There is no guaranteed seat for a production livestock producer. The board consists of 13 members: three family farmers, two veterinarians, one food safety expert, one representative of a local humane society, two members from statewide farm organizations, the dean of an Ohio agriculture college and two members representing Ohio consumers.
It does not specify that there be livestock family farmers, nor does it specify that the veterinarians be production livestock veterinarians. The intentions of the current governor may be to appoint production livestock farmers, but will a governor 10, 20 or 50 years from now do the same.
It gives the government more unchecked power. Giving this power to a small group of people could allow for regulations that may not meet the standards of the people.
If the board sways to far one way or the other, we could end up with a livestock system that totally disregards animal welfare, or if PETA or HSUS could grab control, they could ban animal agriculture and the sale of animal products in Ohio.
My biggest concern is that this could become more bad PR for animal agriculture and give PETA and HSUS more ammunition to fight with.
This will not stop a ballot initiative like California’s Proposition 2 which banned farrowing crates and layer cages in California.
An individual representing a group for Issue 2 said that “they would have to collect more signatures to propose an amendment to the Constitution, than to propose a law, therefore slowing there efforts.”
The fact is they will still run an amendment to the Constitution that will try to repeal this one and insert their own version of animal care. PETA and HSUS would have to get signatures of 10 percent of the electors on a petition to present an amendment to the electors.
They could still run a restrictive ballot issue like the one in California. This will not educate people about production livestock agriculture in Ohio.
The fact is, whether we pass this or not we will still have to face the problem of educating the people of Ohio on the facts of production animal agriculture.
The truth is, we will always be one election day away from losing animal agriculture in Ohio until we embrace the need to educate the people of the facts and benefits of animal agriculture.
We will not save animal agriculture with ballot initiatives — it will be saved by the decisions of consumers. Regardless of the outcome, Ohio farmers will continue to devote themselves to proper animal care that will lead to abundant, safe and efficient production of animal products to feed the world.