Ohio governor Ted Strickland announced that The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and representatives of the state’s livestock and agricultural producers have reached an agreement in which “agriculture will remain strong and animals will be treated better.”
In return for a set of negotiated reforms, The HSUS agreed to halt its campaign for an “Ohioans for Humane Farms” ballot measure that sought to curb intensive confinement practices on factory farms.
Appearing at a media conference along with HSUS president and CEO Wayne Pacelle and Ohio Farm Bureau executive vice president Jack Fisher, the governor said, “”Instead of expending tens of millions of dollars and unproductive energy fighting an acrimonious campaign through the fall, both sides will be able to continue investing in our agricultural base and taking care of animals.”
Pacelle said, “This agreement provides a pathway for the enactment of a series of eight major animal welfare reforms, representing an historic advance on animal welfare issues.”
In his blog A Humane Nation, Pacelle described the deal’s eight reforms as follows:
* 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.
Read an analysis of the agreement by Laura Allen of Animal Law Coalition.
A Mercy for Animals undercover video that documented shocking scenes of animal cruelty at Conklin Dairy Farms in Plain City, Ohio is widely credited with having generated public concern and heightened officials’ interest in reforming laws.
The video shows (as described on the Mercy for Animals website):
* Violently punching young calves in the face, body slamming them to the ground, and pulling and throwing them by their ears
* Routinely using pitchforks to stab cows in the face, legs and stomach
* Kicking “downed” cows (those too injured to stand) in the face and neck – abuse carried out and encouraged by the farm’s owner
* Maliciously beating restrained cows in the face with crowbars – some attacks involving over 40 blows to the head
* Twisting cows’ tails until the bones snapped
* Punching cows’ udders
* Bragging about stabbing, dragging, shooting, breaking bones, and beating cows and calves to death
INTERESTED IN MORE NEWS AND INFO ABOUT ANIMALS? Check out AnimalBeat.org.
Katerina Lorenzatos Makris (a.k.a. Kathryn Makris), author of 18 books for major publishers and hundreds of articles, holds a B.A. in Environmental Science Studies and a lifelong interest in animal issues. She is a co-founder of AnimalBeat.org.
Among her books are Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know about Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press), coauthored with Shelley Frost, and The Eco-Kids, a series of novels for tweens (Avon Books).
Her story Small Change placed as a finalist in The Bark magazine’s short fiction contest and will be published this year.
She may be reached at [email protected]