Public Workshop for Proposed Animal Care Standards
Livestock Workshop Agenda
February 27, 2012, 3:30 – 5 PM
Scope of Workshop:
The purpose of the workshop is to discuss specific animal care standards for all livestock, including cattle, swine, small ruminants, elk, reindeer, llamas, zoo animals, etc. Poultry are not included in this meeting.
Agenda (allotted times are approximate):
1. Introductions, ground rules, and scope of workshop. (5 min)
2. Open Items from previous meetings:
A. In Alaska statute 11.61.140 (Cruelty to animals. A person commits cruelty to animals if the person 1) knowingly inflicts severe and prolonged physical pain or suffering on an animal; ….), is the word “person” an individual or can it be an entity?
How do the statutes apply to wildlife, what excludes wildlife? Informational (5 min): State Attorney General informal opinion is below:
In short, “person” means a natural person and, when appropriate, an organization, government, or governmental instrumentality. An “organization is defined as a legal entity, including a corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, joint stock company, foundation, institution, government, society, union, club, church, or any other group of persons organized for any purpose.
DEC Comment: The proposed regulations are not intended to apply to free ranging wildlife, only domestic animals and captive wildlife. We will ensure that their application is clear under statute. (OPEN)
B. What constitutes “reasonable medical care” (as required by statute)? State Attorney General informal opinion is below:
There is no statutory or regulatory definition relating to animals in Alaska. Again it is suggested that checking other state provisions or model statutes and regulations would help define this. This is a judgment call. What would a reasonable person be expected to do to keep the animal healthy?
For informational purposes, reasonable care as a test of liability for negligence is the degree of care that a prudent and competent person engaged in the same line of business or endeavor would exercise under similar conditions. In these circumstances, a “reasonableness” standard could be defined as using the degree of care, skill, and diligence which is used by ordinarily careful animal caretakers in the same or similar circumstances in his or similar community. Or more simply stated a “standard of conduct that a reasonable person would follow in the same situation.”
DEC Comment: The first draft of the regulations makes no attempt to further define “reasonable medical care”. “Reasonable medical care” is written in statute. We do have the authority to further define the term in regulation; however, in review of other states’ regulations we have not seen more specific language that we feel might be useful. Examples of other states’ rules include:
I. “cannot fail to provide licensed veterinary or other appropriate medical care in cases of obvious, serious illness or injury.”
II. “cannot fail to provide necessary medical attention and the animal suffers unnecessary or unjustifiable physical pain as a result.”
III. “Must ensure that necessary and standard veterinary care is provided in a timely matter.”
Questions/Comments (10 Min)
C. Some animals may not be in top condition all year. For instance, a breeding bull (especially notable in bison, elk and reindeer) may lose a significant amount of weight during fall breeding season, and then afterward it stays thin during the winter. This is physiologically normal for him and may not be something within the control of the producer.
DEC Comment: The draft already has language to allow for such situations in the general standards. It would seem awkward and potentially too restrictive to get very specific for any particular species of diversified livestock, due to individual animal and environmental variations; however, specific suggestions for improvement of the language will be considered. Comments (5 min)
D. Skip a Day Feeding of Pigs: The first draft requires daily feeding. One producer pointed out that some people practice skip day feeding of mature pigs as a weight management tool.
The Clemson University Extension Service guidance for swine feeding states:
· Limit Feeding Gilts and Sows – Limit feeding to 4 to 6 pounds per day in the breeding herd is a MUST for maximum reproductive efficiency. Start replacement gilts on a limited feeding program at 180 to 200 pounds. Gestation rations normally work well for this purpose.
· Feeding Bulky or Fibrous Feeds – A form of limit feeding may be used to lower the energy content of the ration. Bulky rations will usually not reduce the feed cost and, in many cases, they will cost more since the cost per pound is about the same and the sow will eat more of the bulky ration. Overfeeding as well as underfeeding the brood sow will reduce litter size, reduce sow performance, and decrease profits.
