Once again a difference of opinion has arisen between the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the Humane Society of the United States. The two groups battled over ballot Issue 2, supported by OFBF and approved by voters to create Livestock Care Standards Board in 2009. Now they have differing views on how a proposed amendment to the Farm Bill would impact these standards and other Ohio laws.
"Ohio's livestock care standards and food labeling laws, and many other states' agricultural laws, are at risk of annulment unless Congress rejects a highly destructive provision adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives in its Farm Bill," reads a press release the HSUS sent out last week.
The provision in the House bill from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, could not only wipe out numerous state animal protection laws across the country that pertain to puppy mills, farm animal confinement, horse slaughter, and even dog meat, but also a wide range of laws related to food safety, environmental protection, worker safety, labeling and more, the HSUS release claims.
That's not true, according to a statement by the Ohio Farm Bureau.
"The King amendment applies only to interstate commerce and would have no impact on Ohio's right to regulate producers in our state under the Ohio Livestock Care Standards. Ohio's Livestock Care Standards do not restrict out-of-state product based on means of production and, therefore, the King amendment would create no change in how Ohio's farmers address animal welfare or what type of product may come into our state.
"In addition, interstate livestock movement would still be subject to federal and state animal health regulations, including vaccine requirements, and could be restricted or quarantined for disease purposes. Likewise, federal food safety laws would not be impacted and the amendment wouldn't prevent states from imposing future food safety requirements.
"Consumers should be clear that Ohio's animal health laws which protect the health and safety of both our livestock and citizens are not at risk from the King amendment," OFBF concludes.
HSUS says some laws in Ohio threatened by the King provision include:
*Ohio Livestock Care Standards (ORC 904.01 - 904.09)
*phased out veal crates and gestation crates for breeding pigs
*prohibited new egg operations from confining laying hens in barren battery cages
*phased out tail-docking of dairy cattle
*implemented protections for "downed" cows—those too sick or injured to walk
*Standards of care for dogs in high-volume breeding kennels (ORC 9567.01, 956.03)
*Dangerous Wild Animal Regulations (ORC 935.01 - 935.16)
*Restrictions on importing bees into the state (R.C. § 909.10)
*Tolerance levels for lead in Maple Syrup and streptomycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol and coumaphos in honey and beeswax. (Ohio Administrative Code, Chapter 901:3-44-01) Requirements for labeling of raw milk (R.C. § 917.04)
*Prohibition against adulterated or misbranded maple syrup (R.C. § 3715.25)
"Ohioans gave careful consideration to our agricultural regulations—especially the establishment of the livestock care standards—and we don't want them wiped away in a Washington power-grab," says Karen Minton, Ohio state director for The Humane Society of the United States . "Congress should defend states' rights to establish their own agricultural policies and nix the radical and overreaching King amendment."
The Senate version of the farm bill does not include the amendment. A joint committee will reconcile the two bills before sending them back for votes by both chambers.