The battle begins: Ohioans for Humane Farms files petition

COLUMBUS — Producers and state officials had heard it was coming. Now, it’s official: The Humane Society of the United States launched a counterattack on Ohio Jan. 27.

Petition filed

Ohioans for Humane Farms, backed by HSUS and Farm Sanctuary, submitted a petition — including signatures from Ohio voters in 48 counties — to Ohio’s Secretary of State in support of placing an anti-cruelty measure on the November ballot.

However, according to Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State, the procedure is not that simple.

The petition is actually still with the Ohio Attorney General’s office. The official will decide if the petition has a fair and truthful statement before it can go any further.

The petition was filed Jan. 27 and the attorney general’s office has until Feb. 5 to make the decision.

If approved, the petition will make its way back to the secretary of state’s office where the ballot board will convene and vote on it. Then, the group can begin collecting signatures needed to place the initiative on the ballot.

Seeking signatures

The group contends it will seek to collect more than 600,000 signatures of registered Ohio voters.

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.

No surprise

Mike Bumgarner, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation vice president, Center for Food and Animal Issues, said the filing was not a shock.

“It’s disappointing, but not surprising,” Bumgarner said.

He described the announcement as a perfect example of an activist group trying to tell a group what to do. He added they aren’t happy unless they get their way.

“We are disappointed because they aren’t even giving the system a chance. They need to let the board develop and get to work. It is what the people voted for and now we need a chance to develop the process and figure out how to handle situations. That’s what the people voted for,” Bumgarner said.

Bumgarner said the process the people endorsed is under way and the legislature is working on the authorizing legislation.

“Once we get it completed, it will help to establish a safe food supply and reinforce consumer confidence,” Bumgarner said.

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.

Bumgarner said 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

33 Comments

  1. Wylie J says:

    Be careful of petitioners. They are usually from out of town. Anyone approached should ask where they are from. I would not trust any petition that HSUS circulates as if they tried they would come up with a petition with 10 million on it.

    Tell them they can stay out of Ohios business and Taiwans and Koreas re: trade with those countries.

    They just want a vagan world through “animal protection” and that means they are protecting animals from human intervention any way they can. They used to be animal rights…and that drew up negativity, then they became animal welfare which was a lie and I believe animal protection suits them fine. Talk to you government representatives and let them know you are sick and tired of an animal rights organization dictating what should be government policy.

    WJ

  2. Mary says:

    I guess we shouldn’t be totally surprised. It is the way HSUS operates. Hope the farm organizations get it together and are very proactive about this attack on Ohio. Good PR about our farms would be good. Unfortunately, it takes money, but running ads on TV, radio, newspapers, and maybe being on talk shows would be good to get started on. I really am aggravated that our OHIO voters already voted that they want Ohio to stay in control of our agricultures, yet here comes HSUS trying to override us! How dare they? They will hire people from all over to get people to sign petitions. I’m not sure it is legal for someone from out of state to carry a petition for an Ohio issue. Request ID, like driver’s licenses, if someone asks you to sign. I just read a really good email on what to do about these people. Hoping we win again…

  3. Agville.com is sponsoring a chat tonight with David White of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation at 7:30 pm CST. David helped garner support and pass State Issue 2, a measure to establish the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Ask David what plans are in place to take on this next issue.

    Go to Agville.com, become a member, sign in and take part in the chat. It’s free.

  4. Jane says:

    Chat with David White from the Ohio Farm Bureau about this latest move tonight at 7:30 CST on http://Agville.com

  5. hay2straw says:

    Does anybody live less than 1/4 mile away from a hogbarn? When we go out early a.m. to let our poultry out to pasture, it is impossible to breath for the stink. It is more than an enormous stink, it gets into your lungs so you can’t breathe.
    PS. they built that hogbarn alongside of our creek.

    Is anybody ever going to consider traditional farmers with outside animals. I don’t like the HSUS but they are the only ones that are not against us!!

