SALEM, Ohio — Now the decision is up to Ohio voters. That’s how many in the agriculture sector are looking at a constitutional amendment to create an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Voters will cast a ballot to support or strike down the amendment in November at the ballot box.
A joint resolution by the Ohio General Assembly created the legislation that if passed by the voters would implement a constitutional amendment creating the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The legislation passed in late June just as both houses were convening for summer recess.
The Humane Society of the United States, which has pushed ballot measures to restrict livestock practices in other states, opposed the resolution.
The proposed amendment would:
Require the state to create the Livestock Care Standards Board to prescribe standards for animal care and well-being that endeavor to maintain food safety, encourage locally grown and raised food and protect Ohio farms and families.
Authorize this bipartisan board of 13 members to consider factors that include, but are not limited to, agricultural best management practices for such care and well-being, biosecurity, disease prevention, animal morbidity and mortality data, food safety practices and the protection of local, affordable food supplies for consumers when establishing and implementing standards.
Provide that the board shall be comprised of 13 Ohio residents including representatives of Ohio family farms, farming organizations, food safety experts, veterinarians, consumers, the dean of the agriculture department at an Ohio college or university and a county humane society representative.
Authorize the Ohio Department of Agriculture to administer and enforce the standards established by the board, subject to the authority of the General Assembly.
The bipartisan board would be chaired by the state director of agriculture.
The governor will appoint 10 members of the board:
–Family farm representatives;
–One knowledgeable about food safety in Ohio;
–Two representing Ohio farming organizations;
–The state veterinarian;
–The dean of the agriculture department of an Ohio college or university;
–One representing a county humane society in Ohio;
–Two representing Ohio’s consumers.
If the proposed amendment is approved by voters, it would become effective immediately. A majority yes vote is required for the amendment to be adopted.