(NaturalNews) In an article dated June 30, 2010, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reported that major farm animal welfare reforms were being enacted in Ohio. An agreement with the Ohio Livestock Standards Care Board, the Legislature and the Governor has led to improvements.
The agreement calls for the phase-out confinement systems for breeding pigs and veal calves, a halt to battery cage construction, puppy mills, cockfighting and exotic pet trading. The agreement also stalls a planned factory farming initiative on the fall ballot, reforms industry practices, and clears the way for the adoption of other critical legislation.
"These reforms represent important progress for farm animals and other animals in Ohio," said Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary.
John Dinon, executive director of the Toledo Area Humane Society and president of the board of directors of Ohioans for Humane Farms, agreed, saying, "Ohioans should be proud that our state will be implementing these meaningful animal welfare reforms."
On March 8, 2010, All Animals Magazine reported on the environmental degradation, and hidden costs, of agribusiness and on a coalition of Ohioans against factory farms.
The Ohio State Department of Agriculture counts 160 facilities as large-scale factory farms with as many as 4000 more operations that cannot be classified as a factory farm. These farms use small cages for veal calves, egg-laying hens, and breeding pigs but the economic advantages are questionable. "What the consumer may save in nominal food prices is paid back in additional taxes and environmental quality in Ohio," said Joe Logan, director of agricultural programs at the Ohio Environmental Council.
In 2008, nearly 64 percent of Californians passed the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act which phased out cages for laying hens. Michigan`s governor signed similar legislation.
On June 23, 2010, HSUS urged Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill that would require eggs sold in the state to be from `hens able to stand up, lie down, turn around and spread their wings without touching each other or the sides of their enclosure.` Hens crammed in battery cages cannot do any of these things.
About 280 million hens are kept in battery cages in the US. Caged birds can be concentrated in such packed spaces that they are unable to avoid each other`s waste products and suffer from manure-related pollution. Many environmental and sustainability organizations want the egg industry to switch to cage-free systems. Extensive research by scientists confirms keeping laying hens in battery cages induces suffering.
"Californians don't want farm animals mistreated on factory farms and they don't want unsafe foods on their plates," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "Here's a bill that protects animals and consumers, and we urge Governor Schwarzenegger to sign it."