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State Board of Agriculture
Humane Treatment of Animals

Proposed Rule Amendment: N.J.A.C. 2:8-1.2, 2.2, 2.6, 5.5, 7.2, 7.6, 8.1 and 8.6

Authorized By: State Board of Agriculture and Charles M. Kuperus, Secretary

Authority: N.J.S.A. 4:22-16.1

Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.

Proposal Number: PRN 2004-222

Submit comments by August 6, 2004 to:


Dr. Nancy E. Halpern, Director, Division of Animal Health
New Jersey Department of Agriculture
PO Box 330
Trenton, NJ 08625-0330

The agency rule amendment proposal follows:


Summary


Protecting the health and well-being of New Jersey’s livestock is a concern to all compassionate individuals who want to ensure farm animals are humanely treated. This includes livestock farmers whose livelihood depends on raising healthy animals and who, therefore, have an added financial incentive to properly care for their animals. It also includes consumers who have the additional expectation that the New Jersey-grown animal products they feed to their families will be high quality. To meet the legislative mandate to create such standards, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has adopted N.J.A.C. 2:8 (proposed 35 N.J.R. 1873(a), adopted elsewhere in this issue of the New Jersey Register), which establishes a minimum level of care that can be considered humane. The Department received more than 6,500 comments regarding these rules. As a result of those comments, the Department has determined that the following amendments are necessary to clarify several aspects of the rules.

Specifically, the following definitions in N.J.A.C. 2:8-1.2(a) are proposed for amendment:
“Hyperthermia” is being amended to “an above average temperature of the body.”
“Minor violations” is being amended to include “actions that occur due to neglect and unintentional acts of substandard practices which do not place the animal’s life in imminent peril or do not cause protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a limb or bodily organ.

"Severe violations" is being amended to include “any intentionally cruel or inhumane acts as well as actions due to neglect or substandard practices which place an animal’s life in imminent peril or which cause protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a limb or bodily organ. Nothing in this definition shall limit accepted veterinary practices or routine husbandry practices when performed in accordance with these rules.”

As originally written, all of these definitions were overly restrictive and, therefore, are proposed for amendment to more properly address the holistic well-being of the animal.

"Routine husbandry practices" is being amended to recognize those “techniques commonly taught by veterinary schools, land grant colleges, and agricultural extension agents for the benefit of animals, the livestock industry, animal handlers and the public health and which are employed to raise, keep, care, treat, market and transport livestock, including, but not limited to, techniques involved with physical restraint; animal handling; animal identification; animal training; manure management; restricted feeding; restricted watering; restricted exercising; animal housing techniques; reproductive techniques; implantation; vaccination; and use of fencing materials, as long as all other State and Federal laws governing these practices are followed.” This definition is proposed for amendment to more accurately reflect the Department’s intent with respect to these practices.

The following additional amendments are necessary to further clarify the original intent of the rule:

N.J.A.C. 2:8-2.2(b)4iv is added to allow cattle with a BCS of 1.0 to go to slaughter, but not to a livestock market. This amendment recognizes that there may be times when, due to the stage of production or development of the animal, a BCS may fall below 2.0 and, rather than differently manage the animal, it is necessary to transport the animal for slaughter.

N.J.A.C. 2:8-2.6(a)3vi is added to prohibit the transport of non-ambulatory disabled cattle to a livestock market in order to be consistent with Federal regulations regarding the transport of non-ambulatory disabled cattle.

N.J.A.C. 2:8-5.5(g) is added to be consistent with Federal regulation 9 CFR 3.63(a), which prohibits the transport of rabbits for longer than six hours without food and water.

N.J.A.C. 2:8-7.2(c)1i is added to allow swine with a BCS of 1.0 to go to slaughter, but not to a livestock market. This amendment recognizes that there may be times when, due to the stage of production or development of the animal, a BCS may fall below 2.0 and, rather than differently manage the animal, it is necessary to transport the animal for slaughter.