  6. ST says:

    This is good news! I’m not an out of towner. I’m a life-long Ohioan and glad the U.S. Humane Society is not going to let greedy corporate interests try to hookwink Ohioans into thinking that the so-called “Livestock Standards Board” is going to be anything more than a bogus, beaucratic, front group. Thank God for the U.S. Humane Society so that meat-eaters and vegetarians have a chance to see real laws enacted providing standards of human decency in this society!

  7. TSP says:

    I understand to a point your side, “Hay2Straw” The only point that I would like to drive home to you is that HSUS does not care about livestock raised outside or free-range livestock either! Their number one goal is to eliminate Animal Livestock Production in the United States. That means they want to completely wipe out all livestock production!! Don’t underestimate them, if they get this small issue passed in Ohio they will then start working on other issues and eventually they will come after your farm and way of life as well. Read up on their actions in California!! There was an Egg farm there that built a state of the art facility that was Proposition 2 friendly and they thought met all of the HSUS demands for poultry, before any chickens even entered the building the HSUS was there protesting and filling out petitions to halt them as well because they had a “new” set of standards for the Egg Production Industry. It will NEVER stop with them until they reach their ultimate goal of NO Animal Livestock Production in the USA!!!!

  8. A Farmer says:

    hay2straw, hogs stink!! Sorry thats life. And if you think that HSUS is for the small farm, or any farm you are ignorant. HSUS is for the complete outlaw of all animal agriculture.

    And ST you must be a HSUS oprative, here we go again with the “evil corporations” you know those big farms support families just like the small ones do. Ohioians were not hoodwinked, they are smarter than people in Cal. and they will defeat this crap again. HSUS is not for any meat eating, no matter what the standards are. “Human decency”? I think we are talking about animals here, not humans.

    You people don’t care about the jobs, an OSU study says a law like this in Ohio will mean 8,000 + lost jobs. But you don’t care about that do you, you don’t care if some does little kid has food to eat and a place to live. It’s all worth it as long as some chicken has more space. I realize that in your fantasy world some dude with six chickens could “feed the country” but that does not work in reality. HSUS are horid, vile people who want to destroy our way of life. Tell everyone you know, DO NOT sign thier petition.

  9. mary gibson says:

    What I do know is Farm Bureau is also not for the samll and medium sized farms and could care less about the impact of these industrial farms on their own members! I met with Dave White a number of years ago at a meeting in Indianapolis on this issue. I showed him pictures of what our family was enduring for the sake of Park Farms, the industrial broiler operation deliberately moved from where its permits were on Preston Road, to 500 west of my home on Ravenna Ave., it is the only one of their sites in Marlboro not named for the street on which it is located. Dave would not even look at the pictures preferring instead to look rudely off in the distance.

    Is this really a family farm organization? I suggest they should change their name to industrial Farm Bureau as they think animals are ball bearings and can be raised in the manner which does not concern itself with welfare or humanity only profits. Not a good picture of the family farm in any case! What happened to the real farmers in Ohio?

  10. EdenSprings says:

    If you think this is meant to protect small farmers, think again!

    Wayne Pacelle, President of HSUS:
    “We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding …One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals.” – Animal People News (May 1, 1993)

    Ingrid Newkirk, President of PeTA:
    “There is no hidden agenda. If anybody wonders about what’s this with all these reforms, you can hear us clearly: Our goal is total animal liberation.” – Animal Rights 2002 convention

    “My goal is the total abolition of all animal agriculture” –Former ALF terrorist & now HSUS coordinator, John Goodwin

  11. Vickie says:

    How quickly everyone forgets that the “American Farm Bureau Federation based in Washington D.C.” was a large contributor to Issue 2 along with Cargill in S.D. and Monsanto of Iowa. The two largest, single contributors were Cooper Farms and Ohio Fresh Eggs plus New Day Farms of Wisconsin made a large donation. Other donors were from Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York and Tennessee.

    Isn’t it ironic that they criticize the HSUS as being “out-of-state” activists but conveniently ignore that FACTORY farm supporters, not FAMILY farmers, paid for the Issue 2 campaign?

