April 20, 2011
A Milestone for Ohio Farm Animals: Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board Finalizes Welfare Standards
The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board took the final step to advance significant welfare reforms for farm animals. Yesterday, the board voted unanimously to advance the care standards to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review for final approval before becoming law.
“The Humane Society of the United States applauds the livestock board’s vote to extend basic welfare provisions to farm animals,” stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. “This vote is a significant step toward crafting meaningful statewide improvements in animal care.”
The standards phase out veal crates and gestation crates for breeding pigs, and they prohibit new egg operations from confining laying hens in cages. In addition to phasing out these extreme confinement practices, the board approved humane euthanasia standards, agreed to phase out tail-docking of dairy cattle and implemented protections for “downed” cows—those too sick or injured to walk.
The reforms put forth by the Ohio Livestock Board reflect a carefully-crafted animal welfare agreement reached last June by The HSUS and eight leading agricultural trade organizations, including the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
One of the driving forces for reform came from Ohioans for Humane Farms, a coalition of animal welfare, food safety and environmental groups whose signature drive for reform yielded more than half a million signatures in just over three months. More than 175 supporters attended the board’s April 5th meeting to urge the board to adopt minimum standards of care.
John Dinon, board president of Ohioans for Humane Farms and executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society, stated, “The livestock board’s vote shows that its members are listening to Ohioans who have demonstrated that the humane treatment of farm animals is important to them.”
- The standards are expected to be reviewed by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review on June 20th, making them effective in early July.
- In addition to the livestock provisions, the June agreement includes legislation to regulate puppy mills and address cockfighting.
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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.