Voters should be baffled by Livestock Care Board’s actions

Editor:

Many Ohioans that voted for the existence of the Livestock Care Board are puzzled. Voters were led to believe that the Care Board would carefully examine existing animal husbandry practices, making changes only in those rare cases where change was justified.

The first year seems to have produced quite the opposite. First Strickland and select farm advocates made a deal with HSUS. Honestly it looked like blackmail. Who gave these folks the power to undermine what the voters had created by Constitutional amendment?

The Livestock Care Board needs to be democratic and autonomous. Instead it appears they have to react to the liking of HSUS or they will put their own amendment on the ballot — blackmail, once again.

The constitutionality of a special interest group changing proven and humane animal husbandry practices seems questionable. Why does our legal system allow this practice? I wonder what would happen if citizens passed an amendment that Walmart could no longer sell products made in China?

Kim Edwards

Sunbury, Ohio

25 Comments

  1. FED-UP &PO'd farmer says:

    Kim, while I completely agree with you, I would just change the word “baffled” to “infuriated”. We all need to contact Kasich and have this “Livestock Careboard” literally thrown out. Like you said, they are NOT using scientific fact but rather opinions from animal rights groups and their followers. The swine committee was even swayed because of the “agreement” made with HSUS, Srtickland and several false “pro-farmer” groups. While I in NO way endorsed the formation of the OLCB-(in fact I strongly opposed it)-I never dreamed that it would take less than a year to be infiltrated by the group that farmers were supposedly being protected from-and the regulations actuallly dictated by them.

  2. Terry Ward says:

    WHAT are you folks so afraid of ?
    Can anyone explain with sounding like a conspiracy nut?

  3. Mary says:

    Why do you assume anyone is afraid Terry? We disagree about people with no experience and no training making the decisions about how to care for animals, especially since they have an ulterior motive of promoting a vegan life style.

    For hundreds of years our universities across America have been researching what animals need. Our animals in America are cared for better now than ever before with very few exceptions.

    Dairy cows oftentimes sleep on waterbeds, mattresses, sand with the opportunity to get up to get water, hay, grain any time they want. Some farms even have robotic milkers so the cows can decide when they want to be milked. Research has taught us how many foot candles of light the cows want, what air exchanges and humidity levels work best, how to balance their rations to meet their needs. I am sure university professors and other dairy farmers can give you even more examples of how we have improved our care fo dairy cows.

    As a nurse who cares for patients with broken hips and other fractures, I do not want to see the price of food increased because HSUS or any other persons without experience and education are dictating how animals should be cared for.

    A huge majority of American women and most of the men do not get adequate calcium in their diet putting them at great risk of osteoporosis. There are many other essential nutrients in milk as well.

    If we require dairy farmers to use less efficient practices, then the price of milk goes up. When the price goes up too much, people don’t buy the nutritional foods they need.

    What would you think if I ask an accountant to come to the bedside of a patient to tell me how to provide critical intravenous care? We have a fundamental disagreement about using science to dictate how we care for animals.

  4. Terry Ward says:

    Mary, explain to me how 1% of the population, ‘vegans’ as you say,
    will be allowed…ALLOWED…to FORCE the other 99% of the population to give up their eating habits?

  5. Mary says:

    When the standards are changed to meet the HSUS demands, it costs more to raise the animals. For example, doubling the size of an animals pen will result in higher costs to clean pens, higher costs to maintain temperatures in the facility and a need for twice as many square foot of space to raise them. Construction of new barns would obviously cost a significant amount of money. And basic math tells us if you spend more to produce the food, the food will cost more.

    In a current example, with the passage of HSUS supported action in California that increases cage size of birds, now HSUS is even saying the increased size isn’t enough and they want more. Imagine the cost of raising billions of eggs if you have to walk over hundreds of acres to find the eggs. And, then you will need to work harder and spend more to clean them because birds will lay eggs in their own waste.

    Interestingly, university research shows us that is a true free range situation, birds actually have higher levels of stress chemicals. In nature they are prey, so housing them in pens reduces their fear of predators. But HSUS wants us to believe they should be free to roam.

  6. Terry Ward says:

    So you are saying that vegans are NOT the problem?
    Cost is the problem?

  7. Mary says:

    I think it is both because HSUS is driving us to make changes unsupported by science that add cost. The rest of the story is HSUS is managed by persons who think all of us shoud be vegans and animals should not be benefitting humans.

    These are fundamental differences in philosophy and they do influence the costs of production.

  8. Terry Ward says:

    You say “HSUS is managed by persons who think all of us shoud be vegans”

    So again, you are claiming that 1% of the population will determine what the other 99% will do.
    And you are saying the HSUS represents only 1% of americans?

  9. Mary says:

    HSUS has fewer than 500,000 members so it is a very small percent of Americans who have chosen to belong.

