Humane society: Ohio, here we come


SALEM, Ohio — Ohio farmers, you’ve had your warning.

The Humane Society of the United States — the group who’s successfully outlawed hen cages, veal crates and gestation stalls in California, Arizona and Florida — has its eye on doing the same in the Buckeye State.

The organization sent representatives to Columbus in February to make sure the state’s livestock industry knows it’s watching.

They asked

The Feb. 17 meeting, which came at the request of the humane society, involved three of that organization’s staffers as well as representatives of Ohio’s poultry, beef, pork and veterinary medical associations, plus the Farm Bureau.

The purpose of their visit? “To get all the industry reps to go back to their individual groups and gain the authority to negotiate with the humane society on legislation in Ohio,” according to Farm Bureau‘s Joe Cornely.

And they weren’t shy about their first order of business, either, Cornely said: They want to ban the use of poultry cages, veal crates and gestation stalls here.

“That’s what they told us they want. They said they will legislate or take the issue to the ballot, that it will be expensive for both sides, and that agriculture would lose.”

Despite such demands, Cornely described the meeting as “extremely cordial” but was quick to say “certainly nobody changed anyone else’s mind.”

“We started from polar opposites,” he said. “It’s clear they have plans for Ohio. All of agriculture needs to have some serious internal discussions about it.”

Ohio Cattlemen’s Association director Elizabeth Harsh called the meeting “a good wake-up call” for the state’s animal agriculture producers, including those veal producers affiliated with the cattlemen’s association. The discussion centered largely around confinement housing for multiple species, which Harsh called “an agenda that certainly involves us all.”

“It’s proof we can’t tell our own production story often enough to get the message out there. We’ve got to tell it over and over and over again.”

“They said they will legislate or take the issue to the ballot, that it will be expensive for both sides, and that agriculture would lose.”

Ohio Farm Bureau’s Joe Cornely,

explaining HSUS agenda for Ohio

Away with common sense

Dick Isler, executive vice president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council, sat in on the session with hopes to explain the reasons for using gestation crates in the pork industry.

“I grew up on a hog farm without stalls, where we used group housing. It’s my and my family’s personal opinion that it’s much better off for animals and humans with the way hogs are housed today,” Isler said.

Isler said his viewpoint was “very much disagreed” with, and it appeared humane society representatives came into the meeting with their minds made up.

“They clearly stated they want to do away with animal agriculture and large-scale farming, which is how we produce food now for efficiency. If they get their ways, food prices will go up and we’ll have to import meat and eggs from other states or countries,” Isler said.


Joe Cornely, who serves as senior director of corporate communications for the Farm Bureau, said there’s no hiding now for Ohio farmers.

“Hoping it will go away, or thinking it won’t come here, is not an option. Frankly, enough of us in agriculture don’t know what we’re facing, and that’s worrisome,” he said.

Cornely also said it’s troubling that many in the state’s farming community still don’t know what the Humane Society of the United States is, or what its mission and true objective is — “the end of all animals being used by humans for any reason, even protein.”

“Certainly we’ll not leap to a vegan society overnight, but they’re taking and succeeding at small steps toward their ultimate goal,” Cornely said.

Still working

Just days before the livestock industry powwow, the humane society gathered Ohio citizens in the state capital to meet with lawmakers and urge them to pass bills to protect animals. Issues addressed were puppy mills, factory farming and organized animal fights.

Some 150 people from 78 counties participate in the humane lobby day.

As of presstime, Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the humane society, had not returned calls to comment on either event.


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  1. Andrea,
    Who can we contact to show our support to the Ohio’s agriculture industry form the potentially lethal strike of the humane society?

    A very worried voter

  2. Allen,
    I’m not sure who specifically would be the best to contact, but I’ll give you two ideas:

    1. The Ohio ________ Association — whatever species you raise/support/are concerned about. Or, all of them.

    2. Your friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. If you support the ag industry, do your part to spread the word about how production agriculture works so the general public can make educated decisions when these issues eventually appear on the ballot.

  3. These meetings have been being held in several states. HSUS meets with leaders of the agricultural groups in the state and tells them to either negotiate with them or they will force the changes at the ballot box. The problem is that it does us no good to negotiate with them. In order to have a good faith negotiation each side must be able to offer something that the other wants. HSUS has nothing that agriculture wants, but they have everything to gain from us. Being active in your communities, telling the story of agriculture, is how the push toward a vegan society can be stopped. It just requires the efforts of everyone in agriculture to accomplish it.

