From pleased to furious, farmers mixed over HSUS/Ohio Ag deal

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To review what members of the board had to say, prior to public comment, click here.

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — Passionate testimony was heard by the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board during the public comment period of the July 27 meeting, concerning the recent agreement between the Humane Society of the United States, and Ohio’s agriculture leaders.

Proponents and opponents spoke their minds, with views ranging from complete understanding and agreement to complete frustration and disagreement.

Producers speak

David Hutchins, a long-time Ohio livestock producer, scrutinized the decision for failing to include more public input. He blamed Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and Wayne Pacelle, president of HSUS, for handing down a decision that will affect the whole state, and future generations.

“I am somewhat furious in feeling the citizens of Ohio were betrayed by Governor Strickland in brokering a compromise with just one person (Pacelle) who isn’t even, to my knowledge, a resident of the state of Ohio,” Hutchins said. “Has he (Pacelle) ever presented any research or facts to this board to support his convictions? Is he here today? No. I am, as a citizen of the state of Ohio.”

Only facilitated

Dick Isler, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council, clarified that the governor only was a facilitator for the compromise, and did not have a role in the decision making.

Isler also said it was a broader agreement than just Ohio Farm Bureau, or just the governor’s office. Parties included Ohio Pork Producers Council, and representatives from the poultry, cattle, corn and soybean commodities, as well as Farm Bureau and HSUS.

“It certainly wasn’t the governor and Wayne Pacelle that made these decisions,” he said. “It was Ohio agriculture sitting down with Wayne Pacelle to discuss if there was an alternative (to a ballot measure).”

The discussions were not easy, but necessary, Isler said.

“What we were faced with (was) potentially a very costly ballot initiative,” he said. “If that was passed it would have — I think — have devastated the pork and poultry industry in Ohio by setting rules that would be in our consitution (forever).”

But some producers insisted their industries already will be devastated, due to the agreement.

“I really shouldn’t even be here,” said a frustrated Larry Queen, a third-generation crop and cattle farmer from Ohio’s Morrow County. “I can’t believe we are negotioating with a bogus (organization). We didn’t research this organization (HSUS) enough, and here my future, my son’s future and his childrens’ future, is being jeopardized.”

Misled?

Queen said state Issue 2, which was passed last fall to create the livestock care standards board, told everyone it would support, “safe, local food,” a concept no one could be against, but that misinformed a lot of voters.

He called it “a misconception put on by the major commodity groups right here representing us,” apologizing for being blunt, but inisting that producers were not fairly represented by the closed-door agreement.

“I won’t just stand back and let somebody take me over and this is what’s happening right here,” he said. “We are not working in a democratic process by the way it’s being shaped up.”

Fred Voge, of Ohio’s Preble County, said he doesn’t yet know whether the agreement will be good or bad, but expressed dismay that very few Ohio producers knew about it, until it was already decided for them.

A disconnect?

“I want to caution you people as a board that there is a disconnect between mainstream agriculture and our commodity groups here in Ohio at present,” Voge said. “I don’t feel that you’re getting a true representation of Ohio agriculture when you hear from these groups.”

Isler said he understands how some Ohioans are upset, but said it’s mostly those who are not directly affected. He said there was only a short period of time to meet with Pacelle and talk about the agreement, which is part of the reason it was not announced to the public.

The other concern was what would happen if it was announced, and how it would be received.

“Once it got out into the public, it could have blown up,” Isler said.

Multiple costs

Jack Fisher, executive vice president of OFBF, said a ballot initiative would have been costly in terms of financial expense, bad publicity and the consumption of valuable time.

“Still, the decision to talk (with HSUS) was difficult and uncomfortable,” Fisher said.

He reminded the board the agreement is a recommendation, based on the findings of a diverse group of industry representatives. Ultimately, it will still be the work of the board to decide what it will adopt as standards.

“A recommendation is just that,” he said. “No more, no less.”

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

15 Comments

  1. LC says:

    Mr. Fisher has yet again stated the agreement is a recommendation and not a binding action. However, Mr. Pacelle of the HSUS has publicly stated in a letter to the Ohioians for Humane Farms – “I will be in touch soon as we work to make sure this important agreement is fully implemented and enforced.”, Wayne Pacelle
    President & CEO
    The Humane Society of the United States, Letter to Ohioians for Humane Farms, July 2010.

    It is the understanding from the related article on Farm and Dairy website that “Boggs announced breaking news that all parties had officially signed the agreement”, all 10 “recommendations”, by all parties. If that is the case OFBF is in violation of their own policy.

