HSUS forms new Ohio Agriculture Council

COLUMBUS — The Humane Society of the United States launched a new enterprise in Ohio, the Ohio Agriculture Council, in an effort to “advance humane and sustainable agricultural practices in Ohio.”

The announcement was made April 24.

HSUS

In a written release, the HSUS claims the Ohio Agriculture Council of the HSUS will work to connect livestock producers who manage their animals using higher animal welfare practices with consumers seeking higher welfare products and to help other farmers transition to more humane animal management.

The group will also showcase those farmers who are good stewards of their animals and the land. It says the council members will advise HSUS on issues affecting Ohio’s family farmers.

Ashtabula beef producer

Mardy Townsend, an Ashtabula County farmer who currently raises 125 head of black baldy crossbred grass-fed beef, is one of the council members. She said she is not a spokesperson for HSUS, but is participating on the council for her personal interest. She feels that by working with the HSUS, she will have more marketing opportunities for her grass-fed beef.

“It gives me the opportunities to work together to benefit me and HSUS members by educating them on where their meat comes from,” said Townsend.

Townsend said she is interested in working to develop a meat co-op and feels that by working with the HSUS, the co-op is a possibility. She said Ohioans need to develop a better way to get products to consumers.

“There is a misconception about what the HSUS is about in Ohio,” Townsend said.
She added that many people confuse HSUS with an animal rights group and instead it is a animal welfare group.

Townsend said she is proud of the way she takes care of her animals and wants to make a connection for people between the farm and food supply.

“Urban people don’t know where their food comes from, and our mission is to educate them, show them and explain what is being done,” said Townsend.

Founding members

The founding members of the Ohio Agriculture Council are William Miller, an organic farmer from Butler County; Townsend; Bruce Rickard, of Fox Hollow Farms in Knox County; Joe Logan, an Ohio farmer who works with the Ohio Environmental Council; and Warren Taylor, co-owner  of Snowville Creamery in Pomeroy, Ohio.

Help direct policy. Karen Minton, Ohio state director for The HSUS, said there are a multitude of reasons for the development of the council, including helping to direct policy on issues such as livestock regulations and farmers market regulations.

Other states

Colorado, Nebraska and North Carolina have councils already in place helping to direct policy in those states.
She said the initiative is not designed to undermine the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, but to “help navigate the policy issues as they develop in Ohio.”

Minton said there are some criteria for joining the council. Members must use higher welfare environmental stewardship methods, must be in Ohio, cattlemen must be grass-fed beef producers and hog producers cannot use gestation crates.

She added that the group is open to any farmer who wants to join, but the farm would have to be reviewed by the group.

When asked if the council was limited to members with smaller operations, Minton said no.

“It’s not a size issue. It’s the practices that take place on the farm,” said Minton.

OFBF speaks out

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) issued the following statement following the council’s launch:

“We believe that the best way to make connections is to be inclusive. It appears HSUS’s plan intentionally excludes the majority of farmers and consumers who have differing views on food and farming. Both producers and consumers should have multiple choices in how food is grown and raised.

“Farm Bureau’s largest concern is that HSUS has chosen to ignore Ohio’s leadership in protecting the well-being of farm animals. The Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board was created by Ohio voters in 2009. Through it, all Ohioans have the ability to influence the rules that define acceptable farm animal care. HSUS is positioning its judgment as being superior to that of Ohio citizens.

“Ohio Farm Bureau remains committed to a dialogue with HSUS as well as other organizations and individuals who are interested in important questions about food and farming.”

Confusion

It is important to note that the Ohio Agriculture Council created by the HSUS is not the same as the Ohio Agricultural Council.

The Ohio Agricultural Council includes organizations, companies and individuals who have an interest in the well-being and promotion of the agricultural industry in Ohio. OAC also sponsors the Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame Awards at the Ohio State Fair.

After this story was published, the HSUS made some revisions to the name of the council:

SALEM, Ohio —  The Humane Society of the United States is changing the name of the Ohio Agriculture Council, a new project launched in April. It will now be called the HSUS Agriculture Advisory Council for Ohio.As first reported last month, the HSUS Agriculture Advisory Council for Ohio will work to connect livestock producers who manage their animals using higher animal welfare practices with consumers seeking higher welfare products, and will help farmers transition to more humane animal management.
Additionally, the council will advise HSUS on issues affecting Ohio’s family farmers.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

7 Comments

  1. BJ McDowell says:

    This just proves that they purchased Ohio from the government officials. I want to see the bill of sale and how much every government official got. I want to see a bill in Ohio that has that and vegan/vegitarian/animal right person can not purchase anything that has been touched by any critter in the animal kingdom ever. They truly should not profit from any critter period.
    Wonder how many bugs they have killed driving their cars, so much for animals rights to live.

