The creation of "Livestock Care Standards Board" were particularly popular in 2009 and 2010 as a way to give agri-business more, if not exclusive control, over how farm animals and horses are treated. In Ohio the Livestock Care Standards Board was even enshrined in the state constitution, its power virtually absolute in the matter of horse and farm animal treatment and care.
Massachusetts Senate Bill 335, however, would create a Livestock Care Standards Board, and all regulations issued by the Commissioner of Agriculture and Rural Affairs for care of farm animals and horses would be required to be approved by 2/3 vote of the LCSB.
The factors to be considered in issuing "these standards shall include but not be limited to: the health, safety, comfort of animals; food safety; biosecurity, animal health and public health; and the financial impact/viability of farms and related businesses impacted by said standards."
The LCSB would have 11 members, and the Commissioner, or his designee, would be the chair. Other members would be representatives of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medicine Association; Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; the Animal Rescue League of Boston; the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation; the Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association; and a family farm involved in the raising of poultry, appointed by the Commissioner; a large animal veterinarian, appointed by the Governor, and two representatives of a family farms involved in the rearing of cows, swine, goats, sheep and/or horses, appointed by the Commissioner.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The bill, S.B. 335, is authored by state Sen. Stephen Brewer. It is pending in the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. Find committee members here. (Click on their names for their contact info.) Find your Massachusetts state senator here.
Write (faxes or letters are best) or call committee members and your state senator and urge them to vote NO to S.B. 335. Don’t let the power and right to determine the care and treatment of horses and farm animals be concentrated in an industry dominated board. A board like this will only limit and hamper the ability to ensure humane treatment of horses and farm animals.