Beef Today Editors
The Ohioans for Livestock Care coalition and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have reached an agreement to implement eight farm-animal care reform issues. The agreement means HSUS won't move forward with placing an animal care-related constitutional amendment on the November ballot.
The following are some of the proposed livestock standard changes:
- phasing out veal crates in 2017;
- phasing out new hog gestation crate use this year with a 15-year phase-out on existing equipment;
- implementing a "timeout" on battery cage permits used to confine egg-laying hens;
- and instituting standards for both downer livestock and euthanasia practices.
Those changes will be forwarded to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, the voter-approved body that will have to sign off on them.
“One of animal agriculture’s most vocal critics has agreed that the Livestock Care Standards Board is the proper authority to handle difficult questions about farm animal care,” said Jack Fisher, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation executive vice president. “This is truly a milestone and confirms Ohio’s position as a national leader in farm animal care.”
Fisher also praised Ohio Governor Ted Strickland for his efforts to create an agreement that will be good for Ohio farmers and consumers.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, added in a release, "This agreement provides a pathway for the enactment of a series of eight major animal welfare reforms, representing an historic advance on animal welfare issues. We are grateful, in particular, for the governor for helping negotiate this deal, and to agricultural leaders who sat down in good faith on these issues."
OFBF cited additional reasons for supporting the agreement. Farmers now have certainty for an extended period of time regarding housing regulations. The livestock industry will be less vulnerable to emotional video used to sway public opinion on farm animal care. Farmers, their organizations and allies will not be forced into a multi-million dollar media battle..
“When farmers proposed the Care Board, we envisioned veterinarians, farmers, consumer advocates, animal specialists and other Ohioans making informed, transparent decisions on farm animal care issues,” Fisher said. “With this agreement, we have assured that the Board will have ample time to prove its value.”