Opponents of Livestock Care Board testify in Columbus

COLUMBUS — The House Agriculture Committee listened to more than two hours of opponent testimony to implementing the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board at the Ohio Capitol Feb. 3.

A preacher, animal welfare advocates, the executive director for the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, and several cattle farmers spoke to the problems they see with Ohio H. B. 414 — legislation designed to get the board up and running.

Among concerns was the price to fund the board, which is expected to receive at least $500,000 per year from the Commercial Feed and Seed fund. This will come from an additional fee of 15 cents per ton of feed, spread over three increments from the day the bill becomes effective, to the start of 2012.

Costly enough

David Hutchins, of Millcreek Angus Farm in West Mansfield, said livestock producers already are faced with tough marketing situations, and should not be dealt another expense.

“Because the cost of a tax increase would be passed directly onto the livestock producer, it would add to the already-increasing production costs,” he said.

At 15 cents a ton, the increase would cost a producer slightly more than a third of a cent for a 50 pound bag of feed. Buying 200 tons would cost $30.

Hutchins said he thinks because the general public voted in favor of Ohio’s Issue 2 in November, the “general public” should foot the bills to operate it.

He and a couple other cattlemen also questioned whether the goal of local food can really be accomplished, because of the lack of large-scale processing plants in Ohio.

Mount Gilead farmer Larry Queen asked Representatives how they will guarantee more food is produced locally, when the infrastructure doesn’t support it.

“My cattle have to be shipped out of state because of a lack of processing facilities here in Ohio … I feel this (added fee) would be a hard take for an economically depressed Livestock Industry at this time,” he said.

Forced out?

Queen asked Representatives whether the new rules will “improve our operations or will it be a financial burden that will cause many of us to exit livestock production here in Ohio.”

But farmers could also be exiting the industry, if the Issue 2 campaign had failed, its proponents said last fall. Supporters warned farmers big and small they would face legislation similar to California’s Proposition 2, which resulted in changes to farm practices much more costly than the 15 cent feed tax.

Trevor Stover, a cattleman from Lexington, Ohio, said Issue 2 was largely backed by Ohio Farm Bureau, which caused the public to mistakenly believe the issue was a vote in favor of saving family farms.

Stopping HSUS

Stover said Farm Bureau told the public that a “no” vote would result in a dictated set of standards by the animal rights group Humane Society of The United States.

On Feb. 1, HSUS announced its petition to be on Ohio’s Nov. 2010 ballot, to persuade voters to approve its own standard for the care board.

However, Ohio Farm Bureau’s stance was not necessarily to stop HSUS, but to “preempt” its efforts and put an Ohio-specific plan in place.

“The HSUS scheme was not unexpected,” OFBF media said in a released statement. Threats from HSUS to put their own issue on the ballot were made before the election, independent of the outcome.

Right order

Stover further asked why Representatives are trying to set a budget for the board, before it’s in place.

“How can we possibly set funding aside for a non-existent board to enforce standards that have not yet been debated?” he asked.

Ohio Farm Bureau, which supported Issue 2, recently asked the opposite — how can the board be criticized before it’s even created.

“The enabling legislation hasn’t passed; the board hasn’t been appointed and the first discussions on what standards Ohioans find acceptable hasn’t been held, said Jack Fisher, OFBF’s executive vice president, in a released statement.

At one point during testimony, chairman John Domenick, D-Smithfield, reminded those testifying that the House was considering how to implement the new board, and with what funds, not the actual standards of enforcement. Those will come during later discussions, he indicated.

Rep. Dave Hall, R-Millersburg, said transparency remains an important focus in forming the board and how it will operate. All testimony is valued, he said, but some is a repeat of opponent testimony given last year, before the issue of creating the board was decided.

(Updates to this story are forthcoming).

About the Author

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties. More Stories by Chris Kick

6 Comments

  1. Wylie J says:

    Unfortunately HSUS the vegan animal eradication social movement is not about animal welfare. People who believe they are interested in animal welfare or animals kept in close promimity are being misled. HSUS is an animal rights movement! They believe that it is cruel to kill a cow, or chicken or get milk, they believe in eating no meat, dairy of course Mr. Pacelle does not discuss that part of his agenda, it is not too popular within meat eater and dairy eaters.
    I suspect those who really oppose this are in fact animal rights activist themselves. A few of us has already seen how HSUS has infiltrated churches in all religions with their message of vegan phylosophy. I will guarentee in a year or more if HSUS is let in the front door people of Ohio will be very sorry.
    It will give them a license to drive in your driveway and confiscate animals under the guise of abuse! There goes livelihood and nothing one can do about it.
    WJ

  2. Who is paying Jared and Wylie? I suspect they are much in the employ of Farm Bureau and could care less about neighbors or animals. Hopefully this will all come out in the future!

  3. Jared Smith says:

    Mary, I am a dairy farmer, and want people to know the truth about hsus.

  4. ENRLady says:

    Perhaps you all should read HB 414. It gives the ODA the right to enter your property without a warrent or notice at any time. It infringes on the 4th amendment of the constitution. How do you like them property rights. An extension of police power to the ODA, I am shuddering all ready.

  5. Dynadobe says:

    ENRLady, do you believe that if the HSUS is given the job of overseeing animal agriculture, they will not make unannounced inspections? Think again! At least with ODA, we have a chance that farmers that need to make corrections will be allowed to make those corrections without having all their animals stolen from them! This is what the HSUS raids do, they take all your animals, very often of fabricated ‘evidence’. The dog owners and breeders are being raided at unnounced times. Have some crates that haven’t been cleaned at 8 am yet? You get charged with abuse and negligence. The dogs dumped their water bowl, or you only provide water periodically so they don’t dump it? You get charged for not providing water. We are seeing amazing outright thefts of dogs from owners and breeders that are truly responsible and respectable, although sometimes they actually do find a situation that is deplorable. Anyone that thinks HSUS will NOT grab police power is dreaming! This is what they do! Wearing badges and guns, they intimidate people to give up their animals. And even when charges are dismissed in court, those animals have already been dispersed, sold, or euthanized. Too late to get them back. ODA will need to answer to Ohio, HSUS will not answer to anyone!

Leave a Comment

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.

eNewsletter

Get our Top Stories in Your Inbox

Services

Recent News