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Animal Welfare Groups Nix Ballot Issue

Animal welfare groups led by the Humane Society of the United States have agreed to abandon a fall ballot issue against animal cruelty as part of a deal with Ohio farm groups

The agreement would allow farmers to phase out some controversial livestock practices over time. It would also mandate the elimination of cock-fighting, crackdown on puppy mills and make it harder for Ohioans to import exotic animals. Wayne Pacelli of the United States Humane Society calls this agreement historic.

"I can't think of a bigger legislative package in any state in the country in one fell swoop." Says Pacelli.

Governor Strickland has been a backer of efforts by agriculture groups to stave off reforms from humane organizations. He says he's also happy with this agreement.

"What we have concluded is something that is good for Ohio agriculture and will be good for animal welfare in our state." Says Strickland.

Pacelli says his group had enough signatures to put the issue before voters this fall. And he says if the state and ag leaders don't hold up to their end of the bargain and accomplish the goals by the end of this year those signatures could still be submitted to put the issue before voters.

Jo Ingles Ohio Public Radio