Ohio State Issue 2 is all about money not animal welfare

What do you do when you want to keep special interest groups from telling your state what to do? You change the state constitution. But in a bit of irony it is a special interest group that is wanting the change to prevent another special interest group from doing their job.

State issue 2 will create a 13 member board that would set regulations on the care of livestock and poultry in Ohio.

This proposed amendment would:

1. Require the state to create the Livestock Care Standards Board to prescribe standards for animal care and well-being that endeavor to maintain food safety, encourage locally grown and raised food, and protect Ohio farms and families.

2. Authorize this bipartisan board of thirteen members to consider factors that include, but are not limited to, agricultural best management practices for such care and well-being, biosecurity, disease prevention, animal morbidity and mortality data, food safety practices, and the protection of local, affordable food supplies for consumers when establishing and implementing standards.

3. Provide that the board shall be comprised of thirteen Ohio residents including representatives of Ohio family farms, farming organizations, food safety experts, veterinarians, consumers, the dean of the agriculture department at an Ohio college or university and a county humane society representative.

4. Authorize the Ohio department that regulates agriculture to administer and enforce the standards established by the board, subject to the authority of the General Assembly.

State Issue 2

What is interesting to note is under number 2 above that the standards are tested against how much it would cost to implement them. So while the board would come up with some standards the best ones really wouldn’t be used if they cost too much.

Basically what happened was that the Ohio agribusiness concern went to the legislature and asked for the amendment. The amendment, unlike a regular law, can’t be changed easily if at all once passed. That’s why they wanted an amendment.

Ohio agri-business leaders appealed to state lawmakers earlier this year to place the issue on the ballot after the Humane Society of the United States said it planned to work in Ohio to push for more humane treatment for livestock and poultry. Similar reforms are already in place in seven states, including Michigan.

The thrust of the Humane Society’s proposal would be rules that ban treatment of animals that prohibit them from turning around, lying down, standing up and fully extending their limbs.

Issue 2 supporters blast “out-of-state interests” for wanting to make changes that would harm the Ohio economy and put a kink in the food supply chain.

Justice O’Connor says Issue 2 “inappropriate” for Ohio Constitution

Why would Ohio agribusiness “blast” the Humane Society? Don’t they both have the animal welfare in mind? As we can see this issue is all about the money and not the animals. That’s why people should vote No on State Issue 2.

*Update 10/31/2009*

The pro Issue 2 side has put out two commercials recently. One claimed that passing State Issue 2 would not prevent contaminated foreign grown food from being brought into Ohio. Obviously that is not true since the text of the amendment doesn’t say that, recent incidents of contaminated food were from US growers and producers, and existing food safety laws exist to take care of such incidents when they happen.

The 2nd commercial shows Governor Stickland and other political leaders at a rally in support of the issue. It is simply an appeal to authority. If one looks at the text of the issue and the reasons why it was put on the ballot one can see it was about money and not protecting Ohio.

One Reply to “Ohio State Issue 2 is all about money not animal welfare”

  1. Issue 2 is an expansion of State Government that creates unchecked power and new layers of unaccountable bureaucracy over our livestock farmers.

    What did it take to twist the arms of all the members of both the House and Senate to make them take such a draconian measure? If we change the Constitution every time the wind blows from the wrong direction, what value remains in it? What next? Change the US Constitution to remove free speech and religious freedom?

    The text of issue 2 shows just how rushed the process was and how little thought went into doing the job right. The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board is not even an imperfect solution. It is not a solution at all. The correct solution is to add the proper language into Ohio Revised Code, a process that would require both the House and Senate to debate and agree on language and the Governor to sign the bill into law.

    We are being told that this Board will protect farms from animal rights groups, but what will protect the farmers from the Board, a panel of bureaucrats without accountability?

    After reading the proposed resolution, we have several questions regarding Issue 2.

    Why did the Ohio Farmers Union decide to oppose issue 2 in their August meeting?

    Will we need a license or permit to own and raise livestock in this state?

    Will special training and classes be required to obtain the right to raise livestock?

    Will someone come to our farm to ensure that we follow the guidelines set forth by this Board, without search warrants or probable cause?

    Will we be criminals, and subject to fines/prison if we disagree with the standards set by the Board and fail to comply?

    Will these board members be paid? If so, who decides their salary?

    How will the actions of this board be funded: by taxpayers or farmers?

    How will Board decrees be enforced?

    How long will the terms of appointees be? Indefinite or limited?

    Why is this Board given “excusive authority to establish standards governing the care and well-being of livestock and poultry in this state” instead of the farmer?

    Why are the members of this Board appointed (10 by Governor) and not voted into their position by the farmers themselves?

    What appeal process will be available for those who wish to challenge the standards set by this Board? Will that appeal require a fee also?

    Why only three “family farmers”? Won’t they be outnumbered by the other 10 non-farmers?

    What effect will the approval of the Board have on organic and all natural farms?

    Why is Farm Bureau using fear to provoke the acceptance of this amendment?

    Will this Board view livestock as the private property of the farmers with Divine right to govern them as their own conscience directs? Or is livestock the property of the State?

    Will this Board establish rules regarding vaccines?

    Will we be required to keep updated farm records and submit them annually to this board?

    Will the Amish of Ohio be exempt from any rules that contradict their religious beliefs?

    Why would we want to establish a government entity to “protect us (farmers) from special interest groups” when the very way these groups achieve their goals is to lobby and control government entities?

    Doesn’t this proposed amendment contradict the original FFA Creed. paragraph three, which states:

    I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of organized farmers to serve our own and public interest in marketing the product of our toil. I believe we can safeguard those rights against practices and policies that are unfair.

    If we have sworn the oath of the Pledge Of Allegiance, which professes “Liberty and Justice for all,” since this amendment takes the liberty to raise livestock from an individual farmer and gives it to the direct control of the State, would we be committing hypocrisy according to our spoken oath?

    Are horses included under the authority of this Board? If not, shouldn’t they be protected from animal rights groups too and be subject to the standards decreed by this Board?

    Is forfeiture of liberty the only way to protect livestock farms in Ohio from animal rights groups? Are there other options available?

    In conclusion, we support the opposition to Issue 2 as expressed by the Ohio Farmers Union, The League of Women Voters, Ohio Food and Water Watch, The Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance, and all the major newspapers in Ohio.

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