    They are duty bound to follow their own state policy which has been voted on by their own delegates. They do not have state policy allowing them to support Senate Bill 95 (the Dog Kennel Licensing Bill), nor do they have state policy allowing them to support a prohibition on exotic animals. When those 2 issues came up, regardless of who introduced them, Farm Bureau should have at that point told the Governor and HSUS that Farm Bureau could not proceed with any agreement which includes those 2 issues, because Farm Bureau state policy does not permit them to do so.

    Mr. Fisher stated the agreement is a recommendation, based on the findings of a diverse group of insustry reporesentatives yet the there were no reps present for the Pet industry nor the Exotic animal owners.

  2. mary gibson says:

    I find it very interesting as a farm bureau member, already Farm Bureau appears to be divorcing itself from the agreement with the HSUS. I for one was glad to see them come into Ohio as the regulations for industrial farms have not been enforced and I felt they were the only organization with the clout to enforce them in Ohio. I am aware they brought up the matter of zoning, and the environment which is as it should be. Too many of my friends have also suffered due to the industrial farms impacting their properties.

    When is Farm Bureau, as long as it has continued to promote industrial livestock facilities going to modernize the laws.

    Lets put the real farmer back into farming not the pretend farmer who lives in the poultry mansion!

  3. alice in LALA land says:

    it is shocking to see the apparent naivety of this group.. either they are not educated on this VEGAN group.. or they are wimps…or both.. the HSUS is holding the “right” to reintroduce the initiative at any time if they think things are not going their way.. and you can bet that they will.. with a long and incredibly expensive legal battle.. it is what they do best.. read Alinskys Rules For Radicals.. they have..

  4. alice in LALA land says:

    The other concern was what would happen if it was announced, and how it would be received.

    “Once it got out into the public, it could have blown up,” Isler said.

    Yes God forbid the behind closed doors agreement should have been public.. what do they think this is .. a democracy?

  5. RICCO says:

    You need to go to http://www.game-dog.com/forums/showthread.php?p=451827
    and read the link between Wayne Pacelle and the mob crime families. Then you will understand their RICCO tactics for forcing themselves upon the American public and how they use these organizations to further their power base. Very interesting read for those who want to know who they are dealing with and why. “Before Pacelle took the helm of H$U$, the reported income was nearly $2 million dollars annually. Now they report over $100 million in income per year. What charity has ever made this kind of a leap in history? H$U$ paid over $881,000 to Exciting New Technologies, owned by the main internet support service for on-line pornography and internet gambling. Ex H$U$ president Dr. Irwin’s son, Chris, was hired as Director of Business Development by the owner of ENT, Gordon, a mail and bank fraud felon. Dr. Irwin moved to the position of CEO of the American Bible Society, where $5 million went to ENT within two years time. Once the pornographic background was revealed, Irwin was dismissed from his post by a very embarrassed American Bible Society.”

  6. wayne says:

    The Buckeye Compromise is like Obamacare. You have to wait till it is passed to find out what is in it.

    How weak and misguided, letting a Jesse Jackson style shakedown artist – touting his fictional “440,000 Ohio supporters” – manipulate you. Now the Livestock Board will have to interact with Wayne Pacelle, helping him “create meaningful social change for animals”. And implement and enforce it. Now that’s cruelty.

  7. yellowjacket says:

    So Ohio is allowing a vegan animal rights group to help it decide what is best for Ohio farms? That is sad and the start of the finish. This arrogant group from Washington are going to push till the people of this country have to rise up and dictate to these bogus farm bureas what is going to happen on their own property. Animal cruelty should not be decided using a standard for human beings.

  8. commonsense says:

    Enough with this “vegans trying to take over the world” stuff. I am not a vegan, and I supported the ballot initiative whole-heartedly. All it called for was some human decency when it comes to the way animals are treated. I don’t need my meat to suffer before I eat it.

  9. LC says:

    If knowledge is power then the knowledge every person needs to know is the HSUS and other lobbying organizations are merely extremists forcing their ideals on everyone much like a dictatorship. These organizations’ executives and members have through various forms of media stated they do not want animals under the control of humans.

    These same organizations also have been proven to support publicly and monetarily other smaller groups that have been identified by FBI and Homeland Security as Eco-terrorists. These organizations DO NOT support and give less than .01 percent of their 3 Billion dollar annual income to local humane organizations. It is not the public that should fear the exotic animals but the animal owners that fear the Animal Rights Agenda and the terrorist groups that support it.

