Issue 2: We don’t need board to tell us how to farm

Editor:

Issue 2 is a pre-emptive ballot initiative to establish a board that will set standards for livestock and poultry care. The board will be made up of 13 people total, three family farmers, two veterinarians, a food safety expert, a representative of the local humane society, two members from statewide farm organizations, the dean of an Ohio agriculture college, two members representing Ohio consumers and the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (serving as chair). Ten members will be appointed by the governor and one each by the House and Senate.

How will you vote on Nov. 3? Did you consider the following?

The intent of this board is to set regulations for animal care before out-of-state activist groups do. How exactly can this board keep the activist groups out? Can’t any group push for regulatory change, regardless of this board? It happened in Michigan.

Do we really want a board where all positions are appointed by the government? What happens when the government changes hands and the newly appointed governor has animal activist initiatives?

This board will supposedly “Assure Ohio families have a safe, locally grown food supply.” Don’t we already have safeguards in place to ensure our food is the safest in the world?

This board will set animal care guidelines taking into account, “animal morbidity (incidence of ill health) and mortality (incidence of death) data.” What’s to stop this group from requiring animal IDs on your entire heard and autopsies on every dead animal? What would that kind of “all knowing” power do to our markets?

This board will only have three farmers representing all animal agriculture. What aspects of agriculture do they specialize in and who represents those left out?

This board will have two appointed veterinarians. Will the appointed veterinarians specialize in large animal or poultry or simply be “pet vets”?

Does it make sense to pass a law purposely giving up your rights to manage your farm how you see appropriate, when the ultimate goal is to stop ridiculous regulations from the beginning? It seems that the activist groups have won.

As farmers, we have always done the work that no one else will do and we take only what we are given as pay. It would be a grave mistake to give up the one thing we have control over — how we take care of our animals and run our farms. We are the professionals.

Let’s focus on the issue at hand — find ways to show Ohio consumers and out-of-state activist groups that Ohio farmers produce a safe food supply using excellent animal care — without setting up a board to tell us how to raise our animals and run our farm.

Please go online, www.ohiolivestockcare.com, to read the information and form your own opinions, don’t just vote based on the advice of farm groups.

Greg Dawson
Louisville, Ohio

4 Comments

  1. Brandon says:

    Dear Editor,
    5 Reasons to Vote No On Issue 2
    For those that are not familiar with Issue 2, it is a proposed constitutional amendment that would form the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The purpose of this board would be to “establishing standards governing the care and well-being of livestock and poultry in this state. In carrying out its purpose, the Board shall endeavor to maintain food safety, encourage locally grown and raised food, and protect Ohio farms and families.” (from the proposed amendment Article XIV Section 1) I do not disagree with the ideal behind this amendment, but I do disagree with this particular political maneuver. I have 5 reason why I feel you should vote no for Issue 2.
    1. There is no guaranteed seat for a production livestock producer. The Board Consist of 13 members: 3 family farmers, 2 veterinarians, 1 food safety expert, 1 representative of a local humane society, 2 members from statewide farm organizations, the dean of an Ohio agriculture college and 2 members representing Ohio consumers. It does not specify that they be livestock family farmers, nor does it specify that the veterinarians be production livestock veterinarians. The intentions of the current Governor may be to appoint Production Livestock Farmers but will a Governor 10, 20 or 50 years from now do the same.
    2. It gives the government more unchecked power. The idea of our founding fathers was that we were to be a people of laws made by representatives of the people, not a people of regulators deciding how we should be governed. Giving this power to a small group of people could allow for regulations that may not meet the standards of the people. If the board sways to far one way or the other we could end up with a livestock system that totally disregards animal welfare, or if PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) could grab control they could ban animal agriculture and the sale of animal products in Ohio. Also the “annual operating expenses for the Board are estimated at $176,703 for the first year and then $162,280 for each subsequent year.“ According to a fiscal analysis done by the Office of Budget and Management, which will add to more deficit spending by the state. My biggest concern is that this could become more bad PR for animal agriculture and give PETA and HSUS more ammunition to fight with.
    3. This will not stop a ballot initiative like California’s Proposition 2 which banned farrowing crates and layer cages in California. I do agree with those supporting Issue 2, in that by proposing a constitutional amendment instead of adding a law to the Ohio Revised Code, it would slow the efforts of PETA and HSUS from getting a ballot initiative. An individual representing a group for Issue 2 said that “they would have to collect more signature to propose an amendment to the constitution, than to propose a law, therefore slowing there efforts.” The fact is they will still run an amendment to the constitution, that will try to repeal this one and insert their own version of animal care. PETA and HSUS would have to get signatures of 10% of the electors on a petition to present an amendment to the electors (2.01a The Initiative from The Ohio Constitution) There is nothing stopping PETA and HSUS from running another ballot issue after Issue 2 passes. They could still run a restrictive ballot issue like the one in California.
    4. This will not educate people about Production Livestock Agriculture in Ohio. The fact is whether we pass this or not we will still have to face the problem of educating the people of Ohio on the facts of Production Animal Agriculture. The truth is we will always be one election day away from losing animal agriculture in Ohio, until we embrace the need to educate the people of the facts and benefits of animal agriculture. If Issue 2 does pass as a way to delay the efforts of PETA and HSUS, we still must act immediately to increase the knowledge of consumers about animal agriculture production. We must inform the public that PETA’s and HSUS’s goal is not better animal care it is to bankrupt animal agriculture and abolish the harvesting of animals for meat. The following is a statement from PETA’s website “PETA operates under the simple principle that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.” We will not save animal agriculture with ballot initiatives, it will be saved by the decisions of consumers.
    5. Regardless of the outcome, Ohio Farmers will continue to devote themselves to proper Animal Care that will lead to abundant, safe, and efficient production of Animal Products to Feed The World!!!!
    To see the official wording of the amendament, the ballot wording, and the official arguments for and against, the website is http://www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/elections/IssueProcBallotBd/BallotBoard.aspx. To learn more about animal agriculture and the benefits of animal products in your diet log on to http://www.facesofag.com.

    Thank you

    Brandon Lawwill

  2. When the regulatory process has failed in Ohio, it is time to change it. Greg obviously has never been impacted with an industrial farm such as Park Farms moving in on his home of 32 years.The regulations were in place the politics overthrew them and that is the sad state of affairs in Ohio.

  3. Augie says:

    VOTE NO. I applaud the Editor– however you do not link to the opposition site— you will enjoy Animal Farm 2009 and the cartoons, as well as the Command Operations Center and 12 Major Ohio Small Farm Groups say VOTE NO hands down! Better see this:

    http://wholefoodusa.wordpress.com/category/2-family-farm-report-enforcement-and-regulatory-actions/

  4. Steve says:

    Can you actually legislate morality and if so how would enforce it. I think this is a shoot from the idea by the large corporate/family food factories to preserve their control of the markets. Who do you think is flooding the milk markets now.
    And on another note,why do our schools accept cash payments to put pop machines in our school cafeteria’s. We should outlaw that practice first!

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