The Humane Society of the United States filed a petition in Ohio to bring a ballot initiative that would force new housing requirements on livestock.
Ohio farmers tried to beat HSUS to the punch last fall by convincing voters to approve the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Less than three months after its passage by a two-to-one margin, lobbyists from Washington, D.C. have declared they know better than Ohio voters, according to Jack Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation.
"The enabling legislation hasn't passed; the board hasn't been appointed and the first discussions on what standards Ohioans find acceptable hasn't been held," Fisher said. "And yet, the Humane Society of the United States is saying, in effect, Ohioans got it wrong."
According to Kristy Foster, Farm and Dairy, the proposed 'anti-cruelty' measure would allow voters to require the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to adopt certain minimum standards that would prevent the cruel and inhumane treatment of farm animals, enhance food safety, protect the environment and strengthen Ohio family farms.
This measure will allow Ohio voters to provide guidance to the newly enacted Livestock Board and set certain minimum humane standards that will prevent 'cruel factory farming practices' in Ohio. New rules would force farmers to revamp buildings, replacing smaller cages with larger ones for egg-laying hens. Crates for breeding pigs and veal calves would have to be replaced. New rules would also usher in more humane methods of euthanasia for sick and injured animals.
The Board would have six years to implement these standards. If the measure is enacted, Ohioans for Humane Farms hopes that the Livestock Board would immediately adopt minimum standards that address euthanasia and downer animals.