Farm Bureau praises governor for signing livestock legislation
When Governor Brad Henry signed the livestock preemption bill (HB 2151) into law May 12, he protected animal agriculture and gained the praise of the state's largest farm organization.
"We are extremely pleased Governor Henry is supporting the animal agriculture industry by signing HB 2151," said Mike Spradling, Oklahoma Farm Bureau president.
The bill directs the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Forestry to be responsible for enforcing a uniform standard for the care and handling of livestock. It does not affect municipal zoning laws as some opponents had earlier feared.
"This legislation has been a priority for our farmers and ranchers and we not only thank the governor but also Rep. Don Armes and Sen. Mike Schulz for pushing it along," Spradling said.
Armes and Schulz authored companion bills at the beginning of the session and shepherded them through the myriad of committee hearings and floor votes necessary for the legislation to become law.
Lawmakers focused on a uniform standard for the care and handling of livestock following the passage last November of California's Proposition 2, which outlawed the confinement of certain production livestock. That law was strongly supported by animal rights activists.
"We don't want an outside group coming into Oklahoma, mandating how we care for livestock," Spradling said. "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."
The legislation has attracted national attention as other states are being targeted by animal activists attempting to restrict livestock production methods. The Farm Bureau leader hopes this will shine a positive light on Oklahoma.
"This shows we are a national leader in stepping out and proclaiming a strong desire to properly care for our animals," Spradling said.