Animal Control Officers Receive Training on New Agricultural Laws

RICHMOND—Virginia animal control officers are receiving training on agriculture animal care standards that were approved by the 2011 General Assembly.

“We want them to know how to enforce the new animal care standards law,” said Dr. Daniel Kovich, program manager for the Office of Animal Care and Health Policy within the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Since the legislation passed in April, Kovich has been meeting with animal control officers so they are aware of the new law, know how to apply it, and understand how to educate the public about animal welfare.

“The average person gets conflicting messages about animal welfare,” Kovich said. “How do animal control officers manage this public confusion? These people expect the animal control officers to share their viewpoint and do something about it [alleged animal abuse].”

The new legislation sets a reasonable standard for agricultural animal care based on accepted animal husbandry practices.

“Our farmers take care of their animals and use management practices that are appropriate for each animal,” said Lindsay Reames, assistant director of governmental relations for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “They know what needs to be done to take care of their farm animals and this law codifies basic care standards.”

The law mandates that farmers give their animals proper feed, water and veterinary care. It is intended to catch bad actors who fail to provide for the basic needs of their livestock.

Prior to the new legislation, only companion animal care standards existed. “This is a tool for earlier intervention in cases of animal neglect so it doesn’t get to the point of animal cruelty,” Kovich said.

Animal care is a topic that was identified recently by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance as one that consumers want more information about. The USFRA was formed by a wide range of farmer-led organizations and agricultural partners to lead a dialogue in answering Americans’ questions about how farmers raise their food.

Farmers believe they take good care of their animals but some consumers question those practices.

“Farmers use accepted, science-based care for their animals to keep them safe, healthy and productive,” Reames said. “It’s hard for the average person who’s never been on a farm to understand how farmers care for their animals. But their practices are for the good of the animal.”

Via – Virginia Farm Bureau


  1. What self-serving nonsense.

    The Farm Bureau is like other lobbyists that want complete freedom for their patrons, here to do whatever they please to food animals, horses and dairy livestock. Their avowed intention is pushback against those who want a safe food supply – look at their website or contact me for details if you’re too lazy. They acted to restrict Humane Investigators in Virginia, act to keep Animal Control budgets and investigative independence a farce, and do so with a style to make Uriah Heep proud, butter being in no danger of melting in their mouths.

    And spare me the comment that the State Vet should know best. The State Vet is like the SEC with Madoff, a handmaiden. Closed meetings on these bills. Bills written so sloppy it took nearly the whole session to unscrew it up. The same State Vet that told us back when we fought to eliminate gas chambers that the one in Dickinson County was compliant when they had none at all, and then they fought us on eliminating gas chambers for pet euthanasia.

    The comprehensive animal laws (3.2-6500 et seq) applied to farm animals before the changes arising from these bills, HB1541 by the Delegate from the Farm Bureau, Bobby Orrock, and SB1026 by a Senator promised an easier re-election effort for his help, Phil Puckett. Even R. Lee Ware was in this, R. Lee bringing his own red herring bill, HB2842, that made the Puckett/Orrock effort appear the lesser of the two evils, but he quickly withdrew it to throw opponents a bone but not before the firestorm was so intense that R. Lee looked even more mendacious than usual.

    The Virginia Supreme Court announced in Sullivan v. Commonwealth that farm animals are covered by 3.2-6500, and many successful prosecutions statewide demonstrated as much lonmg before that ruling. Too many prosecutions. That was the impetus to lower the standard from adequate food, water, medical care and shelter to proper food, water and veterinary care only to prevent emaciation or starvation. Read the bill.

    And these hypocrites variously claim that farm animals are not carved out of 3.2-6570, or are carved out.

    I don’t much care if you eat food animals but dislike hypocrisy masquerading as principle. Read the bills, carefully, then ask these high-minded hypocrites about this story and the actual bill language.