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Following Legal Complaint, Kentucky Department of Agriculture Opens Livestock Care Standards for Public Review

Animal Welfare Groups Call for Standards Consistent with Mainstream Veterinary Science

Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

Responding to a legal complaint filed by The Humane Society of the United States, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and its Livestock Care Standards Commission have partially reversed course to allow the public a voice in the creation of the state’s animal care policies. 

“The Commission’s decision to open the livestock standards development process to public participation is a step in the right direction,” said Pam Rogers, Kentucky state director for The HSUS.  “The next step is to create meaningful care standards that are consistent with mainstream veterinary science.”

After admitting to multiple violations of the Open Meetings Act, including the failure to schedule regular meetings for more than a year since the Commission’s formation, the Department issued a final response to HSUS' legal complaint on Nov. 16. It stated that, in order to avoid a “perception” of secrecy, the Commission has now promised to “provide time for public comment from any group or individual at a future meeting prior to the submission of any proposed regulations to the Kentucky Board of Agriculture.”

The Commission will begin implementing its future agenda at a special meeting today, at which it will establish a regular meeting schedule going forward.

Numerous organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Farm Sanctuary, have expressed concerns about the draft standards. For example, the Commission’s draft standards permit veal calves to be confined in crates so small they can’t even turn around and dairy cows to have their tails routinely amputated without pain killers. Both practices have been criticized by the veal and dairy industries themselves, are opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and have been recently prohibited—with phase-outs—by a similar state livestock board in Ohio.

Read more about the Kentucky Livestock Commission here

Media Contact: Anna West, 301-258-1518, awest@humanesociety.org.

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