Farm Sanctuary Condemns Betrayal of Veal Calf Welfare by Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board

Violation by Industry of Groundbreaking Agreement Leaves Fate of Calves Uncertain

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y.March 5, 2011 – In response to Monday’s
6-5 vote by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to permit the inhumane confinement of veal calves in crates so small they are unable to turn around, a clear violation of an agreement reached last June between humane groups and agribusiness, Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary (www.farmsanctuary.org), the nation’s leading farm animal protection group, issues the following statement:

Monday’s vote by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board (OLCSB) to allow veal calves to be confined in crates so tightly that they can’t even turn around for most of their lives violates the widely publicized agreement that was reached last June between agribusiness interests, including the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, and the humane community to avoid a ballot initiative that would ban the inhumane confinement of animals in veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages across the state. By endorsing veal crates, the OLCSB has demonstrated an interest in upholding the status quo at the expense of improving animal welfare. We urge the OLCSB to reverse its vote and to act in accordance with June’s compromise agreement. Otherwise, the humane community will have no option other than to move forward with the initiative.

Like all animals, farm animals have feelings and they deserve to be treated with respect and compassion. But unfortunately, they are subjected to inhumane conditions and experience intolerable suffering on today’s factory farms. Calves in veal crates are so severely confined that they cannot walk, turn around or engage in basic natural behaviors, and they experience both physical and psychological disorders. Citizens are appalled to learn about factory farming cruelty, and when they’ve had the opportunity to vote on initiatives that require animals to have at least enough space to turn around, they have overwhelmingly supported these measures. We expect the same result in Ohio.

Laws codify societal values and prohibit behaviors that are outside the bounds of acceptable conduct in our society. But for decades, agribusiness has wielded undue influence over the legislative process, and they have acted to codify cruelty. Amazingly, farm animals are excluded from the Federal Animal Welfare Act and from many state anti-cruelty laws.

With growing awareness and opposition to factory farming, laws are finally changing to more accurately reflect societal values. Direct democracy through citizens’ initiatives has played an important role in bringing about critical humane reforms. Concerned about a pending initiative, the OLCSB was created by agribusiness to prevent a popular vote in Ohio, and that may still be possible, but only if the board acts appropriately and isn’t just a compliant mouthpiece for the factory farming industry.

The OLCSB cannot both defend veal crates and also claim to have an interest in promoting animal welfare. Hopefully, the OLCSB will reverse its ill-conceived endorsement of veal crates, but if it doesn’t, Ohio’s humane minded citizens will.

To speak with Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur, please contact Meredith Turner at 646-369-6212 or [email protected]

About Farm Sanctuary
Farm Sanctuary is the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the “food animal” industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. Additional information can be found at farmsanctuary.org or by calling 607-583-2225.

Follow Farm Sanctuary on Twitter: twitter.com/FarmSanctuary

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