West Virginia Code
(a) The Legislature finds that the following are important to protect the health and welfare of the citizens of West Virginia:
(1) Establishing standards governing the care and well-being of livestock in this state;
(2) Maintaining food safety;
(3) Encouraging locally grown and raised food; and
(4) Protecting West Virginia farms and families.
(b) Therefore, to protect the public interest, the Legislature finds that it is necessary to create a Livestock Care Standards Board.
For the purposes of this article:
(1) “Board” means the Livestock Care Standards Board.
(2) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Agriculture.
(3) “Department” means the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.
(4) “Livestock” has the same definition as set out in §19-10B-2(d) of this code.
(a) On July 1, 2010, there is hereby created the Livestock Care Standards Board.
(b) Commencing July 1, 2021, the board consists of the following 13 members, to be appointed by the Governor, by and with the consent of the Senate:
(1) The Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture or his or her designee, ex officio non-voting, who is the chairperson of the board;
(2) The State Veterinarian, ex officio non-voting;
(3) One member who is a veterinarian licensed in this state engaging in large animal practice;
(4) The dean of the agriculture department of a college or university located in this state;
(5) One member representing a county humane society that is organized under state law;
(6) One member who is knowledgeable about food safety in this state;
(7) Two members who are law-enforcement officers: Provided, That one member shall be appointed for an initial term of two years, and the other shall be appointed for an initial term of five years;
(8) One member selected from a list of three individuals submitted from the largest statewide poultry organization;
(9) One member selected from a list of three individuals submitted by the largest statewide livestock organization; and
(10) Three members, at least two of whom are family farmers, selected from a list of 10 individuals submitted by the largest organization in the state representing farmers.
(c) After the initial appointment terms, the appointment term is five years. Appointed members may be reappointed for additional terms.
(d) All members must be residents of this state during their terms.
(e) All appointed members serve until their successor has been appointed and qualified. Vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment for the remainder of the unexpired term.
(a) The board has the following powers and duties to:
(1) Establish standards governing the care and well-being of livestock;
(2) Maintain food safety;
(3) Encourage locally grown and raised food; and
(4) Protect West Virginia farms and families.
(b) The commissioner, in consultation with the board, is authorized to establish standards by legislative rule, pursuant to the provisions of §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code, governing the care and well-being of livestock in this state, including:
(1) The agricultural best management practices for the care and well-being of livestock and poultry in this state;
(2) Procedures for addressing complaints regarding the inhumane treatment of livestock and coordinating efforts with county humane officers: Provided, That documents and communication regarding any investigation thereof, are considered confidential and are exempt from disclosure pursuant to §29B-1-1 et seq. of this code;
(3) Biosecurity, disease prevention, animal morbidity, and mortality data;
(4) Food safety practices; and
(5) The protection of local, affordable food supplies for consumers.
(c) The board shall review any rule proposed by the commissioner for legislative approval pursuant to this section. After reviewing the proposed legislative rule, the board may provide a recommendation to the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee that the Legislature:
(1) Authorize the promulgation of the legislative rule;
(2) Authorize the promulgation of part of the legislative rule;
(3) Authorize the promulgation of the legislative rule with certain amendments;
(4) Recommend that the proposed rule be withdrawn; or
(5) Reject the proposed rule.
(a) The ex officio members of the board may not receive compensation for serving on the board.
(b) The appointed members of the board shall receive compensation for each day or portion of a day engaged in the discharge of official duties, which compensation may not exceed the amount paid to members of the Legislature for their interim duties as recommended by the Citizens Legislative Compensation Commission and authorized by law.
(c) Each member of the board shall be reimbursed actual and necessary expenses incurred for each day or portion of a day engaged in the discharge of official duties in a manner consistent with the West Virginia Department of Agriculture Travel Policy and Procedure.
(a) The board shall meet at least annually, and the commissioner may call additional meetings of the board upon the written request of three members.
(b) The commissioner, on behalf of the board, may file an annual report with the Joint Committee on Government and Finance that contains information about the activities of the board and department for the prior year concerning livestock care standards; Provided; That after December 31, 2025, no reports filed on behalf the board may be filed with the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
(a) The commissioner shall administer and enforce the standards established pursuant to this article. This authority may include, but is not limited to:
(1) Coordinating with and providing assistance to law-enforcement officers;
(2) Assisting law-enforcement officers with investigations and other actions taken in response to complaints regarding the care of livestock;
(3) Working with county, municipal, and state authorities to address situations in which a livestock care complaint needs to be reassigned due to a conflict of interest;
(4) Providing training for law-enforcement officers on the livestock care standards and proper animal handling techniques; and
(5) Providing opinions to law-enforcement officers, when such opinions are requested, regarding the application of livestock care standards promulgated pursuant to this article.
(b) State, county, and local law-enforcement officers shall notify the commissioner of all complaints and investigations concerning care of livestock, and may seek the advice and opinion of the commissioner regarding application of the livestock care standards in those cases.
(c) No later than September 1, 2021, the commissioner shall notify state, county, and local law-enforcement officers of the changes made to this article of code during the 2021 Regular Legislative Session.