Issue 2 far better than extreme alternative

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Editor:

I am asking Ohio voters to support Issue 2 on Nov. 3, 2009. The possible consequences for consumers and Ohio agriculture are severe if Issue 2 does not pass.

I’m part of the fourth generation that operates Lausin Farms in Thompson, Ohio. In my lifetime of 71 years, I have experienced many changes in how we feed and care for our animals. In the 1940s and ’50s, you only called the vet when needed. Today, he comes bi-weekly and checks every animal that has been bred, calved or will calve soon. Our goal, and his, is to keep the herd healthy.

The ration that is fed to the animals is balanced to the needs of all segments of the herd. We take pride in producing high quality milk from healthy cows.

I support Issue 2 that will create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Issue 2 is a far better plan than extreme measures offered by Washington-based advocates for veganism and “animal rights” who seek extreme, costly, anti-farming regulations that will burden the production of meat, milk and eggs, until these products are no longer affordable to Ohioans.

The goal of the Humane Society of the United States is “refine, reduce and replace” animal food and products available to consumers. This could create severe consequences.

Please help us by voting “yes” on Issue 2, to preserve consumer choices of safe, high-quality and affordable food.

Charles Lausin
Thompson, Ohio

11 Comments

  1. Charles oncd again we see the extremists taking action on this issue without any knowledge of why folks are opposing issue 2. A constitutional amendment is hardly an acceptable alternative. If Farm Bureau were really interested in changes which would create a positive picture in the livestock industry in Ohio, they would create a two tier system of animal industry, those requiring permits being considered commercial all others being considered family farms as in many other states. Pick up a copy of Neil Hamiltons environmental laws and see for yourself. If Farm Bureau had done this my home would not have been destroyed by one of Park Farms growout sites directly across the street, approximately 500 feet west of my home of over 32 years. I doubt you would want this to happen to your property and lifetime investment.

  2. Tod Mills says:

    Mary,

    I like your idea of a two tier system for livestock. See my other post regarding your situation with Park Farms.

    ********

    Charles,

    It sounds as though your farm is very unusual in having bi-weekly vet visits.

    I’ve never seen a vet visit my neighbor’s dairy farm. I’m sure they do occasionally, but certainly not bi-weekly.

    My cousin is a vet and her ex-husband is one also. He was a swine specialist that served multiple states but is now our State Veterinarian. His clients were large hog operations. Most of the time, his work was done over the phone or by video conferencing. Occasionally, the client farm would charter a plane to fly him out to examine the situation in person, but that was considered a last resort, due to the cost. The priority was to train farm personnel to deal with as many of the issues as they could on their own.

    Tod Mills
    Ashland, Ohio

  3. Tod….

    It is actually quite common for veterinarian to regularly visit dairy farms on a routine basis. The frequency of visits depends on the size of the farm and type of breeding program the dairy utilizes. Most of our farms are on at least monthly visits, many on every other week visits. Veterinarians are heavily involved with all aspects of a dairy farm. I support Issue 2 and so do my clients. Activists groups do not support Issue 2 because they want to pass their own laws that would cripple agriculture in the state of Ohio. All areas of animal food production are currently in a perilous situation. Most consumers are unaware that dairy farmers are losing thousands of dollars a month, swine farms are losing $40 per pig marketed, poultry isnt much better due to high feed costs. Further regulations from groups like HSUS and those backed by HSUS under a different name would be a giant step towards ending animal agricutlure in Ohio. I do not want to buy my milk, meat and eggs from china,,,,but we will someday if this continues.

    You will notice that most veterinary organizations (Ohio Dairy Vets, Ohio VMA) support issue 2. Who do consumers trust to develop animal welfare guidelines for Ohio livestock….HSUS or veterinarians in Ohio??

    Where animal farming operations are constructed has nothing to do with Issue 2….that is a zoning and Ohio Dept of Ag permitting issue. ODA does permit farm operations in the state. What most people do not realize is that these issues affect small farms more than large farms becasue small farms cannot spread the costs of regualtion over a larger animal inventory.