  2. okiestorm1 says:

    I can not believe the farmers and ranchers in Ohio is actualy falling for all the fertilizer being spread by HSUS..HSUS dos not care about you or your animals,they want to shut down any thing that has to do with human/animal contact. they do not want livestock processed,or reproduced. the do want all animals to be free to run and do what ever..HSUS is gana make it so hard on farmers and ranchers that they will have to shut down thier operations,this is thier plan..you do know that wayne pacell fully support vick,the one who tortured over 50 dogs in his dog fighting ring..ya,HSUS got a big donation from Vick,dose that not tell you anything about HSUS.Wake up to who this group actualy is.You donot have to abide by what they want,they are not govt. ran,they are a non-profit group,they say anyway.HSUS made over 200 million in donations last year and only gave less then 1 percent to local shelters,the rest went in thier pockets and to thier lawyers and lobbiest..We need to remove HSUS from the state of OHIO NOW!

  3. Laurella Desborough says:

    As one who has watched the work of the HSUS over the past 30 years, I have to wonder if Marty Townsend is off her meds or taken a blow to the head or what…when she says HSUS is an animal protection organization. No animal breeder who knows HSUS would make such a statement! HSUS is as clearly animal rights as you can get. She might do some checking on the internet about HSUS…because ALL their efforts are directed towards elimination of animal use, and that includes elimination of animal agriculture! To sit down with the devil is always a mistake because no one is able to outwit him…he has had too many years of deceitful behavior…Oh, did money change hands here? Perhaps that is the answer. Nothing else makes sense. I note the fact that FARMERS could not put together a council on their own, but needed HSUS to do it…hmmm. Are these people inept or just out of touch with reality? Then to choose a name so close to the Ohio Agricultural Council…Are they trying to confuse folks?? Very sad.

  4. Mary says:

    As an Ohio resident of 61 years, I am extremely sad to see these farmers buy the BS that HSUS is selling. Animal welfare? Nothing could be farther from the truth. This will end badly, as HSUS has an agenda of eliminating all animal use from our lives, whether they be our pets or farm animals that end up on our plate. Their push for veganism is well-known. Did these farmers totally miss that? I will NOT be buying from any farmer who is in bed with HSUS.
    The very name of this little council is a huge tip-off to the duplicity of the HSUS. It is meant to confuse a lot of people into thinking they are the legitimate Ohio AgriculturAL Council. Why do you think they did that? Open your eyes and cut yourself loose from HSUS before it is too late.

  5. Milana says:

    If you believe HSUS is not a radical animal rights group that wants to destroy Ohio’s animal industrys, WAKE UP! Read their blogs and get the facts. HSUS has published many times that it wants to end human/animal interaction. No pets, no animal products(meat,milk.eggs,wool,etc), no service animals.

  6. Fed Up & PO'd Farmer says:

    So very encouraging to see the commenters have not been duped and deceived unlike the extreme fools that have actually signed a pact with the devil-HSUS-in yet another cleverly deceitfully named group. So far , the ones posting are telling the truth and should be heeded.

    As far as people who pathetically still believe that HSUS is a “farmers’ friend”, GET EDUCATED!! Read their “youth manual” which pushes children to become vegan-the old one actually had the audacity to tell children it was OK to go against their parents if the parents didnt approve changing to a vegan lifestyle. Also read the background on the main members-and you WILL see that they know they have to go step-by-step to force veganism onto people-which is clearly their ultimate goal-they know they cant just go “cold-turkey” like PETA or people would see their true intent, so they developed a slow indoctrination/brainwash scheme for slower thinking people-especially children. As we can see by this new group they formed, sadly, some farmers fit into that slow-thinking easily brainwashed scheme.

    HSUS is a vile, wicked group-NOTHING good is done by them-it is all part of the deceptive propaganda agenda that will ultmately HURT people. Please do NOT support these groups that are being brainwashed by HSUS-support the farmers who are-and always have been-properly caring for their animals to produce premium quality, safe, and abundant food the people in our country and our fellow humans in foreign countries!!!

  7. Thom Katt says:

    All farmers that wish to become useful idiots for HSUS and it’s parent organization PETA, please line up and march in orderly fashion toward the Final Solution.

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