Ohio leads in humane livestock handling

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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COLUMBUS, Ohio — Later this month, new rules on the handling of Ohio farm animals will make the state a leader in setting standards for livestock care, according to state officials, industry representatives and animal welfare advocates.

The Associated Press reports the Ohio Department of Agriculture has been holding meetings throughout 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 has become 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 standards 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 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.
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