Livestock Care Standards Advance Without Enforcement Plan

Livestock Care Board members Harold Dates (l) and Dominic Marchese (r) at last week’s board meeting.

Ohio’s Livestock Care Standards Board moved with unusual swiftness and cheer last week, to vote the final 25 pages of their document one step closer to entering the Ohio Revised Code. Likely to become effective this July, these will be the state’s first statutes regulating the care of chickens, pigs, cows, horses, turkeys, sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas—all of whom are excluded from the federal Animal Welfare Act.

Congratulations have hummed within the board and animal protection groups, for arriving at mutually-palatable standards after a year-long haul.  But as the whittled rules move forward, no structure exists to enforce them. Continue reading

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Livestock Care Board scrambles for consensus on veal calves, seeks public input

Jeff Wuebker, a pork producer and member of the Livestock Care Standards Board, deliberating.

Responding to pressure from veal farmers, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board voted last week—by a 6-5 margin—to erase a new standard that would have granted veal calves enough space to turn around in their stalls.

The vote has jeopardized a delicate compromise between the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and agricultural trade groups.  Now, the board has until April 5 to reach a consensus, and is accepting public comments on veal standards until Tues. March 15, at ecomments@agri.ohio.gov. Continue reading

Ohio’s new humane farming bill: What’s it about?

Young cows await the auction pen at White's Livestock Auction in Indiana; a rooster looks on.

A proposed constitutional amendment that defines minimum welfare standards for Ohio’s farm animals, has been cleared by Attorney General Richard Cordray to move toward November’s ballot.  The bill is sponsored by Ohioans for Humane Farms, a coalition of local and national humane societies, consumer safety groups, and others.  The organization’s supporters have until June 30 to gather 402,275 valid Ohio signatures, for the amendment to appear on November’s ballot.

If the bill passes, Ohio’s still-unformed Livestock Care Standards Board will be required to enforce these regulations:
Continue reading