Ohio livestock producers learn new standards in Wooster

    (Scroll to bottom for a summarized list of standards)

WOOSTER, Ohio — Livestock producers and allied industries from Wayne and surrounding counties gathered Wednesday night (Aug. 31) at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center to learn more about what the state’s new livestock care standards will mean.

The remaining standards — which set animal treatment and handling rules — are set to become effective Sept. 29 during a special signature ceremony in Fort Recovery, Ohio, by state Agriculture Director James Zehringer.

Wednesday’s meeting was one of five informational sessions being held across the state to explain to farmers, farm businesses and the general public what the new standards are, and what they will mean for Ohio livestock producers.

The details

Dave Glauer, former state veterinarian and a technical writer for the voter-approved Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, gave a detailed presentation about animal care, transportation and euthanasia, as it relates to each specie.

Enforcement of the new standards will be conducted through the ODA’s Division of Animal Health.

Glauer said farmers should not be worried about new inspections, because there will not be any, except for when there is a credible complaint.

“There is not going to be any new investigations on farms,” he said. “It is the department of agriculture’s responsibility through the division of health to get that job done.”

Credible complaints only

A complaint will be deemed credible in part by a full name of the complainant, and the information provided. If inspectors find a violation of the care standards, a notice will be issued to the producer, and if not corrected or appealed withing a set period of time, a hearing will be held.

Minor violations cost $500 for the first minor offense, and up to $1,000 for subsequent minor offenses occurring within a 60-month period. Major offenses carry fines of up to $5,000 for the first offense, and up to $10,000 for subsequent offenses.

The fines and penalties do not interfere or take the place of existing animal cruelty laws. Those offenses are still punishable crimes.

Although continued violations of the care standards could become costly, Glauer said the goal of ODA is to work toward compliance, not fines.

“The Division of animal health is interested in compliance, they want to see that things are done right,” he said. “They’re not really out there to create penalties. They want to work with the farmers to make sure that we’re doing things right.”

State Veterinarian Tony Forshey echoed those words and said producers already follow most of what’s in the new standards.

“Agriculture is about compliance; we’re not about fining people and throwing people in jail and that sort of thing,” Forshey said. “We’re not going to be harassing people; we’re going to investigate legitimate calls of people who leave us a name and a phone number.”

Following the rules

But, he said inspectors will be persistent in making sure standards are followed.

“It only takes a few bad actors to ruin the entire industry,” he said.

Audience feedback

Frank Burkett, an Ohio Farm Bureau Federation trustee and dairy farmer from Stark County, said he’s pleased with the work the board has done and sees the standards as something he and other farmers can implement.

“What an incredible commitment of time and resources and as you can see tonight … at arriving at a set of standards that I think are great for the industry,” he said.

There will be changes to dairy, including restrictions on the use of tail docking, but Burkett said he’s still happy with the work of all the commodity groups and the effort they put forward.

John Fitzpatrick, organizational director for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in Wayne, Ashland and Medina counties, said he’s been following the standards closely and expects producers will become even more interested as the effective date approaches.

“I do know that there are some farmers that are having difficulty with a few of them as far as agreeing with them, but in the same light you certainly can’t doubt the process, because it’s been open and above board all the way. All of the meetings have been open to the public, there’s been … comment periods for people.”

Wayne County Farm Bureau President Duane Leaman said he came “to get some information to take back to the other farmers.”

He said it will take some time for local farmers to adjust to the changes that are coming, and to understand why they are being made.

Veal perspective

The biggest battle of the care standards, which has direct ties to Wayne County, is how to raise veal. Producers like Bob Cochrell of Burbank have repeatedly argued for the importance of keeping individual, non turnaround pens in use, while other producers and veal marketers have supported the turnaround and group pen models.

According to the new rules, Cochrell and other veal farmers will need to have their calves in turnaround housing by the end of 2017 — a transition he repeatedly said will be too costly — financially and for the animal’s health.

He said he did not view the new standards as practical or helpful to the veal industry.

“I invested half a million dollars to go into this and now I’m being told ‘oh well,'” he said. “Unless circumstances change, we’ll be out of the veal business.”

He also was disappointed presenters did not open the discussion for questions during the presentation. He said some things needed asked in a public forum. Officials met and talked with producers after the presentation, in small groups and one-to-one.

The way forward

Care board member Jeff LeJeune, who also is a researcher at the OARDC, said moving veal calves to turnaround housing reflects “the evolution of an agricultural practice,” and the trend within the veal industry.

Gaylord Barkman, director of service and sales for Buckeye Veal Services, said the group-housing standard for veal reflects the way forward. He cited several examples of new construction in Ohio and surrounding states to show the success of the group model.

As he sees it, it’s a national trend and one that is doable.

