OLCSB reformats standards for last meeting

(Scroll to bottom for links to past coverage)
REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will close its first year of operations with its paper work in order, quite literally.

At the Dec. 7 meeting, the board introduced a new format of specie-specific standards that still includes the same basic rules, but in a combined document. Board members hope the new format will allow for consideration of more than one specie at a time, a potentially important process for standards that affect more than one specie.

A single document also helps those following the board’s often tedious work, and to understand the standards put forth.

Leah Dorman, a veterinarian with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation’s Center for Food and Animal Issues, said the document accomplishes several things.

“We think this will provide some consistency and avoid some redundancies and, more importantly, result in standards that are easier for the farmers to read, understand and comply with,” she said during the public comment session.

Next action

It is unclear whether the board will approve the document in its entirety, with one vote, or separate votes for separate parts.

It could be a while before specific standards are approved and sent through the law-making process, but the board continues to expand and amend the document, following ongoing specie subcommittee meetings and board member deliberations at each meeting.

At the most recent meeting, the board gave particular attention to swine facilities, and nonambulatory animal treatment and transportation.

The board is considering policy that would allow swine producers already in business, to essentially be “grandfathered” in, so current farmers could still “expand or modify current housing methods at the existing facility.”

The agreement reached between Ohio’s farm groups and The Humane Society of the United States called for a phase-out of all gestation crates by the end of 2025, excepting the continued use of stalls until a sow is confirmed pregnant. A grandfather clause for current producers was not included.

The board’s draft also allows use of individual stall housing after 2025, in special circumstances that “jeopardize the swine’s welfare.”

Wants options

Chuck Wildman, a swine farmer and swine subcommittee member from southwestern Ohio, said there are reasons why producers need to be able to choose how they operate.

He cited two that apply to his own farm: a senior citizen who would not be safe in a large group pen of hogs, and a son with Down syndrome, who can feed sows in stalls, but could struggle in a large pen.

“ I need, as a father, choices with my production methods that can fit the personnel there,” he said.

Wildman supports the agreement and moving away from 100 percent stall confinement of swine, but wants appropriate time and resources to do it.

“I do support the concept of phasing away from 100 percent stall housing, but we really do need time,” he said.

HSUS’s Ohio director Karen Minton said her organization supports the work of the board and Ohio Department of Agriculture Chairman Robert Boggs, but cannot support the swine component.

“The current language that allows (continued) expansion does conflict and is something that we would oppose,” she said.

Not alone

Her sentiments were echoed by a host of “concerned citizens” who reminded the board of the 500,000 signatures they gathered as members for the HSUS-sponsored Ohioans for Humane Farms ballot initiative, and their threat of pursuing the initiative again, if need be.

Several livestock representatives, including some who helped make the agreement with HSUS, also continued their support.

Jim Chakeres, of the poultry layer subcommittee, reminded the board “there were six other groups in that room” with HSUS, and coming to the same decision.

“Ohio’s agricultural community stands behind the agreement,” he said. “Make no mistake about that; we’re here today to tell you that.”

On the issue of nonambulatory animal standards — basically animals that cannot rise or walk — the board gave closer consideration to the term “distressed,” and terms like “humane” and “fear.”

Careful wording

Members are concerned how their definition and use of these terms could be construed, or misconstrued.

“If we don’t make a good shot at defining inappropriate (situations), someone will do it for us,” said dairy farmer and board member Leon Weaver.

Weaver and others agreed fear is exhibited in animals, even if nothing is done wrong. But, he said, it is “unacceptable to have animals that are fearful ‘because of conditions of mistreatment.’”

Boggs asked the board, “if you don’t define what humane is, how do you defend yourself” against what is inhumane.

The board will continue with regular subcommittee meetings, and will hold its first full meeting of 2011 on Jan. 4.

Related Coverage:

OLCSB has hands full deciding veal standards, future of livestock in Ohio (Nov. 17, 2010)

OLCSB veal subcommittee, animal rights activists at odds over housing

Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board approves civil penalties.

Care board hears feedback on veal standards, big decision ahead.

Care board adopts state’s first standards: Euthanasia

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

26 Comments

  1. Jeanette says:

    Why is “concerned citizens” in quotation marks? Why is it SO HARD to believe that average Ohioans DO care about the way farm animals are treated and want to see their welfare improved???

