As many of you may know, in November 2009, Ohio voters passed Issue 2, which was a constitutional amendment charged with creating the Ohio Livestock Care Stands Board (I will refer to this as OLCSB).
Countryside Conservancy neither endorsed nor opposed Issue 2 as an organization, but instead offered valuable information for you the voter to make an informed decision.
Personally, I voted no. I was very concerned with the vagueness of the bill, the lack of funding, the mystery of process and procedure, bigger government, and a constitutional amendment.
My concerns are coming to fruition. January 19, 2010 HB 414 was introduced to the Ohio General Assembly and frankly it scares me. These are the top 3 reasons: (leaving the funding issue for a whole other article)
1.) The bill defines “livestock” in section 904.01 to mean any of the following:
-equine-regardless of the purpose for which the equine are raised.
-any of the following animals that are raised for human food products or fiber
Porcine, bovine, caprine, ovine, poultry, alpacas, llamas
-any other animal designated by the director of agriculture in rules adopted under section 904.03 of the Ohio Revised Code
So let me put this in plain English for you….
Livestock: horses (even little Sally’s pet pony on your 2 acre lot in Township Wonderland), all the little piggy’s that went to the market OR stayed home, cows, buffalos, Billy goat gruff and family, Mary’s little lamb, poultry, alpacas, and llamas… Oh and any other animals that Director of Agriculture designates.
The language does not clarify if it is animals for market (commercial use) or not. So, if you are raising a hog for your own consumption or have a pet horse, you too will be subject to the new laws, rules, and fines.
The legislation does not define the owner of the livestock either. Will minors be held accountable for 4H animals, or will this responsibility fall on the parent, advisor, or the farmer where the animal is boarded?
2.) Sec. 904.03 (A) 8 states that when the OLCSB is adopting rules governing the care and well being of livestock, they shall consider the following: (paraphrased)
Best management practices, bio-security, prevention of disease, animal mortality data, food safety practices, protection of local food, generally accepted medical practices and ANY OTHER factors that the board deems necessary!
So …if the OLCSB decides that livestock can only be raised on 20+ acres because this is a bio-security issue than so be it. Maybe farms need to be at least 2 miles apart, or animals can only be pastured, or all animals shall have cages, or all animals need to be fed oregano, fresh carrots and green onions to ensure the protection of local food….as ridiculous as that sounds, they have the power to make such rules.
3.) Section 904.04 (B) allows the Director of Agriculture, or his representatives to enter your property to inspect, investigate, obtain samples, examine and copy records to make sure that you are abiding to the rules adopted by the OLCSB. Oh and if necessary they are permitted to obtain a search warrant.
When I was growing up we had a small herd of Jerseys. My brother wanted a Holstein. So we had all Jerseys and one Holstein – named Buttercup. Buttercup befriended another heifer Rosy. If Buttercup couldn’t see Rosy, she bellowed and bellowed and bellowed. One day, we were working in the barn and the Sheriff’s deputy came with reports of an elephant on our farm! No elephant just Buttercup. He chuckled, tipped his hat and said, “You all have a good day!”
Fast forward to 2010…Buttercup is bellowing in the barn. Deputy Smith shows up with reports of an elephant. He doesn’t believe us and reports us to the OLCSB – we either have an elephant (which may be livestock if the Director designates) or we are abusing the dairy cattle. Either way, a search warrant is issued and our farm is ransacked.
Dramatic Interpretation, I realize, however, we have opened a door.