    Yes, they are trying to dictate what happens for everyone else. Read the original post again. HSUS came to Ohio’s governor to negoatiate a deal even before the board initiative passed by our own citizens had a chance to act. They did so because they want to change the way animals are cared for in Ohio.

  10. Terry Ward says:

    So you are saying that the Hsus is supported only by 500,000 people?

  11. Mary says:

    I don’t know how many actually support them. I know that the number of paid members is a very small number of Americans and the HSUS organization and its leaders are trying to change how we do things. They do not believe we should use animals for meat, clothing, or any other purpose.

  12. Terry Ward says:

    So what?
    Who cares what they believe.

    Again, you believe that 1% of the population who ‘do not believe we should use animals for meat, clothing, or any other purpose’ will be ALLOWED to remove the food supply from the other 99% of the population?

  13. Paul says:

    It is wrong to say only !% of the population is represented by the Humane Society. I gathered signatures for this ballot initiative this summer and we could have gotten far more signatures if we did not have to distribute them throughout the state. A good reminder is that there are over 500,000 signatures on this initiative. Most of these people are not vegans. Some of them that signed my forms were former chicken farmers who probably know as much as anybody about layered chicken farming and would like to shut it down. Prior to making claims about what this will do to food prices and agriculture in this state it would be wise to examine those states where similar laws have already been enacted. Michigan seems to have a robust cage-free egg industry. Pennsylvania is supplying organic and free-range eggs to other states. Instead of being a naysayer, I think most farmers in this state could be far more positive towards this issue and stop imagining the worst.

  14. Terry Ward says:

    Paul that is not what I said.
    Te inevitable complaint against the HSUS is that ‘vegans’ will put farmers out of business.
    When I ask if the ‘vegans’ who comprise 1% of the population, will be allowed to dictate to the rest of the 99% of the population, NOBODY responds.
    Because they know it is BS.
    AS you see above, Mary would not answer a direct question.

    So…anybody..
    You STILL claim the ‘vegan’ agenda of the HSUS will ‘force everyone to become vegans’ and will ‘put farmers out of business” ‘and shut agriculture down’?

    !% of the population will dictate to the other 99%?

    Anybody?

  15. Mary says:

    “Yes, they are trying to dictate what happens for everyone else.” I did answer your question. I also did not say they were going to be able to “shut down” agriculture.

    What I know is that proposals they promote will ADD to the cost of food, and create financial hardship for the smaller and the more inefficient farms.

    We have already seen what happens when costs of production go up for Ohio Dairy farmers. Thousands have gone out of business. The same thing happens in other farm sectors because the margin in farming is very narrow. That is one reason why we continue to move toward larger and more efficient production methodologies.

    Paul look what is happening in California. The chicken farmers are not moving to California. And, my point is why should we add to the cost when science does not support the changes that are being promoted. I think it is foolish to promote costly changes without allowing our research to test the hypotheses of the HSUS and animal welfare groups.

  16. Terry Ward says:

    Thank you Mary.
    One thing that causes so much anger on my side of the fence is the assumption that because we want a better life for animals we care NOTHING for farmers.
    I do not believe there is a person with even half a brain that rejoices at the loss of the small independent farmer.
    It is a tragedy of indescribable proportions.
    Contrary to the anti-HSUS snark, we DO know…and appreciate.. where out food comes from, and it is unbelievably insulting to hear over and over again that we are so stupid that we believe our dinner begins in a supermarket.
    But it is also insulting when you blame the plight of the farmer on ‘animal rights’ expecting that none of us understand ANYTHING of history.
    The independant farmer has been trampled on and squeezed out for many many years.
    LONG before the HSUS or the insultingly labeled ‘animal rights terrorist’ came to be.
    There is no doubt that the demand for a more humane treatment of animals will have a cost..
    But it is a cost that is miniscule compared to the actions of the monstrous corporate factory farms who swallow up anything in their path, make competition IMPOSSIBLE and move operations overseas at the drop of a nickel.
    They are your enemy.
    As are alternations in weather patterns and the astronomical price of feed and radical changes in demographics and the ever encroaching real estate demands upon farmland.
    You folks KNOW all this, yet you hire pr bullies in five thousand dollar suits to blame all your problems on us, expect us to buy it and insult us when we do not.

  17. Mary says:

    Thank you for providing more details.

    I am not blaming all of the problems on HSUS. My family has been farming in America for hundreds of years. I could teach college courses on the complexity of the challenges of farming in America.

    I happen to believe we can meet the animals needs with some of the modern practices. Where the are concerns like, “what is the right size cage for chickens,” “How can we best house sows,” etc…; those questions are best answered with top notch research at our land grant universities not based on intuition or emotion. Again, research has shown that with the largest open space chickens have higher stress chemicals, not lower.

