Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board adopts State’s first standards: euthanasia

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Editor’s Note: A full draft of the standards voted upon is available at http://http://www.agri.ohio.gov/proposedrules/proposedrules.aspx

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — After months of discussing, debating and fine-tuning its language, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board yesterday (Oct. 5) adopted its first set of standards.

Twelve of the board’s 13 members were present, and voted unanimously in support of standards covering the proper methods and techniques of livestock euthanasia, including captive bolt systems, blunt trauma, gun shot, electrocution and various others.

Only “acceptable” methods of euthanasia are listed, and are to be used as the exclusive means of euthanasia, according to the standards. The board discussed other, non-acceptable measures, but limited its document to those that are acceptable.

Definition

The standards define euthanasia as “the causing of humane death through the rapid loss of consciousness followed by cardiac and respiratory arrest and the ultimate loss of brain function.”

Humane death is defined as “death that results through utilization of the methods established” by the standards.

Ohio’s Director of Agriculture Robert Boggs, who is chairman of the 13-member care board, called it “an historic meeting,” from which the first statewide standard has been adopted.

“Through an open and deliberative process, the board has created standards that address acceptable methods of euthanasia for all livestock that are clear and practical for Ohio’s livestock producers,” he said.

Next step

The approved standards will now be available through an electronic filing program called E- Notification System. This will allow for a 30-day hearing process, for the public to review the document, and make additional suggestions. The standards also will be posted for two weeks on the livestock care website, at www.ohiolivestockcarestandardsboard.org.

Board members have discussed the possibility of coming to this vote for at least the last three meetings. But members, and the chairman, said it was important not to rush the process, which included many updates to the standards language and consideration of public input.

“We are on track but we are not rushing this process just to get rules passed,” Boggs said.

The board spent nearly three hours discussing civil penalties for the standards after its vote. The penalties are expected to come to a vote during the board’s next meeting, but like euthanasia standards, a vote will depend on the preparedness of the board and the document it is crafting.

Moving along

The board continues its discussions of veal standards, with a vote expected in two meetings, and the board is now holding committee meetings to discuss standards of care for poultry and dairy.

“It’s beginning to move,” Boggs said.

After the E Notification System review, the euthanasia standards will be filed with Ohio’s rule making agency — the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. This is the beginning of Ohio’s administrative rule process.

Comments on the proposed standards should be sent by email to Ecomments@agri.ohio.gov.

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

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