Truce Reached Over Farm Animal Welfare in Ohio
Ohioans and animal welfare organizations have been working to increase protection for farm animals and anti-cruelty laws in the state by collecting signatures to bring these issues to the table for voters in the November ballot.
On Wednesday, an agreement was reached between Ohioans for Humane Farms, farm groups and Governor Ted Strickland to make improvements on a number of issues from intensive factory farming practices to puppy mills.
The changes in the agreement include:
- A ban on veal crates by 2017, which is the same timing as the ballot measure.
- A ban on new gestation crates in the state after Dec. 31, 2010. Existing facilities are grandfathered, but must cease use of these crates within 15 years.
- A moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens.
- A ban on strangulation of farm animals and mandatory humane euthanasia methods for sick or injured animals.
- A ban on the transport of downer cows for slaughter.
- Enactment of legislation establishing felony-level penalties for cockfighters.
- Enactment of legislation cracking down on puppy mills.
- Enactment of a ban on the acquisition of dangerous exotic animals as pets, such as primates, bears, lions, tigers, large constricting and venomous snakes, crocodiles and alligators.
Strickland reportedly felt that “heading off an expensive, acrimonious ballot fight was also in the best interests of the state — freeing up millions of campaign dollars for agricultural research and animal protection efforts.”
Ohioans for Humane Farms would’ve delivered over 500,000 signatures to the Secretary of State, which would’ve been enough to bring the anti-factory farm measure to the ballot in November, which they can still submit if necessary, according to Farm Sanctuary.
“We are grateful to the Ohio volunteers who put tremendous energy towards the effort to gather enough signatures to place the measure on the ballot,” said Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the Unites States. “Their effort led to this agreement that moves the ball forward on all those reforms while leading the state to address other serious animal welfare concerns and avoiding a costly and contentious campaign.”
Farm Sanctuary’s president Gene Baur shared similar sentiments, stating “These reforms represent important progress for farm animals and other animals in Ohio, and we’re grateful to all our volunteers in Ohio who worked so hard to make this happen.”