In an expected move, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other groups announced today their intention to place on the ballot a proposal eliminating certain livestock housing systems. The ballot language would also call for a prohibition on the strangulation of cows and pigs as a method of euthanasia and the introduction of downer cows into the food supply system.
The group, known as Ohioans for Humane Farms (click to read their press release) will need to gather 402,275 valid signatures (10 percent of the vote cast in the last gubernatorial election) to have the measure placed upon the November ballot. Specifically, the proposal, if certified for the ballot and passed by Ohio voters this fall, would require the new Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to adopt standards within six years that would:
- Prohibit the use of certain livestock housing systems, commonly known as gestation crates, battery cages and veal crates. Exceptions would be made for certain livestock exhibitions, research, during veterinary treatment, and for sows seven days prior to giving birth.
- Prohibit the tethering or confining a calf, pig or egg-laying hen “in a manner that prevents such animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending his or her limbs, or turning around freely.” With respect to egg-laying hens “fully extending his or her limbs” means “fully spreading both wings without touching the side of an enclosure or another egg-laying hen, and (2) having access to at least 1.5 square feet of usable floor space per hen; but does not mean that all egg-laying hens in an enclosure must be able to simultaneously spread their wings without touching the side of an enclosure or another egg-laying hen.”
- Require that cows and pigs be killed in a humane manner as deemed “acceptable” by the American Veterinary Medical Association and, further, that strangulation is specifically prohibited.
- Prohibit the transport, sale or receipt for use in the human food supply any cow or calf too injured to stand and walk.
Read the OVMA’s official response statement. More information will be shared as soon as it is released.