Following extensive public comment and a fair amount of controversy, the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board has reinserted language in proposed veal standards to stipulate that after Dec. 31, 2017, calves which are housed individually must be able to turn around. Additionally, after Dec. 31, 2017, tethering of veal calves will only be allowed to restrain a calf for examination, transit, treatment or as an intervention for naval cross-sucking.
The action and discussion at the April 5 Livestock Care Board meeting followed a public comment period. More than 4,700 comments were submitted after the OLCSB decided at its March 1 meeting to remove from the proposed standards language thatstipulated the turnaround provision. The clear majority of those comments called for a return to the turnaround provision including statements to that effect from OVMA and AVMA.
Prior to the March 1 vote, OVMA President Dr. Lind Lord testified on behalf of OVMA, encouraging the Board to maintain the turnaround language in the standards. However, a motion to strike the language was passed by a 6-to-5 vote. OVMA’s position coincides with the AVMA’s position on Veal Calf management. The American Veal Association also calls for their members to convert to group housing (and implied therein, the ability to turn around) by Dec. 31, 2017.
The April 5th vote to reintroduce turnaround language (see actual language below) followed numerous discussions, concerns over the removal of the turnaround language violating the June 2010 “agreement” between agriculture groups, HSUS and then-Gov. Ted Strickland, a letter from several veal producers acquiescing that the turnaround language should be again included, and the above-mentioned extensive public comments. The motion to reinsert the previously stricken language passed unanimously despite some “charged” comments towards some turnaround language supporters (including OVMA) by one of the Board members. A subsequent motion to extend the Dec. 31, 2017, date for veal producers to comply failed to pass.
The proposed standards will soon move onto the next phase in the rule making process which includes a formal review by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review.
The language of the debated proposed veal standards “management” section C [draft rule section 901:12-5-03, section(C)] is as follows (reinserted language in bold italics):
(A) Individual pens for veal calves may be used under the following conditions:
1) Must allow for quality air circulation, permit opportunity for socialization between veal calves, with consideration given to ensuring the calf’s health is maintained, allow the calves to stand without impediment, provide for normal resting postures, groom, eat, lie down and rest;
2) Veal calves will be permitted to be tethered or non-tethered in stalls of a minimum 24 inch wide and 66 inches long until December 31, 2017;
3) After December 31, 2017, tethering may only be used in accordance with (E) of this rule,and an individual pen must permit a calf’s movement as described in paragraph (C) (1) of this rule and in addition the calf must be able to turn around; and
4) After December 31, 2017, veal calves must be moved to group pens by ten weeks of age.