  4. “They clearly stated they want to do away with animal agriculture and large-scale farming, which is how we produce food now for efficiency. If they get their ways, food prices will go up and we’ll have to import meat and eggs from other states or countries,”

    – Now that’s quite troubling.

  5. Ohio, you better fight this group of fanatics head on, they are now getting so arrogant, that they are telling states what to do. They have managed to get laws passed in most states esculating penalties against cockfighting to be more severe than most of those that protect humans. They are making an attempt to force the country into total vegetarianism. This group takes in of 100 millin dollars per year of tax free money, it seems like a lot, but really, it a drop in the bucket if the populus would only come together. They are making a rally call with 100 to 150 people, thats probably all they can come up with, there are more farms in Ohio than that. Now get ready for the hired phone bank to start calling and make it look like they have millions of people behind them.

  6. The HSUS is not trying to convert everyone to vegans or shut down large scale farming. Certainly no one wishes even more eggs and meat to be imported from other countries. We have already seen the lack of standards over there and toxic additives added for protein content that cause sickness and death to dogs, babies, etc.

    The HSUS is trying to get more humane conditions for the animals at these establishments. The housing conditions are cruel and disgusting. The issue is not the need to raise animals for consumption. The issue is to give chickens more than a sheet of typing paper to stand in for their entire life. To not cut brutally their beaks off as baby chicks (which is very painful)so they don’t peck one another to death later on in their ridicualously confined quarters. To give a pig more than a few inches of room around it so it can actually lay down. Just because we raise animals for consumption does not mean we have to impose a cruel and painful life on them prior to their demise. Do they need the Ritz-Carlton? No. Just a few basic needs- clean water, adequate room to sit and lay down and maybe even turn around. Animal waste not polluting the ground and waterways of our communities. It should never have been allowed to be such an inhumane way of treating the animals to begin with. The HSUS is fighting for a few basic needs. Just because an animal is slated for food means it is OK to be tortured for it’s entire life up to the point of it’s end? I don’t think so. Where is our basic decency for living creatures?
    Righting a wrong and having it cost a little more is well worth it in my opinion. Have we really fallen so far from affording the earths creatures a bit of creature comfort?

  7. If HSUS was so concerned for the way these animals were treated. They would be fighting for heavier inspections of farms and regular check ups. They would be working with the American Farmer. Instead they are out to punish everyone, not just the people who are mistreating animals. If HSUS was more on the up and up about there dealings…(posing as farm hands to get information is not on the up and up) Maybe, farmers and ranchers would be more willing to hear what they have to say. There has been no compromise where this issue is concerned. As far as I am concerned there are people out there who treat their kids worse than the way that most of these animals are being treated, but no one seems concerned about that. Go after the people who are mistreating animals not the people who are trying to do good for the American people, live right, and provide for their families.

  8. Join your county farm bureau is a great way to support this cause. They are the only organization strong enough to help fight this cause.
    The dues are minimal and your opinion does count. It is one of the best grassroots organizations around!

  9. How can we as farmers let ot of state organizations come to Ohio and set their agendas ???How can a very vocal minority control farming practices in Ohio .??We have a pro-agriculture farm boy Govenenor in Ted Strickland. Do not sit on your hands ,,Do not let animal rightist dictate to you on how you make your living ,,FIGHT BACK AND TELL THE HSUS TO GET THEIR AGENDAS AND IDEAS OUT OF OUR STATE

  10. Notice the arguments of Anne in a previous post. That is what you progressive agriculture advocates in Ohio will be dealing with through out this campaign. HSUS use people who sound reasonable to shape the debate using language that sounds common sense and reasonable to the average reader. They will go on the offensive, alleging that commonly used and accepted practices are cruel and inhuman. They will alleget that their way is the only way to protect animals and the environment. And they will paint all farms with the the most extreme examples they can find to advance their arguments and agenda.

    HSUS recruits idealistic, highly motivated people on college campuses and then trains them to be orgnanizers for the campaign. They run these operations just like candidates run their campaigns for politcal office.

    Don’t engage them head on. You won’t and don’t have to change minds at HSUS. You have to take your campaign to the voters of Ohio.

    Don’t let HSUS goons shape your message. Don’t spend all your time trying to counter the points they have already made. Go the people with your message and get there first.

    And don’t think for a minute that scienctific evidence is going to win this thing for you. Science is helpful. But to win, you will have to invoke emotions. If you don’t win voter’s hearts, you won’t win their minds.

    Adn don’t hesitate to ask for help. Recruit non-agriculture, active organizations with wide voter bases, such as the National Rifle Association. Contact other state agriculture organizations.