  12. VS says:

    HSUS wants the entire population to be vegan. If you do research, legitimate research about what they are trying to do, they are honestly going to cause prices for eggs, pork, milk, etc to sky rocket. Do you enjoy paying what $1.50 for eggs or $2.50 for a gallon of milk? If so, then you won’t support the bill otherwise get ready for prices to skyrocket and for the production buisness to stay in Ohio and benefit Ohioans. Think about it and do your research before you decide.

  13. LP says:

    It does provoke an interesting debate. I’m not fond of the HSUS, they are akin to PETA in many cases. I do have to say I would be willing to pay a bit more for meat, eggs and milk if I knew for fact that there wasn’t anything possibly in it besides what was supposed to be in there..like milk and only milk. Start doing some reading and you will find out what is also in there. I do believe that most farmers that produce a quality product already comply by most of what is proposed to begin with. People need to read and get educated, If the HSUS really wanted to stop Factory Farms, there are ways that could be way more effective.

  14. educateyourself87 says:

    I fully support this ballot measure. Every animal deserves the right to stand up, lay down, and turn around. Anyone who has actually educated themselves and has seen what these animals endure on factory farms in Ohio would agree with this. Don’t buy into corporate agricultural interests. All they care about is profit.

  15. sam says:

    i am truly amazed that people believe what the hsus tells them, they are a emotion based group who tries to snowball people who aren’t familiar with farm animals to get their way, if something like this would pass, the poultry, pork and veal business would move to another state. The farmers do take good care of their animals, why should a out of state, emotion based group, be able to tell the state of ohio how to run their business, i think none of us need that.

  16. Christine says:

    Have you seen conditions in the large factory farms? I have and it’s truly disgusting. It is so disrespectful to treat animals we eat that way. They deserve room to walk and stretch their legs and be killed humanely. I think placing a measure on the ballot is a good idea so that large corporations have to conform to more ethical farming practices. And for folks who complain about the resulting price of dairy, the only reason it’s so cheap in the first place is because of heavy goby subsidies so consider yourselves lucky you don’t have to pay more. It’s time for us to be less selfish and start thinking about the other creatures who we share this planet with!!!

  17. sam says:

    if you want to feel that way Christine that is your right, but the people of Ohio don’t need the hsus to tell them what is right or wrong, if what the hsus puts on the ballot passes, then all the animal farming will move, basically what the hsus is trying to do , is make it very expensive for all animal farming by lawsuits, money spent fighting ballot measures and so forth, all because they think people should not eat meat,and when thousands of people lose their jobs , i guess they can look to the hsus to pay their bills

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

    Christine: Pease give the name and address of the farm you have personally, ACTUALLY seen this at. As a farmer, they have the right to know who is attacking them, AND the right to give their side of the story. Please include your last name so they can recollect just when you were actually at their farm. Fellow farmers: Its just far too easy to write crap like this-we farmers need to be exposing just how much of this is totally fabricated-and give any farmers who may be involved the right to respond.

  19. New Philly Pharmer says:

    In some states the HSUS is Petitioning for animals to be represented by an attorney, placed on the 2010 ballot for public vote. They need 100,000 signatures to do this.
    Can you see an animal collecting punitive damages from its owner? Well, guess what attorney gets to handle the animals trust after they wipe out the family on the farm?

    SOLUTION – Farmers circulate a petition to limit the number of attorneys in the state to be placed on the 2010 Ballot. If they have to be hired by animals there must be too many attorneys for the work available already. Maybe a yearly exam on new legislation in all facets of law for existing attorneys.
    Now if you HSUS folks think the public is a good judge of someone else’s occupation. Let us see who fills their petition the fastest and wins the vote on the ballot. Of course you know how the general public just loves lawyers.

  20. Farmer who cares says:

    Part of the problem is that people don’t really know what they’re talking about when they say ‘factory farm.’ I bet most who use that term would be shocked to learn that most ‘factory farms’ are owned and operated by families who are just trying to make a living doing what they know best. Last time I visited what you might call a ‘factory’ farm, I had to take a shower before entering the barns, put sanitized clothing on and assure them that I was not sick (yes, animals get sick from people).

