One day after complaint, livestock standards panel cancels meeting

Concerns voiced about open meetings act

jpatton1@herald-leader.comOctober 28, 2011 

The Kentucky Livestock Care Standards Commission canceled its Thursday meeting, the Kentucky Department of Agriculture announced. The news came about an hour and a half before the meeting was scheduled to begin.

No reason was given, but a complaint filed Wednesday asked that the commission halt action until it complied with open-meetings requirements.

In a statement released later, the KDA said the meeting was canceled at the request of Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer.

"Although he believes that the commission has followed the Open Meetings Act, he wants to make certain that everyone concerned with the issues the commission is working on has ample opportunity to make their opinions heard," according to the statement. "Therefore, he believes that the public interest is best served by postponing today's meeting for several days to give all parties concerned enough time to plan for the session."

No new date has been set.

The commission was planning to review preliminary versions of potential rules for how farm animals must be treated in Kentucky.

On Wednesday, the Humane Society of the United States sent a letter to Farmer and to state veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout, stating that the commission had failed to hold open meetings. The Humane Society alleged that the board has been acting in secret to prevent public involvement.

In its complaint, the Humane Society asked that the commission take no further action on recommendations made by species-specific groups or other advisory panels until the panels hold open meetings to consider all matters previously discussed in private.

Agriculture Department spokesman Bill Clary said Wednesday that the commission thinks it has complied with the state's Open Meetings Act.

Reach Janet Patton at (859) 231-3264 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3264.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service