OK Pre-Emption Bill Now Law

Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry (D) signed the livestock pre-emption bill (HB 2151) into law Wednesday. The measure establishes that the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is the legal entity in the state responsible for overseeing animal well-being issues in Oklahoma. The measure prevents municipalities, counties, etc., from enacting orders or regulations on animal care that are more restrictive than rules outlined by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

Oklahoma Farm Bureau supported the bill. “We don’t want an outside group coming into Oklahoma, mandating how we care for livestock,” said Mike Spradling, Oklahoma Farm Bureau president. “Our producers have learned through experience and training the proper animal husbandry and they have every intention to care for animals in the best possible way.”

Passage of Proposition 2 in California, which outlaws the confinement of certain production livestock, prompted the Oklahoma bill. The Oklahoma legislation is attracting interest in other states as a way to protect agriculture from animal activists attempting to restrict livestock production methods.

In related news, Maine Gov. John Baldacci (D) has signed into law a bill backed by the Humane Society of the United States that regulates treatment of farm animals in that state. The new law, which takes effect in January 2011, will prohibit crates and cages for breeding pigs and veal calves.


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