Michigan Farm Animal Welfare Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature

David Cassuto

The Michigan legislature has passed a bill that would give animals used in agriculture some breathing and living space.  Among other requirements, the bill requires that:

A FARM OWNER OR OPERATOR SHALL NOT TETHER OR CONFINE ANY COVERED ANIMAL ON A FARM FOR ALL OR THE MAJORITY OF ANY DAY, IN A MANNER THAT PREVENTS  SUCH ANIMAL  FROM DOING ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
(A) LYING DOWN, STANDING UP, OR FULLY EXTENDING ITS LIMBS.
(B) TURNING AROUND FREELY.

The bill also creates an “Animal Care Advisory Council” that is similar in many respects to the one proposed in Ohio’s Issue 2 (see Laura’s post for more on Issue 2).  It bears noting, however, that Issue 2 is a proposed constitutional amendment whereas the Michigan legislation, if enacted, would be a simple statute.  You can read a legislative analysis of the Michigan bill here.

The bill went through several iterations and one of its original sponsors withdrew, declaring that his original bill had been co-opted by radicals (see story here).  The radicals to which he refers is the HSUS who apparently used the specter of a ballot initiative to force a compromise bill that offered at least some regulatory oversight of agribusiness.

The bill on the governor’s desk is far from perfect.  Indeed, it barely makes it into the same zip code as adequate.  However, it preempted a power grab by Big Ag and that, at least, is a very good thing.

10/12 UPDATE: SIGNED INTO LAW

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