    That said, I’m glad to see that many producers are interested in making positive changes for animals, despite what orgs may or may not be also supporting those changes.

    • FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

      Another complete fallacy…the average consumer really does NOT care about animal husbandry-the bottom line is cheap food-PERIOD. The average consumer is too busy making ends meet and trying to live that they DO NOT have time to read or comment about the issue, or, most likely DONT CARE. The only time they have something to complain about is when food prices rise. Whether you want to hear it or not- THEY ARE THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION!!

      Which gets us back to the truth…we farmers know what is required to raise OUR livestock and what is BEST for them-NOT ALL YOU WHO ARE COMPLETELY CLUELESS ABOUT RAISING LIVESTOCK-they are animals-NOT people stuck in another form. If we do not raise them humanely-they will not be profitable and NONE of us would be in business. We farmers ARE and HAVE BEEN raising our animals humanely. ANY ONE who says different is an outright liar. NO ONE has a right to tell us how to live or conduct our business-PERIOD!! Just because someone has a differing opinion about how we choose to raise our animals DOES NOT give them the right to dictate how we should raise OUR animals!!

  2. Chris Kick says:

    “Concerned citizens” is how several speakers identified themselves, and those they represent, so that’s why it’s in quotation marks.

  3. KeithC says:

    I find it interesting that the Farm Bureau has a recording from Monday 12/6/2010 of Wayne Pacelle stating that HSUS is okay with the board, will continue to operate in good-faith and the progress they are making but Ms. Minton states “The current language that allows (continued) expansion does conflict and is something that we would oppose,” Mr. Pacelle also stated in that recording, “We have our values but we’re not locked into any particular set of ideas that are going to govern everyone’s behavior when it comes to the care of animals.”

    Ms. Minton, please get in touch with your CEO, your comments seem to conflict with his. I am also still awaiting any response from you on the 5 questions I emailed you 2 weeks ago and asked. I will post them again here incase you missed my email at your office.

    1. “In 1980 at HSUS’s annual meeting, the group made it official policy to – and I quote – ‘pursue on all fronts … the clear articulation and establishment of the rights of all animals … within the full range of American life and culture.’ If HSUS is trying to give so-called ‘rights’ to cows, pigs, and chickens, why wouldn’t that completely destroy the entire livestock industry?”
    2. “Can you name a specific meat, dairy, or egg brand that the Humane Society of the United States have endorsed?”
    3. “If you got a federal law passed that demanded a nation-wide switch to the kind of livestock production mandated by California’s ‘Proposition 2’ law, would the HSUS be satisfied with your achievement and completely dissolve the animal-agriculture part of the HSUS organization?”
    4. “Is there such a thing as meat that’s ‘humane’ enough that your ethics permit you personally to eat it? If so, where can we buy some? If not, what’s the difference between HSUS and PETA?”
    5. “In HSUS’s Articles of Incorporation – its founding documents – you’ll find the following declaration: ‘No substantial part of the activities of the corporation shall consist of the carrying on of propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.’ Has that been changed since 1954? If not, what on earth HSUS been doing all these years? Isn’t your job to propagandize and influence legislation? Isn’t that what Prop. 2 in California and Prop. B in Missouri were all about?”

  4. Chris Kick says:

    I would have to defend Ms. Minton on the first point, because the two events were different. This meeting, I believe, was the first full meeting where this swine policy was announced. So she was responding to news that had just happened, and presumably something that wasn’t known or made official to her CEO at the earlier date.

  5. AmyK says:

    KeithC — First, if the livestock care board grandfathers in current pork producers so that they do not have to phase out gestation crates, that will in fact violate the terms of the agreement made between the HSUS, Ohio Farm Bureau, and all the state commodity ag groups. Is that really what the livestock care board wants to do? Because that will trigger a new ballot initiative, not because the HSUS did not keep up its side of the agreement, but because agriculture did not. The agreement give 15 years to phase out gestation crates, which is plenty of time even if you just bought new equipment this year. Ohio citizens are going to have a hard time understanding why agriculture would go back on such an agreement.

    Those of us who volunteered to collect signatures this spring will be happy to go out there again. The signatures we have are still good, and we will get more, and we will put this on the ballot. Where these matters have gone to a vote, they have passed because the fact is, the reforms the HSUS is working for are supported by the majority of Americans. These changes in agriculture are happening all over the world, and they will happen in Ohio too, even farmers have to be dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming.