    K. Fred Gingrich II DVM
    Ashland OH

  4. Amy Reynolds says:

    A constitutional ammendement is needed to not have to fight the same national animal rights group year after year. The Humane Society of the United States (NOT your local humane societies)spent almost $4 million last year in California alone getting Proposition 2 passed. They recommend a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle as the “humane” way to live. Ohioans do not need a special interest group causing loss of jobs, loss of income and loss of ownership rights. Big Ag?? We have 3 head of cattle and about 15 chickens. But I’ve educated myself over the last few years about the HSUS and they don’t stop and incrementally remove all rights of animal ownership they possibly can through legislation. They took in donations “for the care of the Michael Vick dogs” even though they did not have them in their care (not one shelter)and recommended death for ALL of them. Research it, you’ll find things that have nothing to do with our local humane societies- just a name good for donations.

  5. Jarrod says:

    I just keep seeing Wayne Pacelle’s face when his threats did not work in Ohio and threatened this ballot initiative. I think he threw what one could consider a tantrum. I hope the people of Ohio will speak loud and clear to the Humane Society of the United States to allow farmers to feed the USA – meat, something animal rights object to. Ohio’s neighboring states bought into the animal rights agenda and the farmers will surely suffer economically. Animal rights activist do not realize the care given farm animals nor many of that age group know what farming consists of. Farmers know it is hard work but very satisfying in caring for their animals and offering a good product, as there is pride in doing so. It is only right that regulations should be governed by those involved in farming and decisions are made by science and not emotions.

  6. Amy Reynolds says:

    Science- not emotions- is needed much more since many people are far removed from feeding themselves other than going to the local grocery store or fast food drive thru. Those are the people HSUS target to vote for their agenda since they have the least amount of experience with animals other than maybe a pet dog or cat. Read some of the Michigan info. A senator said they play on emotion and have lots of $$ and they can’t fight it (HSUS)so it was better to give in. I hope Ohioans are smarter, stronger and stand up to a special interest (animal rights) group that has no stake in our animals we OWN, paid for and Ohio Revised Code also already has abuse, neglect and cruelty statutes.
    Mary- I am very sorry to hear of your problem, am not familiar with it personally. I do not see where Issue 2 will harm or help your situation but do see how it will help Ohio jobs, Ohio farmers, Ohio food source and our rights of ownership. I think it was $142 million I saw listed for HSUS’s “income” for one year, maybe 2005. ANIMALS come first for HSUS. I see no reason to allow an organization like that to dictate anything in Ohio and hope other states also wake up. Every state added to their ‘treasure trove’ is another used to say “See, THEY did it like we wanted”.

  7. Amy, I can tell you are really cut up about what happened at my property. I can assure you Farm Bureau had every opportunity to correct this miscarriage of justice but chose instead to forego their moral integrity and worked to protect the Park Farms, poultry operation. My realtor told me it is stinking to high heaven and that is what I have lived with for over 20 years. In all this timre Farm Bureau did not lift an hand to help. This is not the Farm Bureau of my parents, it is an industrial farm bureau and that is sad! I do hope in the future you do not need their help on an issue if you become involved with one of the industrial farms they are so happy to promote. I will continue to try to get them to help the small and medium sized farms that are the backbone of agriculture in Ohio. This issue could have been resolved particularly when the chemicals being sprayed impacted my property and my shrubs were destroyed. Any other farmer would have been fined, any other farmer would not have been allowed to impact someone else’s property, Farm Bureau gave Park Farms the green light and that was a big mistake. Try for a change to really put yourself into other people’s shoes, not just mouth the rhetoric from Farm Bureau.

  8. Tod Mills says:

    Hi, Dr. Gingrich!

    (Dr. Gingrich is my dogs’ vet, and he does a very good job, I might add)

    Thank you for your input concerning the extent of the role that veterinarians play on dairy farms.

    I can certainly understand your concern about potential additional hardship for Ohio’s farmers, and I sympathize. I am actually still undecided about whether to vote yeah or nay on Issue 2 and so far haven’t seen particularly convincing arguments from either side.

    What is the principal motivator for how a farmer treats his livestock? Is it an altruistic concern for their wellbeing? Is it economic? I believe it is mainly the latter, although hopefully the former plays a role too. It makes economic sense to feed a dairy cow a proper diet because although that costs money, it pays dividends in the form of increased milk production. (In a normal market, that would result in a profit. In our abnormal market, it means a smaller loss).

