Ohio's livestock care standards will go into effect starting Sept. 29, 2011.

Ohio Livestock Care Standards Issued

Buckeye Farm News

After more than a year of work, animal care rules developed by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will become effective on Sept. 29.

“The members of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board and representatives from Ohio’s agricultural community devoted the past 18 months to developing and vetting the most comprehensive livestock care standards in the nation,” said Ohio Department of Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer. “States from around the country are now looking towards Ohio’s leadership in developing these new standards.”

Farmers, veterinarians and livestock haulers are encouraged to attend one of several informational sessions to be held in August and September by the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which will provide an overview of the state’s new livestock care standards.

The two-hour meetings are open to the public and will feature a presentation on the new livestock care standards as well as an opportunity to ask ODA staff questions about the new rules.

Dates and locations for remaining information sessions:


  • Wednesday, Aug. 31, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wooster, Ohio State University OARDC (Shisler Center Ballroom), 1680 Madison Ave.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Lima, Independence Elementary School, 615 Tremont Ave.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 27, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Zanesville, Ohio University – Zanesville Campus (The Campus Center T430 & 431), 1425 Newark Road
  • Thursday, Sept. 29, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Fort Recovery, American Legion, 2490 State Route 49 N.


Here are summaries of the new standards provided by the Ohio Department of Agriculture:

General Care

Unless otherwise noted, the responsibility for ensuring these livestock care standards are being kept falls on the person who owns or has responsibility for or custody of the animal(s).

Care and Handling

Animals must receive a sufficient quantity and quality of feed and water on a regular basis.

Livestock handling equipment and devices must be designed and maintained in order to minimize bruising and injury and must be used humanely.

When restraint is required, it must be minimal in degree and duration, and it must minimize the potential for injury.

Livestock cannot maliciously or recklessly be thrown, dropped or dragged.

Housing and Facilities

Livestock housing and handling facilities must be designed to minimize bruising and injury.

Livestock housing should provide reasonable protection from adverse weather conditions and from predators.

Generally, all animals must have room to lie down at the same time and easily stand back up.

All animals must have access to feed and water without excessive competition.

Adequate lighting must be available for inspection purposes.


All practices and procedures pertaining to the health and medical treatment of livestock must be performed so as to minimize distress.

All prescription and extra-label use medication must be obtained and administered with the advice and involvement of a licensed veterinarian.

Livestock must also be monitored regularly for evidence of disease, injury and parasites and if evidence of any of these ailments is found, corrective measures must be taken.


Ohio’s livestock care standards will be enforced by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Divisions of Animal Industry and Enforcement. ODA staff will investigate credible complaints to determine if a violation has occurred. If a violation is found, the person who owns or has immediate custody of the animal(s) will be informed in person, or by telephone, fax or email.

If the violation can be corrected, ODA staff will also include the corrective measures that must be taken to achieve compliance with the rules, including the amount of time allowed to take any necessary corrective measures, in the written notice. If the responsible party fails to remedy the violation within the time specified in the written notice, they may be assessed a subsequent violation for each day the violation remains uncured.

Minor Violations

Minor violations of Ohio’s livestock care standards are generally due to neglect or unintentional acts of substandard practices. Minor violations are finable up to $500 for the first minor offense and up to $1,000 for each subsequent minor offense that is committed within 60 months of the previous minor violation.

Major Violations

Major violations of Ohio’s livestock care standards are reckless or intentional acts that result in the unjustified infliction of pain. Major violations can be any action which:places an animal’s life in imminent perilcauses protracted disfigurementcauses protracted impairment of healthcauses protracted loss or impairment of the function of a limb or bodily organ.

Major violations of Ohio’s livestock care standards are finable offenses with penalties ranging between $1,000 and $5,000 for the first major violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for each subsequent major violation that is committed within 60 months of the previous major violation.

Anyone who has been issued a fine for violation of these rules will have 30 days to request a hearing to appeal the department’s decision.

Standards Details by Species

See summary standards for Dairy, Beef, Horses, Ponies, Mules, Donkeys, Sheep, Goats, Alpacas, Llamas, Broilers, Turkeys and Swine in the attachments on the left side of this page.

Summaries for veal calves and laying hens had not been issued as of press time.

Read a more comprehensive overview of all Ohio Livestock Care Standards that will be in effect starting Sept. 29. –  www.ohiolivestockcarestandards.gov








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