    A lot more than Ohio is riding on the outcome of your situation.

  11. Anne,

    HSUS is out to end animal agriculture. We farmers do not torture our animals. There are a few “bad actors” in the industry and everyone else in the industry would like them shut down, instead of taking it out on the entire industry. As an example – no one is saying that all investment brokers are crooks despite Bernie Madoff. This is exactly the same. Prosecute those who do wrong. Do not persecute the rest of us.

    As for Gestation or Farrowing crates – these are designed to protect piglets from their own mothers accidently rolling over and crushing them. Isn’t that more humane then allowing the crushing of piglets so that the sow (mother) has a little more room?

    For chickens – the beaks are trimmed to blunt them. Otherwise they grow to look like an eagle’s beak (I am sure you can picture the profile of an eagle) which is sharp enough to tear each other apart – whether they are in cages or not. The cages provide equal access to food and water and allow for efficient egg collection and manure removal. A little education is all that is needed for most people to understand why they are housed this way. It truly is better for the individual chickens.

    Some farms still pollute – but they should be helped/encouraged/forced to clean up their act – just like the rest of us have done. The largest farms are inspected by various USDA, Environmental etc agencies and have cleaned up their farms. Their are a few “habitual offenders” and EVERYONE (most of all us farmers who do it right) want them to get cleaned up.

    Do you have a dog or a cat? How could you? They have just as much of a right to own you as you to own them (if you subscribe to the HSUS way of thinking). HSUS will ban pet ownership also if we let them.

    We are not cruel to our animals – it does not make sense from any standpoint to be that way. We take care of them, they take care of us.

  12. Be afraid Ohio livestock producers, be very afraid! Organize now and start lobbying your legislators (read that greasing their palms)before HSUS does. They have no scruples in pursuing their lie is too big or small and are extremely well heeled with their tax free donations.

  13. Pro-animal rights people engage unknowing city and suburban people with these tactics. People I know in California, who voted for the animal rights proposition there, were shocked to hear from me that they were voting small producers out of existence. This is what animal rights people have done in Europe. By passing rigid legislation supposedly pointed at CAFO’s, they have made it economically impossible to operate even if you have a pasture-based operation. HSUS is also pushing to microchip and register every dog and cat in the country. Whether they “mean” to outlaw the ownership of animals, as pets or for food, that is the effect of their actions. HSUS by the way is not connected to your local humane societies.

    Karin Bergener
    OH Chapter, Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

  14. Sows housed in stalls have plenty of room to lie down. Sows are very lazy animals because they CAN NOT SWEAT. They do not desire lots of physical activity because this stresses their bodies and results in death. They are content to lay all day in one spot as long as they have access to plenty of fresh water and feed. The stalls protect the unborn pigs from other sows who can attack the pregnant sow.

    Stalls were designed by animal scientists, veterinarians and farmers who observe sow behavior on a daily basis. They were designed for protection and comfort of the sow. Farmers and ranchers care deeply that their livestock are protected and comfortable. Healthy animals produce healthy food. That is a farmer’s top priority, to protect their animals so they can produce healthy food for everyone.

    All farmers need to tell the real story of agriculture to the American public. With most people being three generations removed from the farm, our society learns about agriculture from Walt Disney, which is a false portrayal.

    If you live in our near Ohio, make it a priority to get out and tell your story everyday. And, at least once a month, give a presentation on your farm to a local group, or better yet, one in the city! Especially if you live near one of the three “C’s.” Livestock agriculture in every state will be impacted by what happens in your state.

  15. A more aggressive approach to HSUS backed legislation is an absolute necessity if we’re going to continue to hold back the tide of animal rights legislation in Ohio. HSUS has been trying for years to get Ohio legislation passed to prohibit ownership of exotic animals — everything from the large carnivores down to pocket size pets. More recently, they’ve focused on the breeding and sale of dogs. In both cases, the exotic animal owners and the dog breeders had to fight the fight alone, with -0- help from the large farm lobbying groups who SHOULD have been fighting it alongside us. Exotic animals and dogs and cats are agriculture, too; HSUS targeted them first because they thought it’d be easier to pick them off, and then move on to “traditional” agriculture. We were able to defeat all those bills, but the battle would have been won more quickly and easily if those farm groups had done what we pay them our dues to do, which is support agriculture in ALL its forms, not just traditional livestock farming. I firmly believe that if they’d stood alongside us and testified against every one of HSUS’ animal rights bills, HSUS would not now be flexing their muscles in anticipation of a direct attack on the pork, poultry and cattle industry in Ohio. HSUS are experts at “divide and conquer”, and our Ohio legislature has seen how the large farm lobbying groups have been strangely silent on animal legislation that they SHOULD have been very vocal about. It’s time for our Ohio legislature to hear in no uncertain terms that we will NOT have our animal businesses choked to death by HSUS. That means not only writing letters to our Senators and Representatives, but it also means putting the pressure on the big farm lobbying groups to take an aggressive stand against ANY and ALL legislation that has HSUS behind it.