    But, if economics is the driving force behind how livestock is treated, it could mean that it is also a motivator in how an animal is mistreated. If a chicken will only lay one egg a day whether she is in a cage large enough to spread her wings or not, the farmer is motivated by economics to provide her with the smaller cage. A review of the United Egg Producer’s guidelines (which I am just now looking at for the first time today) promote treatment that I cannot approve of. Two links: http://www.uepcertified.com/program/guidelines/ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5wjXGPTW5Y illustrate the result of accepted industry treatment of chickens. It is seriously going to give me pause the next time I’m at the grocery store. I’m familiar enough with chickens to know that they are incredibly dumb, but those are some pretty grueling conditions for anything to live in, dumb or not.

    Most Ohioans are undoubtedly not intimately familiar with the conditions for livestock, but if they WERE, do you suppose they would still accept the status quo? Or would they insist on changes, even if it costs them more at the grocery store? It sounds as though supporters of Issue 2 believe that education of the public would result in expensive industry changes that would drive many producers out of business, and that is why they think the power to decide livestock care standards should be given to a select group of people, the majority of whom would at least feel some pressure to maintain the existing arrangement.

    When I was a kid, I remember my great Aunt had chickens. I remember them looking healthy, wandering around her property, doing the things that chickens do. I remember being chased by a crazed rooster!

    My mom grew up on a farm that was small enough that her dad always had to supplement their income by working off the farm. For several years, that came in the form of driving a school bus. Their main farm income came from raising turkeys. The funny thing is, their turkeys were all free-range. They even had a dog that would herd them (and everything else on the farm, including cows, hogs, and sheep) every evening to keep them from predators. One of my Mom’s childhood chores was to hunt down any eggs the turkeys laid.

    These stories serve to point out that farming has changed dramatically, and the question is: are all of these changes for the better, both for the animals and for our societal humanity?

    Perhaps it isn’t good for society to be so removed from the source of our food that a small group supplies the majority, of whom few have any understanding of such a basic thing as food. Perhaps we have created a system that is fundamentally less than healthy. Perhaps the real future in agriculture is in a different sort of relationship between people and the sources of the food they eat.

    Tod Mills
    Ashland, OH

  9. Amy Reynolds says:

    Mary, I don’t get my thoughts or info from any farm bureau. I do get involved in legislation concerning animals because 1. I’m an animal owner 2. I’ve learned enough about HSUS to turn my stomach probably as much as the stench at your house does yours. If you choose to be a very bitter person and use your hatred of the farm bureau to attempt to hurt others- that’s your choice. The population needs fed and is a much higher number than back in the day of small farms raising their own and for friends and family. I very seriously doubt I could find one chicken or egg farm doing it for a hobby nor one supplying more than people buy. To me that is common sense. I rescind my “sorry” (and not responding more about an issue I said I wasn’t personally familiar with) as it seems to have only angered you. Good luck in gaining support.

  10. Amy Reynolds says:

    I can’t find where I commented yesterday let alone find what I read last week- but one was a study of stress levels done on laying hens in cages. I think it was a chemical in their blood was measured and found to be not highly stressed. The industry has evolved due to a demand for eggs. An idealic situation may be chickens running through the barnyard but hardly ideal when it’s many 1000′s. Collecting eggs, keeping them clean, disease control…with just 15 in my experience I can envision the catastrophe. The economic impact goes way beyond our own buying habits and ability to pay more for a dozen eggs. Bread and other food items that include eggs, people on fixed incomes, the WIC program, those getting food assistance. There is also a report online of estimated costs associated with rising cost of eggs. There’s really a lot of information to consider out there. I’m thankful for those who provide the eggs to people, the jobs they provide also. I sure don’t want to do it and if I need eggs while our chickens slow down through the winter I’ll be right at the grocery store buying the cheapest dozen on sale.

  11. Amy Reynolds says:

    There’s a whole lot of misinformation being spread about Issue 2 also. Opponents are saying it gives the new Board exclusive power to pass rules on how we raise livestock. It doesn’t do that; all it does is set up the Board. There is “enabling legislation” that must pass the General Assembly, that gives the Board their power. That is when everyone can participate in the legislative process, to make sure the enabling legislation is what we want it to be.

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