Ohio Committee OKs Livestock Care Rules, Penalties

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Rules for putting sick livestock to death and civil penalties for violators cleared a key legislative committee on Wednesday.

Action by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review addressed some of the issues from an agreement reached in June between Ohio agriculture businesses, the Humane Society of the United States and Gov. Ted Strickland. The governor brokered the agreement in which the Humane Society agreed to abandon a fall ballot issue against animal cruelty in exchange for livestock care standards.

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board created by voters last year has been working for months to develop standards governing the care and well-being of farm animals and penalties for violating those standards.

"The board wanted to make sure the standards are clear and practical for Ohio farmers and also comprehensive," said Megumi Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for enforcing the new standards.

Approved penalties for the euthanasia rules cleared Wedneday and other care standards still being developed range from $500 for minor offenses to $10,000 for repeat major ones. Some of the care standards still being developed deal with areas like housing and overall management of livestock.

Karen Minton, state director for the Humane Society, said the animal welfare group is "comfortable" with the rules stating acceptable ways of putting sick animals to death.

The Humane Society had wanted strangulation ruled out as a method of euthanasia, and it is omitted from the acceptable methods.

Minton said there are some concerns over the civil penalties.

"We don't believe some of them are as clear as they should be," she said. "But we are optimistic about the board's progress so far."

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.



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