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News - Livestock Care Bill is Progressing

  • March 15, 2010

More than one hundred farmers from throughout the state attended a Senate Agriculture Committee meeting in Frankfort last month to show support for legislation creating a system for establishing livestock care standards in the state.

 Senate Hearing 2010

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman David Givens spoke about his legislation along with (left) State Veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout and Agricultural Commissioner Richie Farmer.

Senate Bill 105 sailed through the committee chaired by the bill’s sponsor, Senator David Givens, of Greensburg. Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer, and State Veterinarian, Dr. Robert Stout, joined Senator Givens in explaining the measure to the committee.

Dozens of KFB state and county leaders were among those who packed the meeting room and adjacent hallway. Every region of the state was represented.

“We have the biggest show in town today,” remarked Givens, “and that’s great because it’s agriculture.”

Farmer began his remarks to the committee by quipping: “We brought reinforcements.”

A top priority of KFB for this legislative session, Senate Bill 105 creates a 14-member Livestock Care Commission which includes a KFB representative as Vice Chairman (the Ag Commissioner would be chairman). The measure gives the committee authority to establish standards for proper livestock care and also would prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances more stringent than the adopted state standards.

The proposal is in response to the continual attacks on animal agriculture from radical “animal rights” groups. Ohio established a commission via a referendum that was mandated by legislation enacted last year. Farm groups in Ohio pursued a commission to preempt the radical groups from influencing the public policy process.

The Kentucky legislation was recommended by a KFB task force, chaired by KFB Director Danny Wilkinson, of Adair County. In his testimony on the bill, Senator Givens praised Wilkinson (who was present) for “helping us to define this issue.” Senate Bill 105 went on to pass the Senate by a 38-0 vote. It was scheduled for a hearing in the House Agriculture Committee in early March. The bill has bipartisan support, but has attracted active opposition from several groups, including HSUS and the Sierra Club.

The state budget is another area of special emphasis. KFB’s public affairs team continues to monitor the process, in hope of gaining approval for the renovation of the Breathitt Veterinary Center in Hopkinsville. KFB also wants to maintain the Phase One monies for agricultural development projects, plus the 22.2 percent allocation of state gasoline tax revenue for rural roads.

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