    LP would be willing to ‘pay more for milk meat and eggs if they knew for sure nothing else was in it.’ What you don’t understand, LP, is that if this goes through, your milk, meat and eggs will be coming from a foreign country that has less regard for animal WELFARE and food safety than the United States does. Ask California about food prices.

  21. Jason Smith says:

    I find it ironic people complaining about signiture gathers being from out of state when most of the money used in the campaign for issue 2 came from big agribusinesses from outside Ohio

  22. Elsie says:

    Why are you so worried about humane farm care? HSUS does not promote a vegan diet, they just want some proper care. What this country does to animals is a shame! Careful… God is watching you.

  23. Bethany says:

    “Bumgarner said 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.”

    I found this interesting. We all know that what isn’t supposed to go into our food ends up in it anyway.

    Either way, I believe people need to open their eyes and see that HSUS is not trying to ban farming! What’s wrong with giving these animals a better quality of life while they’re here?

    It really does seem like common sense. But no, we’re going to take these animals assuming we’re superior to them and while we’re at it, we’re going to completely make their lives a living hell. Who wouldn’t want to put an end to this?!?

    Oh yea, the people who are gung-ho on making more profits and the people who think government should control it. Sure, government should have a look out of what’s happening in factory farms-of course… but don’t you know they’re in it more for the money-not for you?

    I’m confused at most of these comments. I will put my life on it that 99% of these people who are against this petition have never stepped foot into a factory farm and have witnessed this terrible truth.

  24. Bekki says:

    First off, there are lots of factory farms in Ohio and they are polluting Lake Erie, as well as being inhumane.
    http://www.factoryfarmmap.org/
    Secondly, the factory farms are putting family farms out of business. Third, there are plenty of Ohioans who want to support family farms are good farming practices which are humane. I buy all of my produce and meat from small family farms local to me and I am grateful to be able to do so.
    Most of the support for Issue 2 came from the factory farm owners, because they didn’t want good laws that would limit their bad farming practices to be enacted.

  25. Bekki says:

    OH yes, and guess what? the federal laws do not supersede the state laws!!! so the downer cow thing is superfluous.

  26. Carol says:

    To rebuttal some of the comments here, I live in Ohio and I am circulating petitions. I am not an out of stater; I am not paid. For those of you against HSUS and this petition, you really need to get your facts straight before expressing your uneducated opinions. Factory farming – we are NOT talking family-owned farms – are nothing more than greedy bureaucracies allowed to “bend” federal requirements. It’s ALLLLL about the almighty dollar. There is no concern for the health of these animals that will be consumed by you and your family or the drugs pumped into their systems – including arsenic and multiple carcinogenic drugs – that will, in turn, be passed to YOU and your family through meat and dairy products. You don’t even TRY to get the facts; you simply see an organization involved and take defense. LEARN what you are defending and then explain WHY you are defending it. If after learning the FACTS and TRUTH you can still bad-mouth what hundreds of Ohio residents are trying to do with this measure, then YOU, my friend, are a waste of human life with NO regard or respect for living creatures including humans. Bottom line. It is YOU who has the underlying issues of needing to inflict pain and suffering on the innocent as a way of coping with your own deep-seeded abuses.

  27. Dave says:

    I’m one of those “out of towners” you refer to.

    Guess what? Us “out of towners” buy dairy products, we buy meat, we buy poultry…and we also have a voice.

    Many of us are not crying “stop eating meat”, but PLENTY of us are sick and tired of needless cruelty to ANY living creature. As I recall, all of us are creations of God…or if you choose not to believe in God, SOME higher power, and just maybe that higher power trusted the more intelligent of us with not abusing his other creatures. Of course, if you choose to ignore that as anyone who commits crimes on others does, then that’s your prerogative.

    Us “out of towners” are from all over, and yes, we do demand that factory farms treat living, breathing beings with kindness. It’s how you make a living; not carte blanche to be cruel. I think you’ll find that most people who are normal human beings don’t wish for cruelty. Most do like meat, dairy products, poultry, etc., however. But if push comes to shove, we can and will cut it out, or at least go with local and/or small farmers who still treat their livestock humanely.

