Oklahoma State Legislature to Control Oklahoma Livestock Laws

The Oklahoma Senate has voted to leave all power to adopt laws regarding livestock to the state senate instead of allowing individual cities to make laws. The legislation passed unanimously on Monday. There were many concerns that it could cause health problems in cities and rural areas.
The Oklahoma Farm Bureau played a big part in the decision and asked Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus, to sponsor the legislation. According to Schulz the bill will overturn any current local ordinances and prevent any laws from being enacted from here out.
Cynthia Armstrong, director of Oklahoma’s Humane Society of the United States, was against the legislation.
“This legislation is not about representing your constituents’ interests, but rather about keeping the decision-making authority for every issue related to the raising of livestock in the hands of special interest groups who do not represent the majority of public opinion,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said the proposal by Schulz would bar citizen effort to halt “the cruel confinement of animals raised on factory farms” and could potentially thwart efforts by health advocates to “address food safety concerns such as the overuse of antibiotics fed to animals on factory farms.”
Livestock is defined in state law as such things as cattle, horses, sheep, swine, domesticated rabbits, chickens, turkeys, domesticated fowl and “any animal or bird in captivity.”
Schulz said it would stop laws that interfere with livestock operations when cities annex large areas.
Armstrong pointed out this legislation is an attempt to “pre-empt what happened in California.” Meaning the Proposition No. 4 California voters adopted last November. This required that farmers allowed egg-laying hens enough room in their cages to move freely.
Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, D-Ardmore is a rancher and does not think the Legislature would want to keep cities from regulating how many cattle can be on one lot. He felt it was putting communities in a hard position “who are trying to deal with the health of their communities, and that’s not good.”