Animal care already highest priority in South Dakota | TSLN.com

Animal care already highest priority in South Dakota

Across the country and in South Dakota, groups such as the Humane Society of the United States have received widespread media attention for raids on farms and livestock production facilities. Organizations have also stepped up activities in many states to introduce legislation that further restricts livestock production through stricter regulation of animal handling and housing requirements.

As representatives of South Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers, we ask that South Dakota citizens and legislators take a closer look at the facts of livestock production and animal welfare in our state when reviewing the claims made by so-called “animal rights” groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, Bark the Vote, PETA, or the newly-formed South Dakota Coalition for Companion Animals.

The 31,000 family farmers and ranchers in South Dakota work every day to care for their animals and land, and play important roles in their communities. In fact, the proper care and treatment of animals is the highest priority of farm and ranch families. The beef, pork, dairy, lamb, and poultry farmers have all developed guidelines for the proper care, handling, and treatment of livestock.

Specific animal husbandry practices are implemented to improve individual animal and herd health, as well as food safety. These are proven management techniques that have been reviewed by animal health experts and comply with industry guidelines. People unfamiliar with modern livestock production may have questions about these practices, so we are more than happy to answer those questions and provide information on why a specific practice is necessary.

We applaud the efforts of groups sincerely looking to prevent animal cruelty, but are concerned that out-of-state interests who are asking legislators to make significant changes to our animal care statute are affiliated with the national organizations that want to stop all livestock production in the United States.

These organizations have a very negative view of modern livestock production or what they would refer to as a “factory farm.” An agenda based on such views puts into question every level of agricultural production in the state, including 4-H and FFA projects.

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It is important to note that South Dakota currently has in place a set of sound, workable statutes addressing the issue of animal cruelty and South Dakota is one of 18 states that already classify animal fighting as a felony offense. A statement that South Dakota is one of only three states without a felony penalty for animal cruelty is a misrepresentation. There is a consistent theme in the laws of other states that agricultural pursuits and hunting are specifically exempted from animal cruelty statutes.

On behalf of the state’s farmers and ranchers, we ask South Dakotans and legislators to resist unfounded efforts by the Humane Society of the United States and PETA. Please ask such organizations to provide clear and convincing evidence before considering any changes to already sufficient animal care statutes.

Across the country and in South Dakota, groups such as the Humane Society of the United States have received widespread media attention for raids on farms and livestock production facilities. Organizations have also stepped up activities in many states to introduce legislation that further restricts livestock production through stricter regulation of animal handling and housing requirements.

As representatives of South Dakota’s family farmers and ranchers, we ask that South Dakota citizens and legislators take a closer look at the facts of livestock production and animal welfare in our state when reviewing the claims made by so-called “animal rights” groups such as the Humane Society of the United States, Bark the Vote, PETA, or the newly-formed South Dakota Coalition for Companion Animals.

The 31,000 family farmers and ranchers in South Dakota work every day to care for their animals and land, and play important roles in their communities. In fact, the proper care and treatment of animals is the highest priority of farm and ranch families. The beef, pork, dairy, lamb, and poultry farmers have all developed guidelines for the proper care, handling, and treatment of livestock.

Specific animal husbandry practices are implemented to improve individual animal and herd health, as well as food safety. These are proven management techniques that have been reviewed by animal health experts and comply with industry guidelines. People unfamiliar with modern livestock production may have questions about these practices, so we are more than happy to answer those questions and provide information on why a specific practice is necessary.

We applaud the efforts of groups sincerely looking to prevent animal cruelty, but are concerned that out-of-state interests who are asking legislators to make significant changes to our animal care statute are affiliated with the national organizations that want to stop all livestock production in the United States.

These organizations have a very negative view of modern livestock production or what they would refer to as a “factory farm.” An agenda based on such views puts into question every level of agricultural production in the state, including 4-H and FFA projects.

It is important to note that South Dakota currently has in place a set of sound, workable statutes addressing the issue of animal cruelty and South Dakota is one of 18 states that already classify animal fighting as a felony offense. A statement that South Dakota is one of only three states without a felony penalty for animal cruelty is a misrepresentation. There is a consistent theme in the laws of other states that agricultural pursuits and hunting are specifically exempted from animal cruelty statutes.

On behalf of the state’s farmers and ranchers, we ask South Dakotans and legislators to resist unfounded efforts by the Humane Society of the United States and PETA. Please ask such organizations to provide clear and convincing evidence before considering any changes to already sufficient animal care statutes.