Farm Animal Regulations Established in Ohio

Ohio's new farm animal care regulations went into effect in September. Ohio follows New Jersey as only the second state to establish legal standards for the treatment of animals on the farm. The regulations resulted from passage of State Issue 2 in November 2009 that created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. While addressing some of the most inhumane factory farming practices, the regulations fall woefully short of providing an adequate level of welfare for farm animals. For example: 1) use of crates to confine calves and breeding sows is prohibited, but not until 2018 and 2026, respectively; 2) new egg operations are prohibited from confining egg-laying hens in conventional battery cages but are allowed to confine hens in so-called “colony” cages, and all existing egg operations are allowed to continue using the battery cage indefinitely; and 3) tail docking of dairy cattle is banned as of 2018, and pain management is required for dehorning, but tail docking of pigs and sheep is allowed, as is debeaking of chickens.