As someone who grew up down the road from a dairy farm in Belmont County, I have great respect for Ohio’s farmers. If you ever need a straight forward answer to a question, just ask a farmer.
You can count on folks who work hard and play by the rules to have a lot of good old-fashioned common sense. The same kind of common sense went into drafting State Issue 2, which I am proud to have jointly sponsored in the Ohio Senate with my colleague Sen. Bob Gibbs.
A “yes” vote on Issue 2 would set up the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board chaired by the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture with representation from farmers, consumers, veterinarians, food safety experts, agriculture colleges, farm organizations and the humane society.
It simply says that Ohioans, rather than out-of-state interests, should be the ones deciding the best animal care policies for Ohio. Out-of-state groups would like nothing better than to impose rigid and impractical regulations on how poultry and livestock are housed and cared for in Ohio.
The result would be devastating to farmers who would go out of business and to consumers who would have to pay higher food prices.
With agriculture representing a $93 billion business in Ohio, we cannot allow that to happen. Some animal rights groups have already succeeded in placing new restrictions on egg producers in California.
According to a study by the University of California, those regulations will likely lead to the elimination of almost all of California’s egg industry within just a few years. That’s a sobering thought when you consider Ohio is the nation’s second largest egg producer.
Whether they raise cattle, pigs or poultry, Ohio farmers understand one simple truth: their livelihood depends on producing healthy animals for safe and high quality food. They also believe in treating animals well because it’s the right thing to do.
That’s why farmers from every corner of our great state are supporting Issue 2 and a new framework for regulating livestock and animal care based on facts and science rather than scare tactics.
I hope you will join me in voting “yes” on Issue 2. It is the common sense approach to regulating Ohio’s No. 1 industry.
Sen. Jason Wilson
(Ohio Sen. Jason Wilson, D-Columbiana, is a member of the Ohio Senate Agriculture Committee.)