COLUMBUS — The signature collecting can begin.
That is not the news many farmers across Ohio want to hear.
The ballot board of the Ohio Secretary of State’s office approved the proposed constitutional initiative Feb. 16 by the Ohioans for Humane Farms, which is a combination of the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary.
The initiative now moves on to the Ohio Attorney General’s office where it will certified so the group can begin collecting 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.
The petition to place the amendment on the ballot was filed Jan. 27 and included the signatures from Ohio voters in 48 counties in support of placing an anti-cruelty measure on the November ballot.
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.
The petition language said the board would have six years to implement these minimum standards, claiming it allows producers time to transition to what is being described as more humane systems.
The initiative would ask voters to require the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to adopt certain minimum standards, including:
• 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.