A bipartisan package of bills has been introduced into the Michigan legislature regarding the care of meat and dairy animals and egg-laying hens on Michigan farms. The move is designed to set a “gold standard” of farm animal care and respond to consumer interest about food origins and safety.
“With the recent problems with food preparation in other areas of the country, Michigan consumers deserve to know that what's on their plate is of only the best quality,” says Mike Simpson, chair of the House Agriculture Committee.
The plan will:
- Establish that the Department of Agriculture and the Agriculture Commission is the sole authority in the regulation of livestock health and welfare.
- Implement science-based standards for animal care that farmers must implement by 2020.
- Create an Animal Care Advisory Council that will make recommendations for changes to existing standards.
- Create a third-party auditing system to oversee the program.
The legislation was developed with industry input and is supported by the Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, Michigan Cattlemen’s Association, Michigan Equine Partnership, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Michigan Pork Producers Association, Michigan Sheep Breeders Association, as well as Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan Agri-business Association, GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Michigan Corn Growers Association, Michigan Soybean association, the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association and Dairy Farmers of America.
“Michigan’s agriculture industry wants consumers to feel good about where their foods comes from and feel confident that it’s safe, and we believe this bipartisan legislation does just that with its modifiable system for assuring that Michigan’s livestock farmers are caring for their animals in the right way to ensure proper animal health and well-being and food safety,” the groups said in a joint statement.