On the last day for ballot signatures to be filed with the Secretary of State, Gov. Strickland announced a “deal” with HSUS to keep the animal housing issue off the ballot this November. The agreement, which agricultural organizations also signed off on, calls for the Livestock Care Standards Board to adopt regulations which would:
- Ban the use of veal crates in Ohio by 2017.
- Prohibit any new laying hen facilities in Ohio from using battery cages. (Current facilities may continue to use them.)
- Beginning Dec. 31, 2010, any new sow operations will not be permitted to use gestation stalls for sows except “until they are confirmed pregnant.” There is no prohibition on the use of farrowing crates. In addition, existing producers will have to eliminate the use of gestation stalls by 2025.
- Adopt standards regarding euthanasia consistent with language on the ballot proposal (i.e., follow AVMA guidelines)
- Prohibit downer cows going to slaughter.
In addition, the governor also agreed to advocate for the passage of increased penalties for cockfighting in Ohio (i.e. passage of HB 108) and enactment of puppy mill legislation (SB 95). Using the Departments of Natural Resources and Agriculture, the governor will also promulgate rules prohibiting the ownership of certain exotic animals (a specific list is not available at this juncture) though current owners would be “grandfathered” in.
The agreement was brokered by the governor after it became evident that HSUS would have sufficient signatures (reportedly they had more than 500,000 and needed 402,275) to place their proposal on the ballot.
The OVMA has made available a draft of the agreement.