Care board reviews cost of investigations, considers becoming more aggressive on fines

Print

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Members of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board reviewed nearly two years of investigations and violations, during their Nov. 20 meeting at the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

State Veterinarian Tony Forshey said that since investigations began in April of 2011, there have been 68 investigations total, with 38 resulting in no violations and 8 that require further follow-up.

Forshey said more than half of investigations so far have involved no violations, and often stem from a neighbor dispute or feud. But each complaint is taken seriously at the time, he said, and thoroughly investigated.

Feed prices

A recent trend has been the difficulty to supply adequate feed to animals, especially horses, because of the high feed prices this summer and fall.

“I have a feeling that this fall and winter we’re going to see more of those in particular,” Forshey said, partly because of the drought of 2012, which severely limited feed supplies.

So far, the Division of Animal Health has traveled a little more than 35,000 miles and spent nearly $62,500 on investigations and follow-ups.

Members have long promised that the standards would be enforced in a way that “are meant to keep farmers in business, not put farmers out of business.”

The focus the first two years has been on education and bringing animal owners into compliance. But several board members said if requirements are not being met, especially after a warning period, then fines need to be issued.

“If they (animal owners) aren’t adhering to the standards then I think we’re going to have a tough time further down the road enforcing them,” said Jeff Wuebker, a board member and swine farmer from Versailles.

He warned against inspectors judging the issuance of a fine over whether the property owner can afford to pay it, especially when a standard is clearly broken and remains broken.

“I think we go down the slippery slope when the inspector is deciding whether or not someone can pay,” he said.

Animal care

Board Member Leon Weaver, a dairy farmer from Montpelier, said the care of the animal should come first.

“If you’re trying to decide which way to go, then the animal comes first,” he said.

The board considered a two-visit policy before issuing a fine but did not take formal action. Forshey said the emphasis is still on bringing people into compliance, and said some people just need educated.

“A lot of these people on these investigations have never heard of the livestock care standards, don’t care about the livestock care standards and don’t care about changing,” he said.

The OLCSB board members held regional meetings across the state to explain the new rules, and continues to operate a web page on the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website, but he indicated further outreach could be an option.

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

3 Comments

  1. FFA 73 says:

    After all the hoopla with HSUS, it doesn’t appear that many ‘care’ about the Care Board judging by the comments, Chris. Sorry you were not able to make the last meeting…

  2. okiestorm1 says:

    due to the horse situation,the high cost of feed and grain and lack of pasture grass,i think the equine processing plants need to be reopened,but we all know that probaly won’t happen.The rescues are not receiveing the money they are used to getting because people just don’t have it anymore and it is only going to get worse.What do people do with the horses they can no longer afford to care for.The rescues are full and some have even been shut down by HSUS and PETA for not care for the animals they have taken in.IMO stiffer fines are not going to make this problem go away but add to the suffering of the owners of these animals.They are paying over $200 a bale for crapy round bales of hay out in oklahoma and texas,we have got it pretty lucky for now here in Ohio.The govt. needs to stop useing corn for fuel and put it back in the hands of farmers and ranchers for thier livestock.Price gougeing on hay prices need to be stoped.This war on red meat needs to stop also,people have been eating meat sense the begeing of time and now it’s bad for you, seriously! those that voted for Obama again needs to realize they have helped put the farmers and ranchers in deeper trouble then before,mrs.Obama is pushing the vegan agenda down our throats and she won’t stop with fast food.Something has got to give or farmers and ranchers will loose everything we have worked generations to have.

  3. Fern Zaugg says:

    Yet they want to take the “wild and dangerous” animals away from their owners. Who is going to pay for their feed? Or are they going to just kill them so they don’t have to feed them. SO yes I also want to know when the price gougeing is going to quit. I agree also that the government needs to stop telling us to be vegans. This year alone Mrs Obama’s friends the animal killers have killed my beehives. They need to kill hers and then lets see if she knows how to hand pollinate.

Leave a Comment

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.

eNewsletter

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Recent News