Saturday, November 14, 2009

Illinois: RC offers proposals to protect livestock

Policy draft recommends IDOA animal jurisdiction

Martin Ross
Published: Nov 12, 2009

The Illinois Farm Bureau Resolutions Committee seeks to bolster health and educational resources and policy protections for an already-beleaguered livestock industry.

Amid concerns about state ballot initiatives and local efforts aimed at restricting livestock activities, RC proposals support granting Illinois Department of Agriculture jurisdiction over care of all livestock and companion animals statewide. IFB producer delegates will review policy proposals at the organization’s Dec. 5-8 annual meeting in Chicago.

The RC proposal is aimed at providing strong, ag-based guidance in the face of pressure from activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). RC Ag Policy-National Issues Subcommittee Chairman Kent Mellendorf noted the prospective impact of California’s recently passed, HSUS-backed Proposition 2 on West Coast egg producers.

Ohio voters by a nearly two-to-one margin recently supported establishment of a new Farm Bureau-backed Livestock Care Standards Board that will recommend guidelines for the care of the state’s livestock. Oklahoma and Michigan have passed legislation prohibiting local governments from enacting livestock rules or ordinances that are more restrictive than state ag regulations, the latter with support from the American Humane Society.

The RC also proposed commodity groups pool resources in a “direct concentrated effort” to educate consumers on use of best management practices especially in livestock production. As activists mobilize to restrict production practices, livestock, dairy, and mutually reliant crop groups are recognizing the value of pooling resources to “target one area at a time, vs. each one trying to do a little bit on their own,” Mellendorf said.