Indiana animal care standards may go from idea to reality in three months

INDIANAPOLIS — In what some would describe as a whirlwind, the state of Indiana could have livestock care oversight established by the middle of March.

Legislation

The Indiana senate passed H.B. 1099 by a vote of 50-0 Feb. 22 and it is now going to the governor’s desk and should arrive by the end of next week. Once it is there, Governor Mitch Daniels will have 10 days to sign it.

Legislators and the Indiana Farm Bureau are very confident the governor will sign the legislation which gives ultimate power in deciding standards for livestock and poultry care to the already existing Board of Animal Health.

The process started in January, and the house of representatives had already approved the legislation by a vote of 94-0.

Indiana has a citizen representative type of system where session is only in for three or four months. Representatives have another full-time job.

Speaking up

Indiana State Rep. Terry Goodin said the bill he helped to author is meant to be proactive.

“What we are saying is that the Board of Animal Health will determine how animals will be treated and handled,” Goodin said.

The state veterinarian leads the board.

Goodin added the members will have experience, schooling and training to be able to make the decisions as to what is appropriate in animal care.

He added agriculture has been under tremendous attack by those not involved in agriculture and by those who do not think animals should be used for food.

Goodin said Indiana has learned a little from Ohio and that is why the state decided to legislate the Livestock Care Commissions Board so opponents can’t come back.

He said Indiana’s plan is a simple concept and the Board of Animal Health will make the decisions as to what is appropriate and what is not.

Farm background

Goodin is serious about getting the word out to people who don’t understand the nature of farming. After all, he is part of the fight. He raises beef cattle on his southern Indiana farm.

He encourages other states to look at what is going on in Indiana so that livestock farms across the United States are protected.

“As farmers, we need to get off our laurels and get the word out,” Goodin said.

Rules

The legislation as it stands now would allow the livestock care commission board to adopt rules to establish standards governing the care of livestock and poultry.

The bill’s language states the board must consider the following when adopting the standards:

• The health and husbandry of the livestock and poultry.

• Generally accepted farm management practices.

• Generally accepted veterinary standards and practices.

• The economic impact the standards may have on: livestock and poultry farmers; and the affected livestock and poultry sector and consumers.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

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