Posts tagged ‘Ohio Issue 2’

Lessons from New Jersey on Livestock Care

Ohio State University Ag Law Director Peggy Kirk Hall discusses the lessons Ohio can learn from New Jersey on livestock care:

The recent passage of Issue 2 in Ohio (see earlier posts) will eventually lead to the establishment of an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which will have the responsibility to develop standards for the care and well-being of livestock.    While the process is new for Ohio, we’re not the first state to develop farm animal care standards.

In 1995, the New Jersey legislature directed its Department of Agriculture to develop “standards for the humane raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing, and sale of domestic livestock; and rules and regulations governing the enforcement of those standards.”  Nine years later, the agency finalized its regulations for the “Humane Treatment of Domestic Livestock.”  The regulatory program defines acceptable and prohibited practices for feeding, watering, keeping, marketing, sale, care and treament of cattle, horses, poultry, rabbits, small ruminants, and swine.  The program establishes an investigation and enforcement process that includes a complaint procedure and investigation by Certified Livestock Inspectors.

Read more here:

Full podcast here:

December 9, 2009 at 8:30 am 2 comments

Ohio Issue 2 Result

Issue 2- Livestock Care Commission
Results 11/4/09
Source: Ohio Secretary of State
% of Votes For            Number Of Votes For
63.66%   √                        1,959,669
% of Votes Against      Number Of Votes Against
36.34%                            1,118,805

November 3, 2009 at 11:17 pm 1 comment

Ohio Issue 2 – OSU Fact Sheet on Legal Questions

Peggy Kirk Hall, Director of Ag Law at OSU, has prepared the below fact sheet to answer legal questions about Issue 2, the Livestock Care Standards Board ballot issue. The fact sheet explains the ballot initiative process and the actual language of the joint resolution that created Issue 2.

If you have other legal questions about Issue 2, please leave the questions here in a comment and they will be answered.


October 15, 2009 at 3:36 pm 4 comments

Ohio State Unviersity President Gordon Gee Talks about Issue 2

In this video clip provided by Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee discusses Ohio Issue 2 and animal welfare.  Gee: “I’m voting for it.” Click on the video clip below to hear Dr. Gee address Issue 2 Ohio:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Ohio State Unviersity President Gordo…“, posted with vodpod

October 9, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Some Thoughts on Ohio Issue 2

The following is a summary of Issue 2 Ohio from Brian Roe, AED Economics, Ohio State University. One of the most common questions relates to compensation for board members. I have placed the compensation issue at the end of the post (thanks to Peggy Kirk Hall, OSU Director of Ag Law Program).


October 26, 2009 Update: The Ohio Issue 2 Factsheet is now available at:

As the fall election season approaches, many are becoming aware of Ohio’s Ballot Issue 2, which pertains to care standards for farm animals.  This article does not provide an analysis of whether Issue 2 is good or bad nor does it address any issues concerning the science of animal care.  Rather, I go through a series of questions about the management implications of Ohio Issue 2 if it should happen to pass and if it should happen to fail.

Given the novelty of the Issue 2 Ohio initiative, firm answers are difficult to provide.  However, I try to provide some possibilities of what passage or defeat of Issue 2 might mean for Ohio livestock and poultry farmers.  Exact language of this initiative is available here.  Questions A – G are answered by using language from the ballot initiative and joint resolution itself, i.e., I am basically re-organizing the words in the initiative to answer some common questions.  Questions H – M were formulated by me and based upon my own research and analysis.  I thank Peggy Hall of Ohio State’s Agricultural Law Program for discussing and clarifying some of the legal implications and ‘what ifs’ of the initiative with me as I developed this work, but the content contained below is solely my responsibility.

Some Basics About Ohio Issue 2

A.  What happens if Ohio Issue 2 passes?

  • A Livestock Care Standards Board is created in Ohio

B.  Who is on the Board?

  • 13 Members
    • No more than 7 from any single political party
    • Ohio residents
    • Representatives of Ohio family farms, farming organizations, food safety experts, veterinarians, consumers, the dean of an agricultural department at an Ohio college or university, a county humane society representative

C.  What is this Board authorized to do?

  • Establish standards for governing the care and well-being of livestock and poultry in Ohio

D.  What should these standards attempt to achieve?

  • Maintain food safety
  • Encourage locally grown and raised food
  • Protect Ohio farms and families

E.  What factors must be considered when establishing and implementing these standards?

  • Agricultural best management practices
  • Biosecurity
  • Disease prevention
  • Animal morbidity and mortality data
  • Food safety practices
  • Protection of local, affordable food supplies
  • Any other factors deemed appropriate by the Board

F.  Who administers and enforces these standards?

  • The Ohio department that regulates agriculture

G.  If someone wants to challenge the standards created by the board, is there any recourse?

  • The administration and enforcement of the standards by the Ohio department regulating agriculture is subject to the authority of the General Assembly.

