(AP) Ohio’s rules for euthanizing sick livestock and civil penalties for violators cleared a key legislative committee on Wednesday.

Action by the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review addressed some of the issues from an agreement reached in June between Ohio agriculture businesses, the Humane Society of the United States and Gov. Ted Strickland. The governor brokered the agreement in which HSUS agreed to abandon a fall ballot issue against animal cruelty in exchange for livestock care standards.

Voters created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board last year and it has been working for months to develop standards governing the care and well-being of farm animals and penalties for violating those standards.

"The board wanted to make sure the standards are clear and practical for Ohio farmers and also comprehensive," said Megumi Robinson, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for enforcing the new standards.

Approved penalties for the euthanasia rules cleared Wednesday and other care standards still being developed range from $500 for minor offenses to $10,000 for repeat major ones. Some of the care standards still being developed deal with areas like housing and overall livestock management.

Karen Minton, state director for HSUS, said the animal welfare group is "comfortable" with the rules outlining acceptable ways of putting sick animals to death.

HSUS had wanted strangulation ruled out as a method of euthanasia, and it is omitted from the acceptable methods.

Minton said there are some concerns over the civil penalties.

"We don't believe some of them are as clear as they should be," she said. "But we are optimistic about the board's progress so far."


2010 The Associated Press