N.J.A.C. 2:8-7.6(a)3vi is added to prohibit transport of non-ambulatory swine to a livestock market to be consistent with regulations regarding the transport of other classes of non-ambulatory disabled livestock.

N.J.A.C. 2:8-8.1(c)3i is added to clarify that for anyone who is investigating or enforcing these standards and arrives at the location where the animals are kept with clean, new equipment, that equipment may not need to be disinfected upon arrival.

N.J.A.C. 2:8-8.6(b)1i is amended to clarify that nothing in this section limits the assertion of the informer’s privilege as found in the New Jersey Rules of Evidence.

As the Department has provided a 60-day comment period on this notice of proposal, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement pursuant to N.J.A.C.1:30-3.3(a)5.

 

Social Impact

The amendments to the established standards for the humane raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing and sale of domestic livestock will provide clarification that will further benefit the health and well-being of all domestic livestock in the State. Livestock owners will benefit financially by maintaining marketability of their products, as well as from the companionship of healthy livestock. Consumers will benefit through the assurance of high-quality animal products. Healthy livestock and high-quality livestock products will maintain demand from the public for livestock and their products, thereby helping to maintain the viability of the livestock industry in New Jersey.

Regulatory authorities charged with the enforcement of animal cruelty rules will find that the amendments to these rules provide clarification to help them do their job effectively and assist in the training of new inspectors. Application of these standards uniformly across the State will standardize the criteria under which animal cruelty cases are judged. Certified Livestock Inspectors, Animal Control Officers, officers or agents of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA), Extension Specialists and educators will be better able to educate the interested public and livestock owners on how to comply with these standards.

These proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 2:8 clarify the minimum humane standards for the breeding, raising, keeping, care, treatment and marketing of livestock. Anyone applying conditions below these standards can be considered to be cruel to domestic livestock and is subject to the penalties specified in these rules.

These proposed amendments will have a positive social impact by further strengthening the humane standards established by the Department.

Economic Impact

Properly managed New Jersey livestock operations already meet or exceed these rules’ minimum standards for the humane raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing and sale of livestock.

These proposed amendments will clarify the rules and further reduce the expense and time involved in litigation in a municipal or State court since parties will be able to better interpret these standards in their legal proceedings.

The proposed amendments to these rules will not change compliance requirements, but rather clarify those requirements. Commercial farms and small farms that are not in compliance with these standards may be economically impacted if they need to improve their management practices (for example, purchasing quality feed, removing hazards from areas where livestock are held or providing necessary shelter). Costs incurred to meet these standards are necessary for maintaining the well-being of livestock in New Jersey and maintaining the livestock industry’s reputation for quality animals. However, after improvements are instituted and the standards are met, the owners of these properties will actually see an economic benefit from improved quality and production of their livestock.

No new costs will be incurred in the absence of a violation of these rules or their amendments.

Federal Standards Statement

There are no Federal standards that encompass all aspects of humane raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing and sale of domestic livestock. There are, however, a number of Federal standards that are applicable to individual components. The proposed amendments do not exceed any applicable Federal standards and, therefore, a Federal standards analysis is not required. The following Federal standards or requirements are applicable to these amendments:

69 F.R. 1862, January 12, 2004 proposes standards that must be met for the disposition of non-ambulatory disabled cattle.

9 C.F.R. Section 301.2 defines non-ambulatory disabled livestock and other animals unable to move.

9 CFR, Volume 1, Part 3.63(a), sets forth the transportation standards for rabbits.

Jobs Impact

Adoption of these proposed amendments on humane treatment of domestic livestock will not result in the generation or loss of jobs in the State.