Some ‘What-Ifs’ About Issue 2 and Beyond

H.  If Issue 2 Ohio passes, does it mean that nothing will change for Ohio livestock farms?

  • This is not clear.  Consider several speculative scenarios (and, please, do not consider my introduction of these scenarios as an endorsement of any of them).
  1. Absolutely no change for producers. The newly created Board is seated and essentially adopts existing livestock practices as their chosen standards.  The department implementing and enforcing these standards finds no need to verify whether individual operators are in line with these practices or utilizes a verification method with virtually no cost to individual producers.
  2. Only paperwork/administrative changes for producers. The newly created Board is seated and essentially adopts existing livestock practices as their chosen standards.  The department implementing and enforcing these standards requires that all producers document compliance via a record keeping and paperwork regime.  So, even though no operator would alter production practices, all operators may need to undertake additional administrative work that can be costly and time-consuming, particularly for smaller operations where the livestock entity is not the core enterprise.
  3. Changes in production practices. The Board is seated and eventually (perhaps with changes in membership due to administration turn over or public pressure upon legislative members) adopts care standards that would substantially alter production practices.  The department implementing and enforcing these standards would then need to implement a compliance regime that verifies that practices are actually changed to comply with new standards, which could alter the fixed or variable costs of producers in addition to administrative costs.

I.  If Ohio Issue 2 passes, does it mean that future ballot initiatives aimed at banning certain animal care practices are impossible?

  • Passage of Ohio Issue 2 would not guarantee that California-style ballot initiatives would not be introduced in 2010 or beyond, but would likely decrease the odds of such targeted animal care initiatives.  Subsequent initiatives seeking to ban certain practices would have to alter Issue 2 to accommodate the goals of subsequent initiatives, which could cause further delays.

J.  If Ohio Issue 2 fails, what could happen?

  • Ohio voters might vote on a California-style ballot initiative in 2010 or beyond that would seek to ban cages for hens, farrowing crates for gestating sows and crates for veal calves, perhaps by amending the Ohio constitution.  Note that most previous state-level animal care initiatives have not amended the constitution of the state, but rather just changed regulations.  Only the Florida ballot initiative, which banned farrowing crates, amended the state’s constitution.  Amendments to a state’s constitution are more rigid in implementation and harder to change than simple legislative initiatives.
  • Legislators and farm groups may instead try to broker a Michigan-style negotiated deal to avoid a ballot initiative where most of the above-mentioned practices are eventually banned, but the main bargaining chip is how long before such standards are mandatory.  For example, the standards will not be in full effect until 2020 for Michigan.

K.  If a California-style initiative passes in Ohio in 2010, what would happen?

  • Farmers currently using banned practices will have to make a decision among 3 options:

1.   Spend money to

  • Change production techniques
    • Any big change in production practices costs money
    • Most methods  that would be banned are currently the least expensive production methods, particularly at larger scales of production
    • A study of the effects of banning cages for laying hens in California was conducted by UC – Davis economists, and found that non-cage systems would increase costs of production by about 20%.
    • Alter sales and marketing strategies
      • No one in Ohio would be required to buy the products produced under the altered production standards, so they would need to work through niche companies that sell products for a premium and try to recoup their increased expenses via higher sales price.
        • However if many farmers try to sell to this niche market, those historically high sale prices will decline as the market may become flooded with additional product.

2.   Spend money to move their operation to a location that allows such practices

3.  Exit the line of business subject to the new standards

L.  If a California-style initiative passes in Ohio in 2010, will fewer total animals be subject to the banned practices?

  • It depends on how many farmers choose option 1 under question K in the previous section.  Consider two extremes:
  1. All current farmers using the banned practices stay in business at the same exact level of production and implement alternative production methods.  Then all of the animals currently exposed to the banned practices each year would be raised using alternative means, which would clearly reduce the worldwide number of animals exposed to the banned practice.
  2. All current farmers using the banned practices either move or exit.  Then the same number of animals worldwide would be raised using the banned practices, just their location would be shifted out of Ohio while the products are shipped back to Ohio for consumption.
  • The truth will lie somewhere in between and will likely depend on:
  1. How much demand (and price premiums) for animal products raised under alternative production systems increases by the required transition date.  This in turn will depend on:
  • Whether consumers willingness to pay increases
  • Whether lots of other producers in other states also transition and flood the market for these alternative production system goods.

2.   How much the costs and efficiencies for alternative production systems improve by the required transition date.  This is turn will likely depend on:

  • How many other farmers will have implemented these systems and, through experience, reduced the cost and increased the efficiencies of such systems
  • If good information and financing is made available to farmers interested in transitioning to alternative systems.