    I think we have a bigger problem with harm to our farmers. The fatality rate for the agricultural industry in America is the highest of any industry. Farmers, foresters, and fishermen are three of the five most deadly occupations in America. The fatality rate for farmers is more than 10 times the average of all industries. One of the reasons is because we have such narrow margins that it can be difficult for a farmer to implement basic safety measures like putting a ROPS on an older tractor.

    I think we need to work for a better life for farmers and for their animals. I just think it needs to be done in a very thoughtful way so we don’t make things worse.

  18. Terry Ward says:

    Thank you Mary.
    Science, of course, is a great gift to mankind.
    But we have evolved into understanding that science is not ALL that is needed when we are dealing with living creatures…INCLUDING humans.
    Demanding more space for livestock does not mean sofas and chairs as we are accused of demanding.
    Most of us over the age of 30 have had experience of farms where animals ran ‘free’..but were certainly not considered as…or treated like…companion animals.
    Possibly our grandparent’s farming practices are not practical..or even do-able.. on very large farms, yet to argue exclusively for ‘science’, when science contradicts the practices of our grandparents, is not an argument that will fly, in it’s extremities.
    Hopefully some acceptable middle-ground will be achieved, but as long as the industry is controlled by the massive conglomerates, that achievement will not come without a fight.
    And as long as the massive conglomerates maintain their grip on the agricultural economy, a ‘better life for farmers’ will be ever more difficult to achieve.
    In my deepest heart I wish that it were different.

  19. Mary says:

    I think we need to be careful about assuming that we know what animals need because of how we feel though. Animals do not experience the world in the same way that humans do and that is why I think research is important to verify what we feel and what we think intuitively.

    For example- cows don’t have very good eye sight so lighting becomes much more important to them than it is for us. Lighting needs to be bright and even with minimal shadows because they have limited abilty to see differences in shades of grey and limited depth perception.

    They also like temperatures cooler than humans and that dictates the need to consider cooling mists in temperatures that would be quite comfortable for many people.

    Horses have very acute hearing so they do not tolerate loud noises, especially sudden ones. We incorporate different ways to interact with them because of this.

    Please consider that I also want what is best for the animals and I have seen though decades of experience that I can’t assume I know what they need based on how I see and experience the world so research is the method of determining what is best. We can research how the animals feel by monitoring their behaviors like frequesncy and character of the moos. I am not sure why animal rights supporters are afraid to let us use research when we can incorporate how the animals feel instead of assuming our intuition and feelings trump theirs.

  20. Terry Ward says:

    Again Mary, you are not the problem.
    Your industry is not self-policing.
    Few industries are..
    Which is why there is a need for regulators.
    Some industries are better regulated than others.
    The banking industry, for instance, is regulated, yet inadequate regulators allowed the banking industry to nearly bring the country to it’s knees.
    The regulators regulated on the side of the bankers, not Americans as a whole.
    Agriculture is regulated, yes, but rarely on the side of the livestock.
    And the only reason this has changed is because of the animal welfare/rights activists/organizations.
    Does anyone really wish us to believe that the unspeakable conditions at Hallmark or Cal-Maine or Murphy-Brown or Iowa Egg would be ANY DIFFERENT today if no undercover videos had been taken?
    As I said before, THOSE companies are your enemy, not the ‘activists’.
    Those are the organization who make everyone look bad and indeed, those are the organizations who helped create the Humane Society in the first place.

  21. Brent says:

    Terry…do you bring anything to the table other the running around shrieking at the top of your lungs and saying that you’re right and everyone else is wrong? I have seen your posts in other ag related publications and I have to say that I am surprised that you have not pulled out you token response of comparing someone to Hitler yet if they dare to disagree.

    While I normally dismiss your posts as a waste of time and space, this one proved interesting, you state “Your industry is not self-policing. Few industries are..Which is why there is a need for regulators. Some industries are better regulated than others…”.

    Interesting that you say that in regards to animal ag, but yet will turn around and bash Humanewatch. So why are you OK with groups like HSUS watching over the shoulder of farmers, but then turn around and bash a group and use personal attacks regarding a group watching over the shoulder of HSUS? Isn’t turnabout fair play?

  22. Brent says:

    Terry…you also state that “Possibly our grandparent’s farming practices are not practical..or even do-able.. on very large farms, yet to argue exclusively for ‘science’, when science contradicts the practices of our grandparents”. I am a 4th generation rancher and my family has also raised other types of livestock. My father has been deeply involved in production agriculture probably longer then you have been alive. If you listen to the old farmers and ranchers today they will save that raising livestock today is much better then it was ‘in the olden days’.

    Have you ever had to care for livestock in below zero temperatures? Have you ever had to care for livestock period?

  23. Brent says:

    “If you make it into Heaven, you can have that conversation with my grandparents.
    Maybe you can tell them that I am a ‘terrorist’.”

    WOW…hell of an argument. I guess it is true, you really do bring nothing to the table in the terms of debate and/or conversation.

  24. Terry Ward says:

    I made THAT mistake long ago.

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