“Once you cross that border and actually do it, it’s not that bad,” he said.

Here are the remaining care standards information meetings:
Wednesday, Sept. 14 at Independence Elementary School, 615 Tremont Ave., Lima.

Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Ohio University-Zanesville Campus (The Campus Center T430 & 431), 1425 Newark Road, Zanesville.

Thursday, Sept. 29, Fort Recovery American Legion, 2490 State Route 49 N.

Dairy and beef

Care, handling and transportation:
Newborn dairy and beef calves must be offered colostrum or a colostrum replacement within 24 hours of birth.

When transporting bovines, the animals must be able to stand in their natural position without touching the top of the transport conveyance.

Dairy calves with navels that have not yet dried after birth are not permitted to be loaded for transport to a terminal market, a nonterminal market or a collection facility.

When castrating cattle, determinations regarding the method of castration and the use of pain management must take into consideration the animal’s age and weight, environmental conditions, available facilities and safety.

When dehorning cattle after the horn has erupted (after it is no longer covered by hair), a pain management practice must be used.

Tail docking cannot be performed before the confirmation of pregnancy unless the animal is part of a dairy herd that practices tail docking. A fly management plan must be in place.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, tail docking can only be performed by a licensed veterinarian and only if medically necessary.

If tie stalls or stanchions are used for dairy cattle, the animals must have room to stand, lie down, eat, drink, defecate, and urinate comfortably.

Free stalls, tie stalls or stanchions used for dairy cattle must be designed so that the length and width provides appropriate space to accommodate the size of the animal’s body.

The stalls or stanchions must be cleaned and have the bedding replenished regularly. If bedded pack is used, it must be bedded regularly.

The only acceptable methods of euthanasia for cattle are the use of a penetrating captive bolt, a gunshot, or the use of injectable barbiturates.


The livestock care rules define veal as a young bovine animal that is raised for the purpose of veal meat production and is sent to slaughter weighing less than 750 pounds. This includes special fed veal, grain fed veal, and bob veal.

Care, handling and transportation:
Feed and water must be provided daily and both drinking water and water for feed mixtures must be drinkable, fresh and free from harmful

Assistance must be provided for any veal calf unable to feed or drink on its own accord.

If veal calves are not provided free choice access to feed, special fed and bob veal calves must be fed two or more times per day following a regular routine.

When transporting, the animals must be able to stand in their natural position without touching the top of the transport conveyance.

Management and housing:
For veal barns in which natural light is not available, artificial light must be provided for at least eight hours a day so that calves can observe
each other.

Until Dec. 31, 2017, veal calves are permitted to be tethered in stalls of an acceptable size.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, tethering of veal calves will only be permitted in specific circumstances as an intervention for navel and cross sucking and as a restraint for examinations, treatments and transit. At this time, calves must be housed in such a manner that allows them to turn around, and 10 weeks of age and older must be housed in group pens containing at least two calves.

Horses, ponies, mules and donkeys

Care, handling and transportation:
All newborn foals must be offered colostrum or a colostrum replacement within 24 hours of birth.

An electric prod can only be used as a diagnostic tool to determine whether an animal can rise on its own. Prods must be used humanely and cannot be used in sensitive areas.

All tack and/or harnesses must fit properly and be well maintained so as to minimize the potential for injuries.

When castrating equine animals, chemical restraint and effective analgesia must be used.

Tail docking of horses can be performed as a proactive measure to prevent injury, or if medically necessary such as in the case of accident, malformation or disease and must be performed by a licensed veterinarian.

When transporting, the animals must be able to stand in their natural position without their heads (except ears) touching the top of the transport conveyance.

Equine animals cannot be transported in two-tiered or double deck semi-trailers.

Housing areas must be designed to control parasite infestation and to minimize insect infestations.

If open lots are used, they must be maintained to promote proper drainage away from resting areas and from feed and water.

If stalls are used, they must be cleaned and replenished regularly with clean, good quality and absorbent bedding.

Equine animals must be provided with the opportunity for exercise unless medically prohibited.

The only acceptable methods of euthanasia for equine animals are the use of a penetrating captive bolt, a gunshot, or the use of injectable barbiturates.

Sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas

Care, handling and transportation:

All newborn lambs, kids and crias must be offered colostrum or a colostrum replacement within 24 hours of birth.

An electric prod can only be used on llamas and alpacas as a diagnostic tool to determine whether an animal can rise on its own.

All tack and/or harnesses used on goats, llamas and alpacas must fit properly and be well maintained so as to minimize the potential for injuries.

Halters used on llamas or alpacas must be removed when the animal is not being handled for extended periods of time.

When transporting, sheep and goats must be able to stand in their natural position without touching the top of the tranport conveyance.

