Maryland's poultry and livestock farmers -- largely exempt from the state's animal cruelty rules -- support creating an advisory board to set formal animal-care guidelines.

Virtually the entire Eastern Shore delegation is sponsoring legislation that would create a Maryland Livestock and Poultry Care Advisory Board. The 15-member board would consist of a Department of Agriculture appointee, a veterinarian specializing in farm animals, a Maryland Farm Bureau representative, animal workers, and poultry and livestock appointees.

"It provides protection for those already doing the proper care, and if someone is doing something bad, there will be standards to judge it," says delegate Charles Otto, R-38A-Somerset, a lead sponsor of the House bill.

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