The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board created a draft set of livestock euthanasia rules, and the project could help fulfill an agreement that avoided a ballot initiative on animal welfare issues.
The 14-page draft contains information on acceptable euthanasia methods and illustrations for the use of penetrating captive bolt or gunshot euthanasia. An Oct. 5 announcement stated that a draft would remain available through the board's website during a two-week comment period, and the board would then file the proposed rules with the Ohio General Assembly Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.
The Humane Society of the United States and Ohioans for Humane Farms were among groups that pushed earlier this year for a November ballot initiative that, if passed, would have forced the livestock care standards board to adopt new rules on livestock housing, livestock euthanasia, downer cattle, and livestock movement. Following negotiations with Gov. Ted Strickland, those organizations agreed with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and livestock commodity groups to end the ballot campaign. Instead, they would together advocate that the board adopt rules mandating euthanasia methods consistent with AVMA guidelines; banning the sale, transportation, or use in the food supply of downer cattle; phasing in group housing for all veal calves by 2017; requiring that sows be housed outside gestation stalls in facilities built after Dec. 31; phasing out sow gestation stall use by 2025 except in cases in which sows are held in stalls until confirmed to be pregnant; and prohibiting construction of new egg production facilities containing battery cages.
The governor also agreed to advocate for stronger punishments for cockfighting and increased restrictions for dog breeders and exotic-pet owners.
Officials with the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Livestock Care Standards Board have said the board members would carefully consider any proposal and that the negotiated agreement was not binding for the board.
More information on the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is available at http://ohiolivestockcarestandardsboard.gov/.