Agriculture Industry Impact

The adoption of these proposed amendments will have a positive impact on the New Jersey livestock industry by clarifying uniform standards for the care of livestock, improving the quality of livestock products, and preventing animals that are neglected from becoming sources of infectious disease for humans and for livestock in surrounding livestock facilities, shows, and fairs. The proposed amendments will provide livestock owners with more clearly defined standards for the humane raising, keeping, care, treatment, marketing and sale of livestock. This will better enable them to evaluate their own practices and use the rules as a reference to educate an ever-increasing population of non-agricultural neighbors.

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

The Regulatory Flexibility Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq, requires the Department to provide a description of the types and an estimate of the number of small businesses which will be affected by the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments are applicable not only to small farming operations that produce livestock, but also to commercial domestic livestock producers and individuals who raise, keep, care for, treat, market and sell livestock for agricultural and/or recreational purposes.

As these amendments are proposed to clarify the baseline for humane treatment of domestic livestock, there is no differing standard for an individual or for small or large business; however, the number and type of livestock owned may affect the cost associated with compliance. Additional costs associated with compliance, if any, will be minimal for responsible operators, whose existing practices will most likely meet or exceed these standards as set forth in the Summary and Economic Impact statements above. In absence of a violation, livestock owners or operators will not incur any additional costs.

These amendments will not require any additional costs associated with reporting or record-keeping, nor will they require costs for employment of professional services or any capital expenditures.

Smart Growth Impact


The proposed amendments are consistent with the Department’s Smart Growth Plan and will contribute toward the achievement of New Jersey’s smart growth goals by helping to retain livestock farms in New Jersey through the protection of the State’s livestock and maintenance of the livestock industry’s reputation for high quality animals and animal products. Therefore, the Department anticipates that there will be a positive impact on the State’s Development and Redevelopment Plan.

Full text of the proposed amendments follows (additions indicated in boldface thus: deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):

2:8-1.2 Definitions

(a) The following words and terms, as used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings. Words of art undefined in the following paragraphs shall have the meaning attributed to them by trade usage or general usage as reflected by definition in a standard dictionary, such as Webster's.


"Hyperthermia" means [an exceptionally high fever] an above normal temperature of the body.


"Minor violations" [include actions that do not place an animal's life in imminent peril and occur due to neglect, unintentional acts of cruelty or substandard practices]
include actions that occur due to neglect and unintentional acts of substandard practices which do not place the animal’s life in imminent peril or do not cause protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a limb or bodily organ.


"Routine husbandry practices" means those techniques [employed and accepted as necessary or beneficial to raise, keep, care, treat, market and transport livestock, including, but not limited to, techniques involved with physical restraint; animal handling; animal identification; animal training; manure management; restricted feeding; restricted watering; restricted exercising; animal housing techniques; reproductive techniques; implantation; vaccination; and use of fencing materials, as long as all other State and Federal laws governing these practices are followed. It is acceptable to perform these practices with physical restraint only] commonly taught by veterinary schools, land grant colleges, and agricultural extension agents for the benefit of animals, the livestock industry, animal handlers and the public health and which are employed to raise, keep, care, treat, market and transport livestock, including, but not limited to, techniques involved with physical restraint; animal handling; animal identification; animal training; manure management; restricted feeding; restricted watering; restricted exercising; animal housing techniques; reproductive techniques; implantation; vaccination; and use of fencing materials, as long as all other State and Federal laws governing these practices are followed.

"Severe violations" include [actions that place an animal's life in imminent peril due to neglect or substandard practices or any intentional cruel or inhumane acts.] any intentionally cruel or inhumane acts as well as actions due to neglect or substandard practices which place an animal’s life in imminent peril or which cause protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a limb or bodily organ. Nothing in this definition shall limit accepted veterinary practices or routine husbandry practices when performed in accordance with these rules.

(b) (No change.)

