Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Robert Boggs will chair the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board

At a glance: A brief look at how the Ohio Livestock Care Board will operate

The Ohio General Assembly approved House Bill 414 this week, setting forth the specifics by which the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will operate.

Here’s a quick look at some of the provisions in the Issue 2 enabling legislation that defines the operation of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board:

Board makeup: The bill establishes a 13-member board as called for in State Issue 2. The board will include three representatives of family farms, two veterinarians (including the state veterinarian), two consumer representatives, two representatives of statewide farming organizations, the dean of an Ohio agricultural college, a local humane society representative and a person knowledgeable in food safety. The director of the Department of Agriculture will serve as chairman of the board. No more than seven board members may be of the same political party and are subject to Ohio’s ethics laws.

What the board must consider: Among the factors the board must consider are best management practices for the care and well-being of livestock; biosecurity; the prevention of disease; animal morbidity and mortality data; food safety practices; the protection of local, affordable food supplies for consumers and generally accepted veterinary medical practices, livestock practice standards and ethical standards established by the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Funding: The bill calls on the director of the Department of Agriculture to use existing department funds to get the board up and running. Board members will serve without compensation.

Enforcement: Inspectors may seek consent from a farmer to enter his or her property at a reasonable time to determine compliance with animal care standards. If permission is denied, a court may grant permission if probable cause for inspection is demonstrated. Non-compliance with standards would be subject to civil, not criminal penalties.

Organic farmers: Organic farmers would not be required to follow any standards that conflict with the national organic program.

Animal ID: The board is prohibited from establishing a statewide animal identification system.

What’s next? The bill becomes effective immediately after it is signed by the governor. The director of the Department of Agriculture has said he intends to hold regional public meetings to gather public input on animal care standards.



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