    There is a hidden agenda with regard to this agreement and it has nothing to do with public safety or concerns for good animal care. Rather, it is about eroding or removing American freedoms, the right to pursue happiness and the right to own animals. True animal welfare and desirability of captivity begins with how captivity enhances animal welfare and responsible ownership protects both humans and animals.

  10. LC says:

    I wrote to OFBF and the Ohio Poultry Association after the HSUS released their position statement on Laying Hens. I have yet to receive a response from either organization. I simply asked them what thier thoughts were on this new development since the position statement was released after the agreement. Why are the people that represent the farmer not willing to speak to the public on this subject?

  11. Robert Grillo says:

    There are some absolutely ridiculous claims being made here about HSUS. It really worries me how distorted people have interpreted the reality of this situation, based on sources that clearly have an agenda to discredit HSUS and any type of animal protection legislation. These absurd statements only serve to further discredit an industry that is already riddled with public relations problems of their own making. Instead of villianizing HSUS, why not look at why the animal rights movement has gained such strength in the first place! Obviously there is a large enough constituency of the public concerned and opposed to the animal husbandry practices of large scale farms in Ohio. It might be hard to be scrutinized, but animal ag in Ohio must face their problems with public perception and then clean up their act!

  12. stop HSUS says:

    Hey Robert you need to check out the USDA’s Web stite check out how many dogs and cats HSUS Killed Last year how many they found homes for I think that we should let all of you tree hugging PETA Pet Killing groups go with out the food we farmer produce and let you eat the grass in your yards WE have animal crulty laws we don’t need so ANIMAL RIGHTS GROUP TELLING US HOW TO CARE FOR ARE ANIMALS Personaly I think every farmer in the USA should stop feed you people

  13. LC says:

    If the HSUS is such a great organization, why did they have their people lie to the registered voters about what their signatures where actually going to be used for. No one I spoke to was even told about the farm issues, HB 108 or the exotic animal ban, they were told it was to stop puppy mills only. I personally know of several that once they learned what their signature was actually being used for called the Attorney Generals office to ask their name be withdrawn. The HSUS (a group of Washington DC City Dwellers) going to any state and dictate how animals should be kept makes about as much sense as a Lawyer performing open heart surgery. He doesn’t have a clue.

    The “large enough constituency of the public concerned” is because most people don’t know the truth about H$US and PETA. Why do these organizations NOT help out the shelters! Why did PETA kill over 90% of the animals it took in last year when a local shelter down the road was able to home hundreds? Learn why at PETAkillsanimals.com.

    Everyone should visit HumaneWatch.org and learn the truth. H$US and PETA discredit this site because it is the truth on these organizations. Their own tax records and other public documents are readily available for anyone to look at, most people just don’t know where to go look.

    The AG Industry is making changes but they cannot be made overnight as H$US would like. It takes time to convert a farm over and money. Most farmers are not rich and don’t go out and lie to the general public to get money; they work for it and earn it.

    We don’t need any Lobbying group from DC telling us how to run our farms or that the cow eating in the field that has some mud on it’s legs that its abuse. Ohio AG has done just fine without H$US’s Dictatorship for the past 40 years and I’m sure we can do just fine without it now.

  14. Farmer says:

    I have yet to understand the fact that our government officials do not understand that HSUS is a vegan animal rights organization. This means that there is to be no animals owned or used. Instead, HSUS wants them to be free of human use. It started with dogs and cats. Now anyone who ever breeds a dog should go to hell, and if you own 4 dogs, you become a hoarder. I own cattle, what will be my limit in 5 years? First there is a campaign to turn farming into destroying the earth, poor animals, making money from animal flesh, go vegan. Does it have to be spelled out anymore. I would suggest your attorney general look into their charity practices. Very powerful organization because people donate, thinking they are helping animals, but what they are doing is ending animal ownership and use, especialy for food. Animal rights is a social movement, leading to no use for animals. It is not an animal welfare movement.

  15. LC says:

    Here’s a good tidbit of information. If you go to the States Campaign Finance database you can search all records. CLick on Simple search, type in Humane and learn that HSUS donated this year alone over 1.5 million dollars to the Ohioians for Humane Farms yet there are no records where they donated a penny to any local shelters. Learn the truth…http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/pls/cfonline/f?p=119:11:67580492730242::NO:RP:P11_PREV_PAGE:2

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