Connecticut Seal

General Assembly

 

Raised Bill No. 5416

February Session, 2014

 

LCO No. 1479

 

*01479_______ENV*

Referred to Committee on ENVIRONMENT

 

Introduced by:

 

(ENV)

 

AN ACT ESTABLISHING A LIVESTOCK CARE STANDARDS ADVISORY COUNCIL AND PROHIBITING THE USE OF CERTAIN ENCLOSURES FOR GESTATING SOWS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2014) (a) There is established a Livestock Care Standards Advisory Council that shall consist of the following members: (1) The Commissioner of Agriculture, (2) the state veterinarian, (3) four appointed by the Governor, as follows: (A) One who shall have knowledge of food safety and food safety regulation in the state, (B) one who shall be from a state-wide organization that represents the beef industry, (C) one who shall be licensed in the state as a livestock or poultry veterinarian, and (D) one who shall represent the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at The University of Connecticut, (4) two appointed by the president pro tempore of the Senate, as follows: (A) One who shall be a representative of the state slaughter industry, and (B) one who shall be a representative of a state livestock dealer, a hauler or the auction industry, (5) two appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, as follows: (A) One who shall be a producer of species other than bovidae, and (B) one who shall be an operator of a medium or large farm licensed by the Department of Agriculture, (6) one appointed by the majority leader of the Senate who shall be a professional in the care and management of equines and equine facilities, (7) one appointed by the minority leader of the Senate who shall be the operator of a small dairy farm in this state, (8) one appointed by the majority leader of the House of Representatives who shall be a representative of a Connecticut-based humane society or organization, and (9) one appointed by the minority leader of the House of Representatives who shall be experienced in investigating charges of animal cruelty involving livestock, provided such person has not received any compensation from any national humane society or organization for such investigatory work. Each appointed member shall serve for a term of three years from the date of his or her appointment. No appointed member shall serve for more than two terms. No member shall receive compensation for his or her service on the advisory council.

(b) The Commissioner of Agriculture shall serve as the chairperson of the advisory council. The advisory council shall meet at such times as the chairperson determines is necessary, provided the advisory council meets not less than once per calendar year and the first meeting of the advisory council occurs not later than ninety days after the effective date of this section. A quorum shall be required for the advisory council to conduct business. Eight members of the advisory council shall constitute a quorum. The advisory council shall be located in the Department of Agriculture for administrative purposes only.

(c) The advisory council shall have the following duties: (1) Conduct a review and evaluation of state laws applicable to the care and handling of livestock, and (2) submit policy recommendations, including, but not limited to, legislative recommendations, to the Commissioner of Agriculture concerning the care and handling of livestock. In performing such review and evaluation, the advisory council shall consider the following: (A) The overall health and welfare of livestock species, (B) agricultural best management practices, (C) biosecurity and disease prevention, (D) animal morbidity and mortality data, (E) food safety practices, (F) the protection of local and affordable food supplies for state residents, and (G) humane transport and slaughter practices. Concomitant with the submission of any recommendation to the Commissioner of Agriculture, the advisory council shall submit, pursuant to section 11-4a of the general statutes, such recommendation to the joint committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to agriculture. The advisory council may engage in outreach and education activities related to state laws concerning the care and handling of livestock.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2014) (a) For the purposes of this section:

(1) "Enclosure" means any cage, crate or other structure used for gestating sows;

(2) "Farm" means the land, buildings, support facilities and other equipment that are wholly or partially used for the commercial production of animals or animal products used for food or fiber. "Farm" does not include live animal markets;

(3) "Farm owner or operator" means any person who owns or controls the operation of a farm. "Farm owner or operator" does not include any nonmanagement employee, contractor or consultant;

(4) "Fully extending" means to be able to fully extend all limbs without touching the side of any enclosure;

(5) "Gestating sow" means a pregnant pig of the porcine species kept for the primary purpose of breeding; and

(6) "Turning around freely" means to be able to turn in a complete circle without any impediment, including a tether, and without touching the side of any enclosure.

(b) No farm owner or operator shall knowingly tether or confine any gestating sow in any enclosure in a manner that prevents such gestating sow from turning around freely, lying down, standing up or fully extending such gestating sow's limbs.

(c) The provisions of subsection (b) of this section shall not apply during any: (1) Medical research, (2) examination, testing, treatment or operation for veterinary purposes, provided such examination, testing, treatment or operation is performed by or under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian, (3) transporting of such gestational sow, (4) state or county fair exhibition, 4-H program or similar exhibition, (5) temporary confinement of not more than six hours during any twenty-four-hour period for animal husbandry purposes, (6) humane slaughter in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, or (7) seven-day period prior to such gestating sow's expected date to give birth.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit any other provision of the general statutes that may be construed to protect the welfare of any gestating sow.

(e) It shall not be an affirmative defense to an alleged violation of this section that such farm owner or operator kept such gestating sow as part of an agricultural operation and in accordance with customary animal husbandry or farming practices.

(f) Any farm owner or operator who violates the provisions of this section shall be fined not more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

(g) The provisions of this section shall not be enforced by the Commissioner of Agriculture until the commissioner determines, in writing, that enclosures that do not meet the requirements of subsection (b) of this section are used in this state.

This act shall take effect as follows and shall amend the following sections:

Section 1

October 1, 2014

New section

Sec. 2

October 1, 2014

New section

Statement of Purpose:

To establish a Livestock Care Standards Advisory Council to provide policy recommendations to the Commissioner of Agriculture on the care and handling of livestock and to prohibit the use of certain enclosures for gestating sows.

[Proposed deletions are enclosed in brackets. Proposed additions are indicated by underline, except that when the entire text of a bill or resolution or a section of a bill or resolution is new, it is not underlined.]