Llamas and alpacas must be able to stand so that their backs do not touch the top of the transport conveyance and the load density must allow all animals to lie down at the same time.

Management and housing:
When castrating llamas or alpacas, effective analgesia must be used and the animal’s age must be taken into consideration.

When dehorning goats after the horn has erupted, a pain management practice must be used.

Sheep and goat breeds that do not naturally shed their hair/wool must be shorn regularly. Anyone raising sheep must minimize the risk of fly strike by shearing or crutching or employing some other acceptable method.

Co-mingled adult male llamas and alpacas must have their fighting teeth conditioned.

Llamas and alpacas must also receive toe nail care and, during hot weather, heat stressed must be minimized by shearing.

Llamas and alpacas must also be provided with a clean, dry area for lying down and must be provided with the opportunity for socialization with a herding animal.

The only acceptable methods of euthanasia for sheep and goats weighing more than 12 pounds are the use of a penetrating captive bolt, a gunshot, the use of an inhaled carbon dioxide agent, or the use of injectable barbiturates.

Non-penetrating captive bolt guns and blunt force may be used on young sheep and goats weighing less than 12 pounds.

The only acceptable methods of euthanasia for llamas and alpacas are the use of a penetrating captive bolt, a gunshot, or the use of injectable barbiturates.

Layers, Broilers, Turkeys

Layers are female chickens that have reached sexual maturity as demonstrated by egg production. Broilers are chickens raised for meat, and turkeys are also raised for meat. Breeders are chickens or turkeys raised to perpetuate progeny. A poultry flock is a grouping of more than one chicken or turkey, which may be raised for egg production, meat and/or as breeders.

Care, handling and transportation:
Electric prods cannot be used on poultry.

Birds can be caught or carried by one or both legs, but are not to be caught, carried or lifted by the head, neck or tail.

If performed in a humane manner, the following livestock management procedures are permitted for use in order to minimize injury to the birds: beak conditioning; general toenail conditioning in turkeys; male back toe conditioning in broilers; dewclaw and snood conditioning in turkeys; caponizing in broilers; dubbing; and, induced molting.

Load density in poultry conveyances must allow the birds to rest at the same time without being forced to rest on top of each other.

Free-range or pastured broilers and turkeys must have reasonable protection from adverse weather conditions and from predators.

Indoor housing must minimize exposure to adverse weather, minimize conditions in which the birds cannot effectively thermoregulate, and provide sufficient ventilation.

Whether birds are housed indoors or outdoors, environmental moisture must be managed in order to promote the health and welfare of the flock.

Environmental management in the flock’s housing system must be designed to control rodents, non-beneficial insects, and parasite infestation in the birds.

The only acceptable methods of euthanasia for poultry are the use of an inhaled carbon dioxide agent, cervical dislocation, a gunshot, blunt force, decapitation, a non-penetrating captive bolt, and the use of injectable barbiturates.

Maceration may be used for one day old chicks and poults, and for pipped and embryonated eggs.


General Housing:
All sows and boars in stalls or pens must be able to lie down fully on their sides without their heads having to rest on a feeder or have the rear quarters come in contact with the back of the stall or pen at the same time.

An animal must be allowed to stand up without its back touching the top of the stall or pen.

Farrowing stalls must be designed to maximize piglet welfare.

Sows farrowing outdoors must be provided shade in hot weather, shelter from prevailing winds, or a regular, ample supply of bedding to minimize frost bite in cold weather.

Housing Transition:
Group housing methods for pregnant sows (after confirmation of pregnancy) must be used by the end of the year 2025.

The mixing of animals must be done in a manner which minimizes aggression and the risk of injury.

Gestation stalls for pregnant sows can be used in all existing facilities until Dec. 31, 2025. After that time, gestation stalls can only be used until the confirmation of pregnancy.

Any new construction or new construction on an existing facility cannot use gestation stalls except to maximize embryonic welfare until the confirmation of pregnancy.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2026, individual stall housing will be permitted only for special circumstances, such as to treat an injury or to separate frail, thin or aggressive swine that jeopardize their own welfare or the welfare of other pigs.

Care, handling and transportation:
Tusk trimming is acceptable if performed in a humane manner and care is taken to cut the tusks level with the gums without damaging the gums.

Only hand-held, 50 volt or less, battery-operated electric prods can be used to facilitate the movement of swine weighing more than 35 lbs.

When transporting, the animals must be able to stand in their natural position without touching the top of the transport conveyance.

If it is necessary to transport a sow with her suckling litter, the sow must be segregated from all other animals during transport and the litter must be protected appropriately.


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Chris Kick served Farm and Dairy's readership as a reporter for nearly a decade before accepting a job at Iowa State University Extension. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University.



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