Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ohio Livestock Care Standards Implemented

The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board  has developed Care Standards that will take effective September 29, 2011. Over the last 18 months, the Board has worked as a group, with sub-committees and through a series of public hearings. The result of this process is documented standards that will govern caretakers of dairy, beef, equine, poultry, swine, sheep, goats, alpacas and llamas in Ohio. These standards can be viewed at the Ohio Department of Agriculture website.

As a dairy producer, I’ve read the general care standards which provide an overview of care and handling, housing/facilities and animal health. And the bovine specific standards which cover equipment, animal handling, care of disabled livestock, transporting livestock, euthanasia and enforcement. The standards seem fair and reasonable.

We strive to keep feed in front of our cows so they can eat at any time
Our cows have access to clean, fresh water at all times
Examples of Care Standards include, but are not limited to; providing sufficient feed and water, utilizing facilities designed to minimize injury, providing animals with protection from adverse weather and predators, monitoring animal health and performing medical treatment so as to minimize distress, providing ample space for animals preparing to give birth, feeding colostrum to newborns, and employing acceptable methods of euthanasia. The standards define humane care as the handling of livestock that seeks to minimize distress. You can read the complete set of standards from the link I provided above.

Our barn allows cows to relax in individual beds with sand bedding

The maternity pen at our farm provides a comfortable environment

Lad feeds this newborn calf colostrum while Garrett watches
I appreciate the volunteer time and commitment the Care Standards Board and sub-committees demonstrated and understand it’s necessary to have these standards in writing as a guideline and a tool for enforcement. I realize consumers what tangible evidence that farmers care for their animals.

I hope people know the majority of farmers provide excellent care to their animals because it’s the right thing to do not because a set of written standards were created to govern us. Everything we do on our farm is done for a reason and that reason is always centered on the comfort, health and wellbeing of our animals.

I’m curious to hear from you. As an Ohio consumer, are you satisfied with the Livestock Care Standards that were developed? If you don’t live in Ohio, do you think it’s necessary to develop written animal care standards in your state or on a national level?

6 comments:

  1. I read the rules. I'm underwhelmed. Adequate nutrition, safe housing, medical care, not inflicting needless pain all seem a bit rudimentary. The fact that owners are given until the year 2017/18 to provide housing that allows calves to turn around, just is shocking and sad.

    Some animal care goals that seem more appropriate ... allowing every animal room to get up, turn around and lie down while it is in a barn. Providing safe and substantial pasture turn-out for every animal as often as weather allows. Providing food that most closely resembles the animals natural diet. Providing pain management for painful medical proceedures/conditions. Providing transportation that is as short, comfortable and low-stress. Creating environments that take into account the animals mental needs as well as their physical needs.

    MJ

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  2. Thanks for the comment MJ. It’s curious, the “goals” you listed sound like they came straight from the HSUS website or propaganda from sources like Food Inc. You comment as Anonymous so I don’t know your affiliation. Let me ask you a few questions. Should government dictate how you feed your family, how hot or cold your house is, what type of vehicle you use to transport your children, how short or long your kids hair is or tax you more if you are overweight and your flatulent is determined to deplete the ozone layer? The dairy industry has a stellar track record for animal care. I encourage you to visit a few farms to see the dedication, pride, determination, sacrifice, skill and accountability at work 24/7 365 days a year.

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  3. No I'm not affiliated with any animal rights groups (find their tactics generally unappealing). I have seen Food Inc. but I have also (thanks to your website and others) tried to read balanced opinions that potray other views as well.

    My husband grew up working on a dairy farm from the time he was 12 until he graduated from school. He spent the next 25 years managing large equestrian facilities throughout the U.S. I have worked in many barns and been involved in the management of 3. My thoughts came from my personal experiences.

    In response to your questions, of course I would find government control of such minutia invasive. Which is why I wasn't suggesting nit picking goals, just the basics. The government definitely legislates the basics for my kids. How they are transported (car seats until age 8), what I teach my children in my homeschool, and if I neglect their medical care or fail to provide for their well-being there are legal consequences.

    I don't want to see dairy farmers over-regulated or demonized. I think you have a beautiful farm and do an incredible job. I just think that it would be nice if the goals that were set for animal care involved turning animals out to pasture regularly, giving them room to turn around indoors and giving them the food their bodies are made to eat, reducing pain when necessary etc. These aren't earth shattering, just basic stuff.
    MJ
    PS I comment as anonymous because I'm a computer flunky and can't figure out how do anything else :-(

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  4. The Standards are written to provide farmers with flexibility regarding which management methods are best for their farm because there is more than one way to achieve the same end goal. Your objectives for animal care are being successfully accomplished everyday on farms across the U.S. Your ideas and beliefs are valid. We take offense to the fact that you believe excellent care is not the norm in animal agriculture. We are dairy farmers. We know very little about other animal agriculture management styles. However, we do know all animals in agriculture need to be taken care of properly in order to maintain health, profitability and a good nights sleep. Yes, we in animal agriculture have a conscience.

    You talk about “providing food that most closely resembles the animal’s natural diet”. Please see my two blogs about what we feed out cows: Dairy Diet – What do Cows Eat? @ http://thedairymom.blogspot.com/2011/06/dairy-diet-what-do-cows-eat.html and Our Cows Diet – Part 2 @ http://thedairymom.blogspot.com/2011/06/our-cows-diet-part-2.html.

    I appreciate your compliment about our farm and want you to know we are just like most other dairy farmers across the nation. Dairy farmers care about their animals.

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  5. There are many rules which we to take care about our animals to maintain the health and productivity of cattle and other livestock animals. My question is how to manage especially clean the area when you are dealing with 200 cattle’s and my second question is how often you clean your cattle farm. I mean weekly or monthly.

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    Replies
    1. Maintaining a clean, comfortable environment for our animals is a priority. The barns are cleaned daily. Fresh bedding is added regularly so the animals have a clean, dry place to rest. Much time is spent keeping animal areas clean.

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Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! I’m opening the doors of our farm to share with you and enjoy engaging in discussion. Please be respectful in your comments. I reserve the right to remove posts that include name calling, slander, and vulgar language or contain links to websites that assault animal agriculture.

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