WHEREAS, depending on the extent and potential for economic and environmental damage and loss, public programs to monitor, control or even eradicate such forest pests and diseases have been established to deal with them; and
WHEREAS, a domestic forest pest, the southern pine beetle, has migrated into New Jersey from southern states, and an initial outbreak was found in Cape May in 2001, where it has since been monitored; and
WHEREAS, sporadic control efforts have been made by the New Jersey Forest Service as the beetle progressed northward; and
WHEREAS, unless some action is promptly taken to stem this northern movement, there is the potential for the loss of tens of thousands of acres of pine forest, resulting in major economic and environmental devastation.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we the delegates to the 96th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey on February 8-9, 2011, call on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, and the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, to promptly develop and execute a plan and program to stop the northern movement of the southern pine beetle.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that further action be taken by this group, in conjunction with other public and private forestland owners, to develop a longer- range program to control this potentially devastating forest pest.
WHEREAS, the Department, working with industry representatives, New Jersey Farm Bureau, veterinarians, Rutgers University, and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, wrote and adopted N.J.A.C. 2:8, which became the first regulations of their kind in the country to address the humane care and keeping of domestic livestock; and
WHEREAS, the Department has re-introduced the regulation with amendments, as prescribed by the New Jersey Supreme Court on July 30, 2008, following a challenge by the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, among others, in which the Standards were largely upheld, but during which the Court rejected the Department’s deference to veterinary and land grant colleges and agricultural extension agents for the identification of humane husbandry practices; and
WHEREAS, concerns from stakeholders about the inconsistent application of animal cruelty statutes to the owners of livestock and poultry in New Jersey have not changed since the adoption of the statute, despite the development of rules to guide the investigation of complaints -- namely that state and county SPCAs enforce animal cruelty statutes based on factors other than science-based regulations.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 96th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, on February 8-9, 2011, urge that New Jersey’s agricultural community, represented by the New Jersey Farm Bureau, Rutgers University, the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture and Department of Agriculture reconvene to evaluate the implementation of N.J.A.C. 2:8, Humane Treatment of Domestic Livestock.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage the Legislature to adequately fund the operations required for implementation and defense of N.J.A.C. 2:8, Humane Treatment of Domestic Livestock.
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.
Humane Treatment of Livestock
In 1995, the New Jersey State Legislature mandated that the New Jersey Department of Agriculture develop and adopt regulations governing the minimum standards of humane raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing and sale of domestic livestock and poultry. 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.
On February 16, 2007, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division (Docket No. A-6319-03T1) upheld standards developed by the Department. That decision was largely upheld by the New Jersey Supreme Court on July 30, 2008 following a challenge by the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, et. al. However, the Court rejected the Department’s deference to veterinary and land grant colleges and agricultural extension agents for the identification of humane husbandry practices.
Additionally, the Court found the Department failed to define “knowledgeable individual” and “minimize pain.” The modifications mandated by the Court resulted in a successful request to the Governor for an extension for rule readoption, which was originally scheduled to sunset in June 2009. The 18-month extension allowed time to evaluate new guidance documents prepared by scientists, states, countries and the OIE [world health organization for animal health] for possible inclusion in the proposed amended rule.
The Department reintroduced the regulation for adoption with amendments in December 2010.
A review of the rule’s impact is recommended to determine how state and county SPCA agents, Animal Control Officers/Investigators and other law enforcement officials implement the standards and whether reports are submitted to the NJDA as required. Where gaps in enforcement are identified, solutions will be formulated to remedy the shortfall.
The Department has never been funded by the state for any of its efforts or resources utilized for rule preparation and administration. The Division will be unable to provide assistance and investigations in the near future if funding to the Division and Department remains insufficient to fund all state employees.