    Finally, as you know, that set of loaded questions is straight from HumaneWatch, an industry front group paid to smear the HSUS because these corporations don’t want to see humane farm reforms. And as has been pointed out to you before, the answers to these questions are easy to find on the HSUS website, emails, blog and other materials. I wrote a piece with many of the answers which you can find here – http://humanewatch.info/blog/2010/11/21/martosko-questions-answers/

    And no, I don’t work for the HSUS. I am just a concerned citizen and supporter who wants to see farm animals have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around, and spread their limbs.

    • KeithC says:

      Mr. Kick, I can see your point however, HSUS has stated numerous times publicly that they are not holding the Signatures over the heads of the Ag Industry yet they are quick to bring up the point that any decision outside of the agreement is not ok with them. Mr. Pacelle stated he is fine with the Board and the progress they are making.

      AmyK – The questions are from HumaneWatch, I have never said they weren’t. They are very valid questions and since you continually state you are not a member or employee of HSUS then I respectfully ask you to keep your thoughts to yourself, the questions are not for you they are being asked to a representative of HSUS. Additionally, I would like to point out that only 6 of the commodity leaders signed the agreement, not all of them. If you would like, I have a copy of the actual signed agreement including Mr. Pacelle’s signature.

      You state “The signatures we have are still good, and we will get more, and we will put this on the ballot.” Are you stating that you personally hold the signatures and will move toward a ballot initive. I remind you that you state you are not a representative of HSUS. You seem to use the term “WE” quite often as if you speak on behalf on HSUS.

  6. Butch says:

    AmyK – couple of things. First, are you the Amy that threatened to blow up my house? Second, since you say you don’t work for HSUS, why are you answering questions that are for them?

    • AmyK says:

      Butch, I am not that Amy and I don’t know anything about that incident. I don’t know where you live, don’t own a gun, and have never touched an explosive. Moreover, I would condemn any form of violence, including against people like you who I utterly disagree with. Words are a much better way to express disagreement than violent actions.

      • Butch says:

        AmyK if you nothing about the threat nor where I live they why did you post on my letter this statement “AmyK says:
        November 29, 2010 at 9:19 pm First, the writer of this letter is an exotic animal dealer, not a farmer.” ???

      • AmyK says:

        Butch, I googled your name from your previous letter. Your exotic animal website came right up on the google search. Your comments in other articles in Farm and Dairy and other online news stories also made it clear you are an exotic animal dealer. What’s strange is that the proposed ban on ownership of large, dangerous exotics would not affect the kind of animals you appear to deal in, which are mostly birds and small mammals. So I am struggling to understand why you are so obsessed with destroying the HSUS and the agreement.

      • Butch says:

        AmyK – Funny that when I google my name what comes up is the fact that i’m a trustee for the OAAO, an animal welfare organization that protects the rights of ALL animal owners and my business email address. I know for a fact what is and is not on my website.

        You say, “So I am struggling to understand why you are so obsessed with destroying the HSUS and the agreement.” Well i’ll be happy to answer that question. I have been raising animals, both birds and other animals for over 20 years and I have had to fight the whole time. I read the King James version of the bible and I believe that not only is it my right as an American but also my God given right to own, raise, eat and keep as pets any animal i choose. Incase you didn’t know, the bible has trillion more supporters and has been around a lot longer than Wayne Pacelle, the HSUS or the Animal Rights Movement.

        Because Animal Right’s supporters and organizations have no room for anyone’s view point except their own, I fight to ensure that Animal Owners, regardless of what they own and/or raise, have a voice and rights. I know that the Animal Rights Agenda calls for all animals to be free and I don’t believe in that thought process. If it weren’t for private owners, many species would have already become extinct. The only thing that should become extinct is the entire Animal Rights movement.

  7. Bigfut says:

    What I find interesting is why is HSUS allowed to continue to be politically active when they have yet to make it thru their RICO trial. I mean part of the allegations in the RICO trial is that they are acting outside of their stated purpose and should be disbanded.

    AmyK, you have made yourself very visible many places as a “concerned citizen” but continue to reiterate only what the HSUS states and nothing else. As pointed out here you have continued to use a collective wording of “we” frequently and loosely. Also when it comes time to present the signatures, I would love to find out how many were collected as a legitimate affirmation to what its truly about. Not like when I was at the Pet Expo last year and heard “volunteers” say they were reforming the states humane societies, yet when I asked the same “volunteer” he did say he was being paid but wouldn’t disclose his hourly wage.

