Thursday, October 7, 2010

OH Livestock Board Drafts First Proposal

Wednesday, October 6, 2010, 1:21pm EDT

Ohio's Livestock Care board drafts 1st set of rules

The voter-approved Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is taking its first steps in drafting new rules to govern the treatment of animals in the state.

The board this week voted to create new standards on livestock euthanasia, marking the first time such guidelines have been established in Ohio. Specifics of the new euthanasia rules must be OK’d by a committee before going into effect and are posted here for a two-week public comment period.

The proposed euthanasia rules not only define the term itself but establish acceptable methods for horses, chickens, pigs, cattle and other farm animals based on weight and other conditions. Violators are subject to civil penalties, according to the approved draft.

The issue of more humane methods of euthanasia for animals in the state was a key sticking point in a standoff between state officials and the Humane Society of the U.S., which earlier this year was planning a ballot issue that would have bound the Livestock Care Standards Board to implement specific rules if passed. The activist group and state officials brokered a compromise in June that kept the issue from heading to the ballot and ensured the board, created with voter approval last year, would hand down regulations on dog breeding kennels, cockfighting and exotic animals. The state also has agreed to phase out so-called gestation crates used by the pork industry.

Robert Boggs, director of the state Agriculture Department, said in a release that the proposed euthanasia rules are designed to be “clear and practical for Ohio’s livestock producers.”  Link

These are the first regulations to come out of the newly formed Livestock Care Board.  Regardless of how beneficial they are for farmers and ranchers, what remains to be seen is if the HSUS will approve of them.  From here on out, any regulations the board approves will also have to be approved by the HSUS or they will start reminding everyone how they have enough signatures to go back to the ballot and force whatever they see fit.  There are certainly differing opinions about the compromise that was made in June but we do know one thing for sure, HSUS will hold the state hostage until they get everything they want.  Like a gun to Ohio’s head, those ill-gotten signatures will have more affect on the outcome of Ohio’s livestock industry than this board will. 

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