  16. I agree with all the other comments that we shouldn’t waste our time trying to change the minds at HSUS. WE need to get to the voters esp. those on the fence. Expose the agenda at HSUS to abolish animal agriculture and to have no one owning cats or dogs even. This debate isn’t about humane care of animals. All farm groups must stand together on this, we can’t allow what happened in CA to happen here.

  17. Anne, are you a farmer? Rancher? Animal Welfare specialist? Veterinarian? Do you spend more than sixteen hours a day with pigs or chickens?

    If not, what makes you think you know more about keeping animals than those of us who do?

    Did it ever occur to you that gestation and farrowing crates were invented for a reason?

    In the days before these crates were used mortality rates of preweaned piglets was betwean 40% and 80%. Farmers wanted something better for their sows. The use of the farrowing crate lowered mortality dramatically to between 8%and 14%.

    When gestating (that means when they are pregnant) sows live in groups, they may well be able to walk around, but it’s only the top dog (or top sow in this case) who has a better life than sows in crates.

    Loose housed sows regularly suffer lameness, vulva biting,(very unpleasant), cuts, bites, scratches, hunger, abortion (miscarriage) and even death due to being attacked by other sows.

    They are also more likely to suffer from internal parasites, and any infection will spread like wildfire among the herd.

    You think keeping pigs on concrete slats is cruel? Concrete is not natural for pigs? Well consider this; slats separate the animal from it’s dung and urine, and also provides a space beneath the animals where air can circulate this keeps the animals warm and dry.

    Straw, shavings and other bedding are wonderful for the first few hours, but bedding gets wet from urine and feces stays where it lands. Bedding can also contain dangerous toxins and foregn bodies such as sharp sticks or noxious weeds.

    Believe me Anne, and anyone else who thinks they know how to look after livestock better than farmers. Let the farmers make their own decisions. They know what they are doing.

  18. Amen…….I raise poultry (American gamefowl among a few others) for use in APA poultry shows with my 9 year old daughter who also shows in 4-H. The HSUS is trying to make these breeds a felony to own. I beleive that the HSUS is a radical group that will evetually want animals to have the same rights as humans much like PETAs agenda. These groups have got to be stopped. The only problem is that there are to many bleeding heart americans who are basically “sheep” to be herded and beleive anything they hear. These groups prey on feelings. Young kids watch TV shows in which animals including basic livestock walk and talk. Todays children are growing up very misguided and think that meat comes from a grocery store. They don’t understand how it gets to the grocery store in the first place. I thin there are far to many stupid “sheep” in the world.

  19. Anne you say “The HSUS is not trying to convert everyone to vegans or shut down large scale farming.” But really HSUS campaign is reduce, refine and replace. “Replace

    It’s never been easier (or more delicious) to replace animal products with readily available vegetarian alternatives. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Vegetarian diets can meet all the recommendations for nutrients.” The American Dietetic Association goes even further to state that vegetarian diets “provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” And choosing a vegetarian diet will help reduce an immense amount of farm animal suffering. (”
    So really that’s the goal, be honest

  20. What’s wrong with a little more room? It’s a very moderate request. It disgusts me to see so many selfish cold-hearted people. Don’t waste your money fighting this because you will lose.

  21. One has to first realize that HSUS is a radical animal rights organization. It has nothing to do with animal welfare but to end all human use of animals, whether for clothing, leather, or wool, or for pleasure, dogs, cats,rodeos, zoos etc. No more hunting, fishing – it is all animals. If our government officials do not begin to realize this, we will all be eating tofu for lunch.
    see: if you want some facts. Remember that most of their solicited funds are spent on lobbying, salaries and advertising. They need to be investigated as to what they really do.

  22. Don’t just notify farmers, notify people who enjoy a good steak, and chicken, neighbors friends, business associates who have dogs or cats. Wayne Pacelle and his foot soldiers will fight dirty, just ask what happened in California. If you call your legislators, make sure they are counted in the vote. If this is becomes a “vote” remember it is just a few percent of farmers that feed America so make an effort in letters to the editor, helping people get out and vote, all animal owners. Fighting for our very lives here.

