(Editor’s note: The following letter was edited May 4, 2012. The original version contained a quoted statement that could not be verified.)
Senate bill 310 offered Ohio Farm Bureau the opportunity to redeem themselves from the disgrace of signing the agreement with Ted Strickland and the Humane Society of the U.S. in June 2010, where they sacrificed the exotic animal industry and the commercial dog breeders in order to gain some temporary protection for the livestock industry.
Rather than do the honorable thing, they chose to twist their own state policy to justify supporting a ban on ownership of a long list of animals, which includes many no larger or more dangerous than the family dog or cat.
I am a Farm Bureau member. So are hundreds if not thousands of other Ohioans like me who own animals that may or may not be included in the current version of SB310, sponsored by Senator Troy Balderson, of Coshocton County.
We expect Farm Bureau to support all of Ohio’s agriculture industry, not just cows, pigs and chickens. Our farms are the ones down the road from you that are too hilly to till or too small to pasture. We’re the people who buy that 5- or 10-acre plot you couldn’t sell to a “real” farmer, but it’s perfect for our kinds of animals.
Farm Bureau, we don’t pay you our $60 dues so you can use it against us. Why don’t you refund our money right now so we can give it to someone who supports all of agriculture and doesn’t tamper with the state policies we helped you write:
Commodities Animal Care:
“We recognize that animals are personal property and we oppose legislation and/or ballot initiatives that, unless clear abuse is evident, restricts the private ownership or use of animals or that inhibits free trade of any animal provided it meets Ohio Department of Agriculture testing and import requirements….
“We support more specific regulations governing the housing, care and movement of exotic animals by private individuals. (‘Specific regulations’ do not equal a ban on ownership of these animals. See Section 301 above.) We support that oversight authority of any livestock be it conventional, alternative or exotic rest with the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
(Britton is a board member of Ohio Association of Animal Owners)