WHEREAS, working with industry representatives, New Jersey Farm Bureau, veterinarians, Rutgers University, and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, the Department wrote and adopted N.J.A.C. 2:8, which became the first regulations of their kind in the country; and
WHEREAS, the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture and Department have committed themselves to ongoing review of scientific literature, veterinary school, land grant college, and agricultural extension curricula, and other pertinent scientific studies to ensure that New Jersey’s standards continue to reflect practices supported by science and informed by animal welfare concerns; and
WHEREAS, adoption of the Humane Standards Regulation has provided livestock owners with a clear understanding of their responsibilities as to the raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing and sale of their animals; and
WHEREAS, on February 16, 2007, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division (Docket No. A-6319-03T1) upheld standards developed by the Department; and
WHEREAS, on July 30, 2008, the New Jersey Supreme Court largely upheld the validity of the rule following a challenge by the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, et. al., but rejected the Department’s deference for approval of routine husbandry practices, holding that just because a practice is taught at a land grant college or veterinary school or by an extension agent, does not mean it is humane; and
WHEREAS, the New Jersey Supreme Court also rejected the definition of routine husbandry practice since it requires practices to be performed by a “knowledgeable individual” and in a way to “minimize pain,” requirements the Court held were not specific enough. Additionally, the practice of tail docking cattle as a routine husbandry practice was rejected; and
WHEREAS, the Human Standards rule sunsets in June 2009 and must be readopted within six months following that date or it will become void, and the Department anticipates more than the 6,500 comments will be received following the initial rule introduction, and
WHEREAS, the state and county Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs) continue to ignore the rule’s prescribed requirements and instead utilize individual and arbitrary standards when investigating cases involving livestock and poultry; and
WHEREAS, the failure of state and county Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs) to notify the Department upon receipt of an allegation of animal cruelty involving domestic livestock, as well as the failure to provide reports upon investigation, both required by regulation, presents unacceptable risk to the animal and human health populations of this state, as they are not qualified to identify conditions resulting from diseases, ailments or toxins that could be identified and mitigated by Certified Livestock Inspectors at the Department; and
WHEREAS, the Department nevertheless responds to complaints of citizens and animal owners about potential animal cruelty, as well as complaints from those unjustly charged with unsubstantiated allegations of cruelty; and
WHEREAS, the Department has a lack of funding to support any of the statutory or regulatory prevention and response requirements.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 94th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 11, 2009, urge that New Jersey’s agricultural community continue to embrace N.J.A.C. 2:8, Humane Treatment of Domestic Livestock, and the Legislature to provide funding to support these mandated functions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we continue to support the Department’s ongoing review of scientific literature, veterinary school, land grant college, and agricultural extension curricula, and other pertinent scientific studies to ensure that New Jersey’s standards continue to reflect practices supported by science and informed by animal welfare concerns in consultation with the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we continue to support the Department’s cooperation with the New Jersey State Attorney General to require that all law enforcement personnel authorized to respond to animal cruelty complaints comply with N.J.A.C. 2:8 and enforce those standards upheld by the Supreme Court, as well as ensuring that the notification requirements to the Department are also upheld.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recognize the increased interest and concern within the state and country about livestock handling and welfare and therefore support the expansion of services provided by the Division of Animal Health in order to maintain pace with the significant increase in requests for field investigations of alleged violations.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we support appropriate funding levels and resources to properly comply with the Legislature’s mandate that the Department continually review and update standards to ensure the humane care of livestock and poultry.