House passes livestock bill 98-0; Senate vote expected soon

Buckeye Farm News

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board came one step closer to getting its feet on the ground when the Ohio House unanimously passed legislation to establish the required guidelines for the voter-approved entity.

House Bill 414 was voted out of the House by a margin of 98-0 on March 10, moving it on to the Senate for consideration. The Senate has been working on its version of the legislation, SB 233, which contains many of the same provisions as HB 414. The Senate may continue work on its bill or consider the House legislation.

A hearing was held for SB 233 the second week of March, which featured testimony by the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) in favor of the legislation.

“The OVMA applauds positive initiatives to review the constantly evolving science surrounding animal care practices,” said Dr. Brad Garrison, chairman of the OVMA Food Animal Committee in testimony. “The complaint-driven system proposed by SB 233 and HB 414 will make great strides in addressing those producers who fail to treat their animals in the most appropriate manner.”

“Creating a well-balanced composition of technical expertise and real-life experience will also be critical (for the Board’s) success,” Garrison said. “We are appreciative of the provision in both bills requiring consideration of ‘generally accepted veterinary medical practices, livestock practice standards and ethical standards established by the American Veterinary Medical Association’ when rules outlining standards of care are developed.”

“Ohio Farm Bureau appreciates the bipartisan leadership of our legislators that went into getting House Bill 414 passed,” said Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) Director of State Policy Beth Vanderkooi. “This is just the next step in getting the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board up and running and further strengthening Ohio’s position as a leader in livestock care.”

OFBF specifically extends its gratitude to Reps. Allan R. Sayre, D-Dover, James J. Zehringer, R-Fort Recovery, and John Dominick, D-Smithfield, as well as Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) Director Robert Boggs, for their efforts and support in the passage of HB 414.

Details of the current version of HB 414

Funding for the board will come from General Revenue Funds (GRF) already allotted to ODA rather than a feed inspection fee that was initially proposed.  OFBF had testified that use of the GRF is appropriate because the Board benefits both farmers and consumers.

Standards created by the Board do not apply to organic producers if the rules violate USDA national organic standards.

The authority granted to the board does not detract from or expand the authority or obligations of county humane societies.

The bill authorizes ODA, upon proper identification and upon stating the purpose and necessity of an inspection, to enter a farm. ODA may apply for an appropriate search warrant to do so if denied by the property owner.

To see a complete analysis of HB 414, visit the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board News Page.

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