    So we’re “out of towners”…does this mean we know nothing about animals, or pain, or suffering? Does the fact that we are “out of towners” mean that farm factories who produce our meat and dairy, etc., can treat animals with cruelty?

    Just remember a couple of things. We do not hate the farmer. We don’t hate the farm factory owner, nor do we hate the workers. Most of us do not demand that people don’t eat meat or dairy. We certainly don’t hate Ohio or the people there, by any means. But we DO ask that you represent your state as one that is humane and kind, and genuine…NOT the opposite. All farmers and factory farms should be willing to work overtime to try and do their best to make this whole process a little easier for the creatures that God created, who we choose to use for our own survival and pleasure. YOU are the chiefs in charge of this chain of food; represent YOURSELVES by being something you can be proud of. You should be clamoring to set the example for the rest of the country; now THAT’s something you could be proud of. Because we the “out of towners” who purchase your product want humane treatment for our food, and yes, we can just as easily turn off the faucet as we turned it on.

  28. Judy Yenney Piqua, OH says:

    Ohio is one of the top 4 states wlth the worst animal cruelty laws. Take the Conklin farm just in the news outsde of Plain City, and the terrible pig farm exposure in Wayne County. I could go on and on as I have seen factory farming in Ohio and most of it is just plane disgusting!!!
    Our farm animals need to be treated with kindness and respect for their discomfort.

  29. sam says:

    You can find isolated abuses in any business, the hsus is trying to force the poultry , veal and pork in Ohio to shut down by what they are trying to get on the ballot, they play dumb when asked about it, so basically what will happen is if they get it on the ballot and it passes is that Ohio will be buying its eggs, pork and veal from other states that produce the same way, all because the hsus wants to run the show and hunted all over the state to find an abusive incident to make it look like it is commom place, which it is not, farmers, big or small, take care of their animals, its their life, if we let the hsus do what they want we will be importing eggs and meat in the future, they are the worst enemy the state of Ohio has, maybe they can help all the families pay their bills who lose their jobs thanks to the hsus, i know alot of people have never been on a farm, but yet they think they can tell a farmer what to do based of info from the hsus, people have talked about “God is watching you”, maybe the hsus should think about that!

  30. MISUNDERSTOOD says:

    I believe in freedom of speech and always will. The problem I have with all of this is that I believe everyone is forgetting is that we,ohio residence,have been tricked on last years ballot. We voted for our animals to be treated humanely and to have a book produced that had the rules and regulations of how we as farmers are to treat our livestock. But what happened is that a book was formed to keep the HSUS off our backs and to say we have now a book, but when someone came to see our books to their surprise there was no rules or regulations put in this book. I consider this a white lie. Why do we need to lie why can’t we just follow the rules of what we voted for. We were betrayed and what else are they going to come up with and how can we believe what is put in the ballot is true. We voted for a book of rules and regulations and our intentions were good. Why is it that we were tricked and now Ohio called for HSUS and Mercy for Animals and who ever else to step in and gather signatures for a something that should have been done in the first place. 600,000 signatures for rules and regulations that should have been in the first place this is just wrong.Remember Ohio called for help they did not just step in and take over. We asked them to. Some people need to see Food,Inc. this will help people to understand what is wrong with this world. We need safer food to eat for our selves and our children and now our future children. We are a fat America and now it is only us Americans that can change that. So I believe in signing the petiton and to take a stand for the animals that have no voice.

  31. sam says:

    Well the board was just formed a few months ago, so i doubt if they have the so called “book” put together you are talking about. To believe a few pictures or incidents that the hsus shows the public and think it is common place is beyond me! The hsus has carefully worded the initiative and knows if this passes it will destroy Ohio animal farming! This initiative is like having one that says no car manufacturer can use power tools, due to too much enery being wasted. For a group to outright lie and destroy jobs, shut down alot of businesses people have built up their entire life, is totally wrong!

  32. joe says:

    To Mis-Understood.I don’t know where you got your information, but the State of Ohio did not ask the hsus to come to Ohio , so i guess the only lie here is the one you are telling. This is exactly the problem with these special interest emotional groups. They will say and do anything to get their way, regardless of the outcome on other people!

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