SUBCHAPTER 2. STANDARDS FOR CATTLE

2:8-2.2 Feeding

(a) (No change.)
(b) Each animal must have daily access to sufficient and nutritious feed to allow for growth and maintenance of an adequate body condition, as determined according to the criteria set forth in (b)1 and 2 below.
1. - 3. (No change)
4. Where the BCS methods identified in (b)2 above are used, each animal shall maintain the minimum BCS score in (b)4 i through [iii ] iv below. For purposes of (b)4 i through iii below, a "reasonable period of time" refers to the amount of time it would be expected to take to restore an animal to an acceptable body condition, using diligent efforts to do so.
i.– iii (No change)
iv. A score of 1.0 is permitted at slaughter.

5. –6 (No change.)

2:8-2.6 Care and treatment

(a) Sick or injured cattle shall be promptly treated or humanely euthanized.
1-2 (No change)

3. Non-ambulatory disabled cattle and other animals unable to move, as defined in 9 C.F.R. §301.2:
i.– iii. (No change.)
iv. Shall be provided with appropriate medical care if they can reasonably be expected to survive and the owner chooses to attempt treatment; [and]
v. Shall be handled humanely at all times even if they are to be slaughtered or euthanized, so as not to cause unnecessary pain and injury, and disposed of properly[.] ; and
vi. Shall not be transported to a livestock market.

4. (No change.)

(b) –(f) (No change)

SUBCHAPTER 5. STANDARDS FOR RABBITS

2:8-5.5 Marketing and sale
(a) – (f) (No change)
(g) Rabbits shall not be transported for more than six hours without food and water.

SUBCHAPTER 7. STANDARDS FOR SWINE

2:8-7.2 Feeding

(a)-(b) (No change)

(c) Swine must have a BCS of at least level 2.0 using BCS-swine, provided, however, that a score lower than a 2.0 may be permitted for a reasonable period of time, if stage or level of production, physiologic conditions, or other factors results in such an appearance, during which time the animals management is being altered to improve the condition.
1. For purposes of (c) above, a "reasonable period of time" refers to the amount of time it would be expected to take to restore an animal to an acceptable body condition, using diligent efforts to do so.
i. A score of 1.0 is permitted at slaughter.

(d) (No change)

2:8-7.6 Care and treatment

(a) Sick or injured swine must be promptly treated or humanely euthanized.
1-2 (No change)

3. Non-ambulatory disabled swine and other animals unable to move, as defined in 9 C.F.R. §313.1(c) and §313.2(d):
i.-iii. (No change)
iv. Shall be provided with appropriate medical care if they can reasonably be expected to survive and the owner chooses to attempt treatment; [and]
v. Shall be handled humanely at all times even if they are to be slaughtered or euthanized, so as not to cause unnecessary pain and injury, and disposed of properly[.] ; and
vi. Shall not be transported to a livestock market.

4. (No change)

(b) – (d) (No change)

SUBCHAPTER 8. THE INVESTIGATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF HUMANE STANDARDS
2:8-8.1 General

(a) – (b) (No change)

(c) Infectious agents or toxins may be spread to new hosts by contact with humans, vectors, fomites and other animals. Clothing, footwear, feed, bedding, and equipment, including automobile tires, can harbor disease-causing organisms. Therefore, all inspections must be performed according to biosecurity protocols to prevent the spread of infectious or contagious agents on or from the premises.
1.-2. (No change)

3. Equipment: All equipment shall be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected upon arrival and prior to leaving a site.

i. New equipment, if clean, may not need to be disinfected upon arrival.


4. – 6 (No change)

(d) – (e) (No change)

2:8-8.6 Records of the complaint and inspection required and disposition thereof

(a) (No change)

(b) The investigating authority shall include in the records of the inspection forwarded within seven days to the State Veterinarian the following information:
1. Current contact information of the complainant, if available (for example, name, address, phone number, fax, email address);
i. Nothing in this section limits the assertion of the informer’s privilege as found in the New Jersey Rules of Evidence.
2.-10 (No change)



Charles M. Kuperus, Secretary
New Jersey Department of Agriculture
June 2, 2004

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