Proposed constitutional amendment moves forward

COLUMBUS — A brief gasp came across the agricultural industry Feb. 5, but it soon was replaced with a force to move forward.

The gasp came after the Ohio Attorney General’s office certified the proposed constitutional amendment filed Jan. 27 by the Ohioans for Humane Farms, which is a combination of the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary.

The petition included the signatures from Ohio voters in 48 counties in support of placing an anti-cruelty measure on the November ballot.

But before the secretary of state can put the measure on the November 2010 ballot, it had to go the attorney general’s office to determine if it is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law or constitutional amendment.

Decision made

The decision was made Feb. 5 that it met the criteria and it now must go in front of the ballot board. The board will convene and vote on it. Then, the Ohioans for Humane Farms group can begin collecting signatures needed to place the initiative on the ballot.

Seeking signatures

The group will need a total of 402,275 signatures of registered voters in Ohio, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

The group will need 10 percent of the total number that voted in the last governor’s election. The signatures will have to be from at least 44 of the 88 counties. In addition, the petition must include 5 percent of the total vote cast for the governor in that county during the last gubernatorial election. The petitions will have to be completed and back to the secretary of state 125 days prior to the November election.

Seek minimum standards

The measure proposed by the Ohioans for Humane Farms would ask voters to require the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to adopt certain minimum standards.

Regulations requested:

• End confinement for veal calves, breeding pigs and chickens in what has been described by the Humane Society of the United States as “tiny cages.”

• Stop “downer cows” or animals too sick or injured to stand or walk on their own from entering the human food chain.

• Establish regulations for the euthanasia of sick and injured animals.

Mike Bumgarner, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation vice president, Center for Food and Animal Issues, told Farm and Dairy previously the “downer cow” request is only propaganda to work on human emotions because there is already a federal regulation that does not allow “downer cows” into the food supply.

Six years

The petition language said the board would have six years to implement these minimum standards, allowing producers time to transition to what is being described as more humane systems.

According to a news release, if the measure is enacted, the Ohioans for Humane Farms group hopes that the livestock board would immediately adopt minimum standards that address euthanasia and downer animals.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

4 Comments

  1. Mary says:

    We cannot let HSUS in the door, that’s the bottom line. As shown in California, the answer to how big does a cage need to be for the chickens is NO CAGE! This might work on a small farm setting, but on a large farm, letting thousands of chickens intermingle is not healthy. Chickens panic quickly, and when they pile up in a panic, the bottom chickens can and do suffocate. Chickens also cannibalize each other. Please, voters, keep our farms in the hands of Ohio. This effort would be a huge step for the HSUS in their agenda to abolish all animal agriculture. Farmers just cannot afford to meet their extreme requirements! The US cannot exist without starvation, if meat and meat byproducts are no longer available, or so high-priced that we can’t feed our families. Our farmers care about their livestock, it is their livelihood. Inhumanely treated animals do not produce. Also be aware that HSUS will hire many OUT OF STATE people to carry these petitions around. They have NO business dictate to Ohioans. If you see someone with this petition, ask for ID. If you disagree with it, start a debate and hopefully attract a crowd. Be ready with your ‘talking points’.

  2. mary gibson says:

    A typical response from a Farm Bureau member! We can do better and should do better both for the animals in the CAFOS and the neighbors subjected to all the probems associated with CAFOS.

    As a Farm Bureau member, I continue to ask why not create the two tier system of animal industry? Those requiring permits considered commercial as in most other states, having no zoning abatements and unable to plunk themselves down where they might choose,paying their fair share of taxes, unable to destroy the personal property rights of neighbors. Why are you not listening Farm Bureau? Do you need a Verizon phone?

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

    Mary Gibson; While I can somewhat sympathize with you regarding your past problems with FB., please do not make rude comments just because someone is a member. HSUS is against ALL animal farming- NOT JUST large farms (CAFOs). I am a small farmer and NONE of us-both large and small- should be told how to raise our animals-END OF DISSCUSSION!!! If someone doesnt like how I raise my animals-they have a constitutional right to buy their milk and eggs from another farm..I really do not give a flying fart! However, it is our constitutional right to have and protect our property (our animals)- they are NOT public property. I totally agree with Mary #1. Please remember that HSUS doesnt want ANY animal ownership-even pets- and abolishment of large farms is their first step-if and when that occurs, they will move onto ALL smaller livestock farms, then onto pets. Their ultimate goal is complete animal owner eradication and forcing a vegetarian diet. Dont let them dupe you..

  4. sam says:

    Who is the hsus to tell farmers and the people of Ohio how to run their business, they are doing this to justify their existence and try to run animal farming out of business, which is what this proposal of theirs will do. Farmers do take good care of their animals, that is where their moeny is invested, why wouldn’t they. The hsus is the worst enemy the people of Ohio have.

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