    Personally I think if the signatures are presented for the ballot initiative then they need to confirm with the voters as to what they were told when they signed on the line. You personally might not have said less than the truth, but I know of at least five events that people were lying about what the signatures meant and it was the same HSUS form and wording each time.

    • AmyK says:

      Bigfut, that RICO lawsuit against the HSUS is totally frivolous. It was filed by a coalition of animal welfare groups in revenge for the lawsuit against Ringling for its abusive treatment of elephants. The reason it is frivolous is that the HSUS was barely involved in the original lawsuit. It was not one of the plaintiffs when the suit against Ringling was first filed in 2002, and only got dragged in when it merged with the Fund for Animals in 2005. The Animal Welfare Institute was the lead organization throughout the case. For Ringling to turn around and countersue the HSUS shows this lawsuit is politically motivated. It’s also a severe misreading of the RICO statute and will be dismissed.

      You do bring up a valid point that I say “we.” I’m referring to the overall Ohioans for Humane Farms campaign, which consisted of thousands of volunteers from across the state, not just the HSUS. When I say “we” got 500,000 signatures, that’s who I mean. Why did I answer all of Martosko’s questions about the HSUS? Mainly to show how easy the answers are to find and how facetious the questions were, not because I was speaking for them. I just looked up the answers in their materials. Martosko could have done the same.

      I think it would be impossible to go back now and find out what was said to each person who signed the petition. I know I spent a LOT of time answering questions and showed the actual petition language to anyone who asked (which was a pretty large percentage of signers). I was always happy to give people a flier to look at if they wanted to think about it. Were all signature gatherers as conscientious as me? All of them I worked with were. Others may not have been. But at some point when you sign something, you have to be responsible for knowing what you are signing. Before I put my name to anything, I find out what it is and ask to see something written if I don’t think I’m getting a straight answer. Hopefully most people would do the same. We are dealing with adults, and at some point they have to be responsible for themselves and for where they put their signature.

      • KeithC says:

        AmyK the RICO lawsuit is not frivolous, if it was it would already had been dismissed. I see you used the term Animal Welfare, that would be the poeple that care about the welfare of animals unlike Animal Rights. What was frivolous was HSUS’s attempt to bring down Ringling Bros as we all know, that lawsuit was dismissed. So let’s talk lawsuits. How about the lawsuit over the horses that HSUS confiscated and dumped into a field with no shelter or water (as reported by a Kansas newspaper), the lawsuit of the Hunting Dog Breeder who’s animals were confiscated and dumped at a shelter where some died and other contracted disease (reported by a South Dakota newspaper). Do you think HumaneWatch made those up? Interesting that everything HumaneWatch posts on their website links back to the orginial newspaper or document but HSUS only links back to their own website. But AR’s are quick to say HW is a joke.

        So then why if HSUS has nothing to hide will they not answer the questions directly? AR’s are quick to dance around the questions but never answer them, they are afraid because it will expose the truth.

        And we all know that OHF is part of HSUS, I still have yet to find any family farmer that is a member of OHF and there again, OHF won’t disclose who they are.

  8. Farmer says:

    It is interesting that people think pigs are people. If you are in a hog pen feeding pigs….well just don’t fall down….When HSUS shows those cute little piglets…..they grow to be hogs. Wayne Pacelle has yet to realize that farming has inherient dangers and there is a reason as to safety for people, and prevention of death of animals that guide the farming practices. But then again when one realizes that the vegan animal rights agenda is abolition of all animals who are in “servitude” to man – it is wrong, especially those used for food. Our livestock board needs to use science first keeping welfare in mind. If we allow animal rights to continue to end farming, in 10 years a lot of people will be eating all veggies and not by choice.

    • FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

      I humbly (slightly) disagree. In a few years, there will be little food on store shelves-animal OR plant based-, people would-for the first time since the 1930s-be truely hungry, and children would be starving, as in third world countries. Perhaps this is what is TRUELY needed to get people to realilze the lies and deceptions of the AR groups. The outright stupid vegans just cant see that we livestock farmers WILL NOT convert our pastures and hayfields into plant-based food. I for one would sow my fields into poison-ivey first.

