June 30, 2010
Landmark Ohio Animal Welfare Agreement Reached Among HSUS, Ohioans for Humane Farms, Gov. Strickland, and Leading Livestock Organizations
Phase-out of extreme confinement systems for breeding pigs and veal calves; immediate moratorium on battery cage construction and other animal welfare reforms to be implemented; Gains in the making on puppy mills, cockfighting and exotic pet trade
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A deal struck between The Humane Society of the United States, Ohioans for Humane Farms, Ohio agriculture leaders and Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland will lead to major animal welfare improvements in Ohio on a raft of issues, reforming industry practices and improving prospects for adoption of critical legislation in other areas. The agreement puts a hold on a planned factory farming initiative on the fall ballot.
"I'm grateful to Governor Strickland and his administration for their outstanding leadership on these issues," said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. Pacelle appeared with Gov. Strickland and Ohio Farm Bureau Executive Vice President Jack Fisher at a press conference to announce the agreement. "This agreement moves us forward on all of the components of the proposed ballot measure as well as other important advances for animals, too. I look forward to working with the Legislature and the Livestock Care Board to see these reforms adopted."
The agreement includes recommendations from all of the parties for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Care Board, the Legislature, and the Governor to adopt the following provisions:
- A ban on veal crates by 2017, which is the same timing as the ballot measure.
- A ban on new gestation crates in the state after Dec. 31, 2010. Existing facilities are grandfathered, but must cease use of these crates within 15 years.
- A moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens.
- A ban on strangulation of farm animals and mandatory humane euthanasia methods for sick or injured animals.
- A ban on the transport of downer cows for slaughter.
- Enactment of legislation establishing felony-level penalties for cockfighters.
- Enactment of legislation cracking down on puppy mills.
- Enactment of a ban on the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets, such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles and alligators.
"Ohioans should be proud that our state will be implementing these meaningful animal welfare reforms, and I am extremely grateful to all the Ohio animal advocates who gathered signatures to make this day possible," said John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society and president of the board of directors of Ohioans for Humane Farms. "Although I am a bit disappointed that action on battery cages will be delayed due to the compromise reached today, I still consider this a great victory for Ohio's animals and animal advocates."
"These reforms represent important progress for farm animals and other animals in Ohio, and we're grateful to all our volunteers in Ohio who worked so hard to make this happen," said Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary.
Ohio is one of only 11 states that do not have a felony law against cockfighting. The relatively meager penalties have made the state a safe haven for cockfighters from nearby states, and hampered law enforcement efforts to crack down on the illegal activity. The legislation, H.B. 108, passed the House and is awaiting a vote in a Senate committee.
The HSUS reached the agreement with the Ohio Farm Bureau and other agricultural commodity groups on the same day Ohioans for Humane Farms would have delivered more than 500,000 signatures to the Secretary of State. The group gathered enough signatures to put an anti-factory farming measure before Ohio voters in November.
"We are grateful to the Ohio volunteers who put tremendous energy towards the effort to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot," said Pacelle. "Their effort led to this agreement that moves the ball forward on all those reforms while leading the state to address other serious animal welfare concerns and avoiding a costly and contentious campaign."
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.
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