· Skip-Day or Interval Feeding – Skip-day or interval feeding of brood sows and gilts is another method of limit feeding. The breeding herd is allowed access to self-feeders for 2 to 12 hours every second or third day. Under a third day feeding system, the gilts will eat approximately 12 pounds of feed, or 4 pounds for each day, and the sows around 15 pounds, or 5 pounds for each day. The amount of feed can be controlled by the length of time the gilts or sows are left on the self-feeders. Research shows that reproductive performance is essentially the same with either skip-day feeding or daily feeding a limited amount by hand. However, there is greater stress on fences and equipment with the skip-day method.
The recommended code of practice for pigs by the Canadian Food and Agriculture committee states that skip a day feeding of grains should be supplemented by roughage on alternate days.
Very little information is available on “skip a day” feeding. It may be that the practice is decreasing. The American Veterinary Medical Association has no policy statement or information on it. Some animal welfare organizations have statements against the practice. Some market organizations do not allow it. They do not say why they oppose it. Presumably, opposition to the practice must be based on people feeling that the pigs should not feel whatever level of hunger they may feel during that off day without food. This seems to be a minor issue because no other state rules have been found that expressly forbid the practice. Some producers in Alaska may be using this management practice.
Comments (5 Min)
E. Rest stops while in transit: The draft has a requirement of 28 consecutive hours for feeding/watering/offloading of cattle. Participants pointed out that it can be difficult to find a spot to stop and offload in Canada; therefore, this time frame should be lengthened.
DEC Comment: The 28 hour rule is consistent with U.S. Federal standards and other states. This issue has been raised in other workshops also. Of course it would be difficult to even drive for 28 hours straight in Alaska. We will research how such a rule would need to be viewed by the legal system, and whether the clock would start ticking when a person crossed the border into Alaska or might include time spent on Canadian roadways. Canada has its own rules for transportation and does have designated rest stops for livestock haulers. Alaska does not, and although it could be easy enough to pull off a road and let a horse out to move around, the same cannot be said for swine or cattle.
Awaiting opinion from State Attorney General Office.
F. Allowance for snow as animal’s water intake. Informational (10 min)
Previous discussions centered on the fact that water availability can vary and that many animals (particularly open range livestock) can do fine with only access to snow. The topic was also explored in the horse meeting. As drafted, the regulation says:
· “all animals must have daily access to water in sufficient quantity and quality to satisfy the animal’s physiologic needs as evidenced by the animal’s hydration status”
This verbiage does not disallow use of snow. No other states’ rules specifically address this issue. All just use the term “water”. Of course, snow becomes water once it gets ingested.
The Department of Law (DOL) does not feel that it is necessary to further define water in the actual body of the regulation. The DEC can provide an explanation of the intent in our formal response to public comment when the regulations are adopted. This would serve as a further interpretation that the court system would look to on the issue. (OPEN)
Comments/Questions (5 min)
3. Open Forum (30 minutes)
4. Closing questions and remarks by DEC. (15 min)
· Stay on topic.
· The moderator will select participants to have the floor to speak. Please do not interrupt a person speaking.
· State your comments as concisely as possible. There is a time limit of 3 minutes per speaker, although the moderator may allow longer comments when deemed necessary. After you have spoken, DEC representatives may ask questions that can be answered immediately or may request further information be sent to them later.
· Be respectful of other participants’ opinions. It is permissible to voice support for something that another speaker has said; however, in general, the moderator will ask that people giving public comment try not to repeat what may have already been stated by other participants, particularly when stating reasoning behind a position on an issue.
· Silence cell phones. Take all phone conversations outside.
Workshop Location/Call Information:
All interested Alaska residents are invited to attend workshops by telephone at 1-800-315-6338 (use pass code 8213 when prompted) or in person at the State Environmental Health Laboratory at 5251 Dr. MLK, Jr. Ave, Anchorage, AK, 99507. If you are unable to attend meetings, feel free to submit your comments to us in writing via mail or email firstname.lastname@example.org.