M. What has happened to egg production in California since the passage of the California ballot initiative?

  • California is the 5th leading producer of eggs nationally.
  • The 2008 ballot initiative will require changes in the way laying hens are raised.  Note two things about the initiative and the laying hen industry:
    • The rule changes will not go into effect until 2015.
    • The exact implications of the law for production practices have not been fully articulated
      • For example, it has not been determined whether the law outlaws all cages or just cages small enough to limit birds from turning around fully with wings spread without touching other birds.
    • However, comparing layer hen numbers from July 2008, which preceded the ballot initiative, to July 2009 numbers, which follow the initiative, we find that:
      • The number of laying hens in California dropped by about 1 million birds
      • This is the 2nd largest decline in laying hen numbers among all states
      • This represents 24% of the laying hen population decline observed nationally
      • California’s share of the nation’s laying hens declined from 6.1% to 5.8%
      • All reductions in laying hen numbers in California occurred among large flocks while small flock numbers gained slightly.
    • These numbers may indicate initial industry response from the impending regulatory changes
      • However, other regional factors cannot be ruled out as drivers of the change in hen numbers given the short time frame of the data analyzed

N. Why not propose an alternative to banning certain production practices?  For example, ban the sale of products in Ohio that do not use certain practices.

  • There has been some discussion of an effort to do this in California in light of the passage of the California law banning cages in the production of eggs produced in that state.
  • For Ohio, such a ban on the sale of such products would encourage Ohio farmers to not exit or move production because they now have the advantage of a built-in home market for selling products raised under such standards.
  • This would likely alter the production circumstances of more animals globally than a California-style ban that focuses only on production within the state’s borders.
  • Such an initiative would also force Ohio consumers to think more fully about the implications because they would now be forced to pay any additional production costs associated with banning such practices through higher prices at the store.
  • However, such an alternative may not be practical as it may face federal legal challenges as an infringement of interstate commerce.  Although, other states, such as California, have passed regulations such as a ban on the sale of foie gras from force-fed geese regardless of where the foie gras was produced.

Financial Compensation for Board Members and Financial Operation of the Board

Ohio’s Office of Budget and Management has prepared a fiscal analysis of the proposal, located here:

A few quick points from OBM’s analysis:

  • Assumes that the board members will serve voluntarily.
  • Predicts that the state will require two full-time staff persons to administer a program.  This amount does not include any regulatory staffers to ensure compliance, since the proposal does not state that it requires compliance.
  • Estimates annual operating expenses for the Board at $176,703 for the first year and $162,280 for subsequent years.
  • Assumes that funding will derive from the state’s General Revenue Fund, since the proposal does not designate a funding source.


Before you comment, you may want to review my blog policies. Comments that do not follow the policies will be deleted. I simply ask that individuals keep comments within the bounds of respectful civil discourse. (updated by A. Kleinschmidt 10/20/09)


October 5, 2009 at 8:15 am 97 comments

Official Statement on Animal Care From OSU Dean

Following is a statement on Ohio Issue 2 from Bobby Moser, Dean of The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (September 10, 2009):

The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University has historically been an advocate for food animal care and well-being for maintaining a safe and adequate food supply, for protecting the safety of farm workers, and for providing Ohioans with access to locally raised food.

We believe in taking a proactive, comprehensive approach to animal care in this ever‐evolving field. We know that education of those who directly manage animals is the most consistently successful approach to improving animal care and wellbeing. As such, producer education and the education of 4‐H youth in the area of animal care has been and will continue to be a high priority for the college.

The college advocates an approach that is research based. OSU has animal welfare specialists located in CFAES and the College of Veterinary Medicine. CFAES studies multiple food animal species, and conducts research on housing, breeding, feeding, animal care and more. The partnership between the Australian Animal Welfare Science Centre, CFAES and the College of Veterinary Medicine positions us to establish a world‐renowned research and education collaboration in animal welfare science.

The Ohio legislature placed on the fall ballot a constitutional amendment that would establish an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The 128th General Assembly Joint Resolution states that among the thirteen members, “the dean of the agriculture department of a college or university located in this state will be appointed to the board.

My expectation is the proposed board will provide an important mechanism for the state to take a proactive approach to high quality animal care. I would expect the composition of the board to reflect a variety of viewpoints. For success, the selection of people for the board will be critical, not in the titles they hold, but in their ability to seek and listen to reputable and diverse information sources to fill knowledge gaps and stay current with the rapidly evolving science of animal care.

Should the amendment pass, the College is committed to assisting the board by contributing sound, current science and information about animal care and well‐being issues and policies.

An openness to education and learning will help the board’s decisions be fair and effective and result in a level of animal care and well‐being that we all seek.

September 17, 2009 at 8:15 am 1 comment


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