Livestock care standards go into effect today

Ohio’s livestock care rules will become effective today when Department of Agriculture Director James Zehringer signs off on them at a special ceremony in Fort Recovery. The establishment of these comprehensive livestock care standards was required by Ohio’s constitution following the passage of State Issue 2 in 2009.

The 13-member Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board was created to develop care standards for alpacas, beef, dairy, goats, horses, llamas, pork, poultry, sheep and veal, a task it has completed through dozens of meetings, listening sessions, and public input. Now that the rules are complete, the Board will be responsible for conducting inspections of Ohio livestock operations and investigating complaints to determine whether a violation has occurred.

Neglect or unintentional acts of substandard practices are considered minor violations, which incur a fine of up to $500 for the first offense and $1,000 for each subsequent offense. Major violations — reckless or intentional acts that put an animal’s life in imminent peril and/or cause protracted disfigurement, impairment of health, or the function of a limb or organ — incur fines between $1,000 and $5,000 for the first violation and $5,000 to $10,000 for subsequent violations.

As part of its education efforts, the department has developed printable guides to help producers understand the new standards. These guidance documents, as well as the full text of Ohio’s new species-specific livestock rules, are accessible via the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board website.

Violations can be reported directly to ODA’s Department of Animal Health at 614.728.6220 or animal@agri.ohio.gov. Should you need assistance understanding the rules or determining whether a violation has occurred, the OVMA is available to help answer questions at 800.662.6862 or ohiovma@ohiovma.org.

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