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Maryland: Producers support Board-set animal care guidelines

Maryland’s livestock and poultry producers, largely exempt state animal cruelty rules, are supporting creating an advisory board to set formal animal care guidelines. Several state representatives and senators are sponsoring legislation that would create a Maryland Livestock and Poultry Care Advisory Board. The 15-member board would consist of a Department of Agriculture appointee, a veterinarian specializing in farm animals, a Maryland Farm Bureau representative, animal workers, and poultry and livestock appointees.

“It provides protection for those already doing the proper care, and if someone is doing something bad, there will be standards to judge it,” said Rep. Charles Otto, a lead sponsor of the House bill.

The Humane Society of the United States, as well as several other animal welfare groups, testified against the House bill at its Feb. 15 hearing. The similar Senate bill is set for a hearing March 2. “Rather than providing real reform, agribusiness is giving the illusion of reform, when in reality it’s simply putting even more foxes in charge of the hen house,” said Paul Shapiro, a Humane Society spokesman.



Shapiro said the proposed advisory board would be dominated by the agriculture industry, which he says already exerts considerable influence on policy-making.

Valerie Connelly, director of government relations for the Maryland Farm Bureau, said the board’s creation entails some risk for farmers. But she said it’s worth it. “It’s so we can demonstrate the vast majority of farmers are doing the right thing,” Connelly said.



Maryland’s livestock and poultry producers, largely exempt state animal cruelty rules, are supporting creating an advisory board to set formal animal care guidelines. Several state representatives and senators are sponsoring legislation that would create a Maryland Livestock and Poultry Care Advisory Board. The 15-member board would consist of a Department of Agriculture appointee, a veterinarian specializing in farm animals, a Maryland Farm Bureau representative, animal workers, and poultry and livestock appointees.

“It provides protection for those already doing the proper care, and if someone is doing something bad, there will be standards to judge it,” said Rep. Charles Otto, a lead sponsor of the House bill.

The Humane Society of the United States, as well as several other animal welfare groups, testified against the House bill at its Feb. 15 hearing. The similar Senate bill is set for a hearing March 2. “Rather than providing real reform, agribusiness is giving the illusion of reform, when in reality it’s simply putting even more foxes in charge of the hen house,” said Paul Shapiro, a Humane Society spokesman.

Shapiro said the proposed advisory board would be dominated by the agriculture industry, which he says already exerts considerable influence on policy-making.

Valerie Connelly, director of government relations for the Maryland Farm Bureau, said the board’s creation entails some risk for farmers. But she said it’s worth it. “It’s so we can demonstrate the vast majority of farmers are doing the right thing,” Connelly said.


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