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Published September 23, 2009, 07:13 AM

Amish farmer dispute goes to Wis. court

NEILLSVILLE, Wis. - An Amish livestock farmer who refuses to register his premises with Wisconsin regulators as a way to track animal diseases returns to court Wednesday.

By: AP wire report, West Central Tribune, The Associated Press

NEILLSVILLE, Wis. - An Amish livestock farmer who refuses to register his premises with Wisconsin regulators as a way to track animal diseases returns to court Wednesday.

Clark County District Attorney Darwin Zwieg says 28-year-old Emanuel Miller Jr. of Loyal is the first to be charged with a civil forfeiture for failure to comply with a 2005 law that requires farmers with livestock to register with the state.

Zwieg says Miller contends the law cannot be applied to the Amish without violating their constitutional right to freedom of religion.

Circuit Judge John Counsell is hearing evidence in the case and could issue a ruling Wednesday.

State agricultural officials discovered about 54 unregistered livestock farms while dealing with an outbreak of pseudorabies at a pig farm in March 2007. They believe at least 44 of those farms were Amish.

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