HSUS withdraws ballot effort in Ohio; veterinary group applauds new animal welfare deal


OVMA is applauding a deal struck by state leaders that spells out new animal welfare standards.

Columbus, Ohio

-- The Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) is applauding a deal struck between Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and state leaders that spell out new animal welfare standards including bans on veal and gestation crates.

“This agreement represents a joint effort to find common ground. As a result, Ohio agriculture will remain strong and animals will be treated better,” Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said at a press conference about the deal June 30. “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.”

The new deal recommends adoption of several livestock care standards like bans on veal crates by 2017 and on gestation crates by Dec. 31, 2010. Existing facilities with gestation crates will be grandfathered in for 15 years. The deal also includes a moratorium on permits for new battery cage confinement facilities for laying hens, a ban on strangulation of livestock and a call for mandatory humane euthanasia methods, and a ban on transporting downer cows for slaughter.

Unlike other livestock welfare agreements made between state leaders and HSUS, the Ohio deal also reaches beyond farms, including a bill to establish felony penalties for cockfighting, the creation of legislation to crack down on puppy mills, and a new ban on the acquisition of certain exotic animals as pets.

“I’m grateful to Governor Strickland and his administration for their outstanding leadership on these issues,” says Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. “This agreement moves us forward on all of the components of the proposed ballot measure as well as other important advances for animals, too. I look forward to working with the legislature and the livestock care board to see these reforms adopted.”

OVMA said in a statement July 1 the deal has advanced animal welfare discussions in Ohio, and that it hopes the cooperative approach will serve as an example to other states.

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