public policy based solely on emotion is a slippery slope not only for animal agriculture, but for all issues that Congress addresses.

Horse processing plants provide humane euthanasia as dictated by the Humane Slaughter Act and regulated by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to ensure that the meat is safe and properly labeled. In addition, the transport of animals to processing facilities is regulated by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, as mandated by the Commercial Transportation of Equine for Slaughter provision in the 1996 Farm Bill.

The elimination of this humane management option actually poses a greater risk to horse welfare. Following the closure of the U.S. horse processing facilities, many of these unwanted horses were neglected and allowed to continue a life of discomfort or pain, inadequate care, and/or abandonment. Allowing a horse to live in pain or starve to death is a much worse fate than humane euthanasia and processing.