This Week’s Column: The Livestock Care Standards Board is Up and Running

Farmers care about animals. Consumers care about animals. There are many values we share on both ends of the food production chain, but the big picture is that all of us have a vested interest in knowing that our food animals are treated with the utmost standard of care. Now, thanks to the proactive thinking of Ohio’s agricultural leaders and the voting public, consumers and farmers can agree that the proper care of food animals is a matter of public record.

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, seated and sworn in earlier this week, held its first official hearing and kicked off the process of establishing its infrastructure and procedures.

The board, mandated by the overwhelming will of Ohio voters last November, holds the Constitutional authority for setting the standards by which food animal care in Ohio will be regulated. This board is extremely diverse in terms of farm background, gender and racial makeup, and public interests represented. Featuring four veterinarians, the dean of agriculture at The Ohio State University, the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the executive director of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Banks, and the top executive at one of Ohio’s largest metropolitan animal shelters, the board represents all valid interests relative to food animal well-being.

Such a broad cross-section of agriculture, consumer, and animal interests insures that the best interests of farm families, food animals, and the consuming public will be well represented.

The work of the board in its first year will be swift and complex. As the first board of its type in the country, there is potential for the organization to set national precedent in the area of food animal regulation. Other states are already in the process of passing legislation to implement similar bodies in their own governments.

Likewise, because of the political ambitions of one radical animal rights activist lobbying organization, this board is already being challenged before it has the chance to implement even its first standards.

Threatening to spend upwards of $10 million in political advertising in Ohio alone, the Humane Society of the United States, well known for raising prodigious amounts of money in the name of neglected animals and instead spending those funds to advance a radical vegan agenda and lifestyle in America, is circulating petitions to run a ballot initiative in the Buckeye State this fall. The language of that initiative would force the newly seated board to do HSUS’ bidding, rather than doing what Ohio voters established the board to do: fairly investigate and arbitrate the best standards for food animal care in Ohio.

For most experts and opinion leaders, the HSUS efforts are counterintuitive and counterproductive. For what purpose would a group allegedly dedicated to animal care preemptively force a constitutionally appointed regulatory body to adopt a given set of rules before that board has even the opportunity to examine the practices in question and determine the best standards? If you follow the antics and business practices of HSUS, my question is rhetorical only.

If you are not yet acquainted with Wayne Pacelle’s activist ATM, I recommend you visit and the Center for Consumer Freedom. HSUS is, quite simply, dedicated to ending your consumption or use of animal proteins and products. They firmly believe that animals should have the same rights as humans, and that humans should, in many cases, be disallowed from using or interacting with animals entirely.

The governor, Legislature and voters of Ohio are to be commended in establishing the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

This distinguished panel of expert representatives should be allowed to do the job to which they were appointed without the interference of Washington- and Hollywood-based radicals.