New rules on the handling of Ohio farm animals that take effect later this month will make the state a leader in setting standards for livestock care, according to state officials, industry representatives and animal welfare advocates. The Ohio Department of Agriculture recently held meetings around the state to introduce the new requirements for feeding, restraining, housing and maintaining the health of a full range of animals including poultry, cattle, pigs, horses, sheep, goats and alpacas.

Ohio becomes the first state to adopt sweeping standards for livestock management, transportation and slaughter, state Agriculture Director Jim Zehringer told The Columbus Dispatch (

With Zehringer's signature, the rules will officially go on the books on Sept. 29, more than two years after the Humane Society of the United States proposed asking Ohio voters to set detailed restrictions on the treatment of animals.

The standards are the product of a 2010 deal brokered by then-Gov. Ted Strickland that saw the Humane Society and other welfare groups drop their bid for a ballot issue in exchange for farming interests agreeing to support tougher livestock laws.

The head of the Humane Society said Ohio handled drafting the rules more comprehensively than the agreement called for.


"In general, we're very pleased how the farm-animal (rules) turned out," said Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle. "We're hoping this sets a model for the nation in negotiating instead of a bitter political battle."

The standards, to give a few examples, state that: electric prods may not be used on poultry; horses must be transported in vehicles large enough for them to stand in a natural position without hitting their heads; and that, beginning in 2018, veal calves must be housed in enclosures with enough room for the animals to turn around.

Minor violations can bring fines of up to $1,000, while major, repeat violators can be fined up to $10,000.

"The end result benefits not only Ohio farmers and consumers, but it allows us to ensure we have a wholesome, affordable and safe food product going forward," said Jack Fisher, executive director of the Ohio Farm Bureau.

For more details, go to PD

—AP newswire report