MOUNT VERNON — The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, and a compromise made with the Humane Society of the United States, has stirred intrigue and confusion in the agriculture community.
The compromise with the HSUS was brokered by groups outside of the care standards board — primarily the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation — and has not been accepted by the board.
According to Bill Moody, a family farm representative on the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, the board has yet to consider the changes as part of the process to develop its final rules.
The agreement calls for phasing out veal crates in 2017; phasing out new hog gestation crate use this year with a 15-year phase out on existing equipment; implementing a timeout on battery cage permits used to confine egg-laying hens; and instituting standards for both downer livestock and euthanasia practices.
The deal also involves Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s promise to back laws tightening the regulation of puppy mills and cockfighting.
Others involved with the compromise were the Ohio dairy, beef, poultry, pork, soybean and corn associations. Moody began with an update on what the care board had done so far.
Moody, along with Fred Dailey, former director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, discussed the proposed compromise Thursday night with the Knox County 912 Project. Both Moody and Dailey are long-time farmers here in Knox County.
“We’ve had one organizational meeting,” Moody said of the OLCSB. “Then we had a series of public input meetings across the state. It was interesting; a lot of the conversations we had were similar all over the state. There were some differences in different regions of the state but that’s something you would expect. There was one overwhelming thing we heard — there was one woman who said to us, ‘Whatever you do, make sure we still have reasonably priced, safe food.’”
Once a concrete set of standards are in place, the OLCSB will not serve as an enforcement entity.
“As we go forward we will not be policing. We will be reacting to complaints and any charges brought will be misdemeanors,” Moody said.
Dailey said there is confusion among the general population in regards to the Humane Society of the United States and its function in society.