  9. okiestorm1 says:

    HSUS is getting out of hand. WE must stand to gether to fight them or we won’t have anythang left to fight for. It just amazes me how they can protray them selves as being above the law and get away with it.They in my opinion are in it for the money not the animals.You all would be amazed at how many AR people and groups are now posting on FB, it is actually scary. They are suposed to be the humain ones when they are the ones sending threating e-mail to people that don’t share the same views as them.Summit Of The Horse has told me that they have receives bomb threats, how humain is that.

  10. berlinoh5 says:

    I would like to know how many comprised the ‘host’ of concerned citizens? Aside from the several lifestock representatives, who were these individuals? Did any of them own or work at a farm?

    If Ohio’s agricultural community stands behind the agreement, as expressed by Jim Chakeres of the poultry layer subcommittee, then the OLCSB and Governor-elect Kasich should honor the agreement.

    • FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

      I need to make this VERY CLEAR-ABSOLUTELY NO FARMER I KNOW OF SUPPORTS THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN FARM BUREAU/et all,HSUS AND STRICKLAND!!! I repeat-NONE. MANY Ohio farmers have lost ALL respect for Ohio Farm Bureau and want it to be known that they-in any shape or form-DO NOT AUTHORIZE OHIO FARM BUREAU TO SPEAK ON THEIR BEHALF. I have REPEATEDLY sent e-mails to the Livestock Careboard telling them that they ARE NOT even trying to get input from farmers-they are NOT informing us farmers of where and when meetings are taking place, and are NOT even sending questionaires to farmers asking them for input. Since the ONLY PEOPLE that will be affected by any of this trash IS FARMERS-the board has an obligation to reach out itself and collect input from ALL Ohio farmers. The Care Board was formed to make decisions BASED ON SCIENCE-NOT EMOTIONS. They seem to be failing miserably.

  11. Chris Kick says:

    Berlinoh5, Thanks for your questions. We’re actually finalizing a second article that includes more public comments, including some of those you mentioned. Will have online here shortly.

  12. berlinoh5 says:

    AmyK, are you involved with the collection of signatures for the ballot initiative to ban raffles and dog auctions in Ohio? Is this also supported by HSUS?

  13. Wild Bill says:

    I’ve been building hog-pen since I was a little boy ,1945. You don’t isolate one hog from a group and then mix them back together latter. The current group will fight until they kill the new comers. HSUS is advocating animal abuse in the worst order. A fight between two pit bulldogs is kindergarden stuff when compared to two old 500 lbs brood sows.

    I wonder if Wayne P. has ever had hog manure on his boots or between his toes.

    Farmers are the experts in animal breeding.and care What works will produce and what doesn’t work will put them out of business.

  14. Chris Kick says:

    A second article, with more focus on public comment, is now available at http://www.farmanddairy.com/news/diverse-crowd-views-typical-at-ohios-livestock-care-meetings/18697.html.

    It does not include all who spoke, but includes additional sources not mentioned in this first report.

  15. Metalhorses says:

    AmyK,do all animal rights people beleive they speak ‘animal,’ thereby making them a superior authority on the needs of all earth’s mammalian species? Don’t you think that narrow-minded superiority is kind of a ‘Hitler-ish’ mentality??? The AR movement’s opinion against gestation crates has gotten quite redundent. Do you really think that freedom of movement is the only thing an animal requires to be healthy? What about access to clean water, a full tummy, a comfortable environment free of extreme temperature flucuations, disease prevention, security, etc. Its really a very multi-faceted issue. Has a population of pigs personally told you which they value over the other? Pigs are sedentary creatures by nature. In fact a very interesting study in Saskatoon, Canada is actually looking at what a sow would voluntarily choose if she had a choice and I think the results would suprise you. A large percentage willingly chose to stay in their free-access stalls 98% percent of the time…leaving mostly just to eat. Swine are a very dominance-oriented species, which demonstrates that many of THEM put a higher priority in security. But most importantly, this demonstrates that one production system doesn’t trump another as the AR movement wants people to believe. Its not about who is using stalls and who is not. Its about the farmer and if he’s doing right by his animals with the resources available…..this is called management.

  16. Farmer says:

    http://www.saova.org/spayneuterhsus.html
    If you really want to make a difference see the above web site. The IRS is now investigating HSUS and they need to hear from all those who have a vested interest in farming. There is something you can do.

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