    Quotes from Wayne Pacelle
    “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States … We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.”
    — Full Cry magazine, Oct 1990

    “We would be foolish and silly not to unite with people in the public health sector, the environmental community, [and] unions, to try to challenge corporate agriculture.”
    — “Animal Rights 2002” convention, Jul 2002

  23. starkfarm – from the HSUS site:
    “It’s never been easier (or more delicious) to replace animal products with readily available vegetarian alternatives. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “Vegetarian diets can meet all the recommendations for nutrients.” The American Dietetic Association goes even further to state that vegetarian diets “provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” And choosing a vegetarian diet will help reduce an immense amount of farm animal suffering. (”

    I was wondering… is any of that untrue?

  24. So a few comments from a person on the fence…

    1. How does outlawing veal pens destroy the beef industry? It might destroy the veal industry, but not the beef industry. Not that I am an expert by any means but I would bet that veal production is less than 1% of regular beef production so the world isnt going to end if it becomes economically non-viable. I would bet that if the general public knew how veal calves were penned, demand would plummet.

    2. I think that the AG types are looking at animal confinement in a different sense than animal rights types, and this is very important for understanding the arguments. AG people look at a pen and see legal, reasonably healthy, safe, controlled, easy for me to manage, and space efficient for good business. Animal rights people see inhumane because no animal should be confined to a tiny cage for its entire life. Why is it considered horrible that US POW’s were held in tiny cages in Vietnam, but it is perfectly good for animals to be confined in the same manner. I personally cannot reconsile that fact.

    3. Gestation cages are a tough situation. I understand the AG situation and dont have a better answer. Besides the economic impact of losing piglets, it doesnt make sense to have them crushed by their mother in a larger cage.

    4. With regards to trying to change the minds of animal rights people….you are right, you dont have a chance because you dont have any ammunition. The AG industry is in favor of jamming chickens in tiny cages and penning veal calves in tiny pens. No animal rights person will ever agree that situation is humane. Reread comment 2. It is all about humane conditions, not health or something that is convenient for the farmer.

    5. If the AG community is convinced that current standards are ideal and that reasonable people will agree, then you have nothing to worry about. When the issues go to ballot, Ohioans will reject the HSUS measures and you will win. I think the AG community is worried because they know that the general public doesnt want to see chickens and calves jammed into pens. And as long as the pens exist, the HSUS types will always hold your trump card.

    6. I am a meat eater and an animal rights advocate and work in the AG industry (but not a farmer). I dont eat veal because of the cages. I buy cage free eggs and pay extra for them. I would buy cage free chicken meat if I knew where to get it. I will never be a vegetarian and would never support an all vegetarian society.

    7. I think the attention to animal rights is good and hope that both sides can find a reasonable solution. Farming in Ohio is incredibly important and any regulation must maintain the viability of the craft.

  25. Factory farms and family farms with similar practices are deceiving themselves if they think animals are comfortable and content to live in small cages and crowded, confined areas. If these farmers don’t know that chickens get very stressed in small cages, then I wonder what kinds of farmers they are. Our chickens can’t wait to get out of the coop and flap and scratch around the yard. Ditto for pigs and other animals.

    I pay the extra price for milk that comes from more-humane farms. It’s a fact that animals experience pain and stress. Animals experience many emotions, albeit on a different level than humans. We need to be compassionate to ALL animals that are vulnerable, from humans to chickens. If it costs more money, we need to work that out. There are plenty of creative people out there who are able to manage their humane farms and still make a living.

    I hope Americans realize that the glut of cheap meat and dairy products comes at a high price: our integrity and animals’ suffering.

  26. I swear you people are some of the most uneducated, misinformed group I have ever come across. Why don’t you get your facts straight before you push out your fear mongering ideas. The Humane Society is not for a Vegan diet. It is for the Humane Treatment of Animals. Now we can all agree that animals deserve to be treated humanely. Right? Putting a sow in a gestation crate is cruel. So is having hens, ten to a wire cage live. If you can’t see that this is in humane then I believe you all are a bunch of psychopaths. I’d rather live with Vegans than psychopaths

  27. If you don’t put that sow in a gestation crate… you can watchher eat her young later. How humane is that, pal? Sounds like you need to do some more studying. These laws being pushed by the HSUS are ridiculously written. Go ahead. Outlaw a tie-stall barn… see how much you pay for a gallon of milk then!!!!

  28. Let me preface this by admitting to being a moderate. I have never owned a pet (usually cat or dog) that I have not had spayed or neutered,gotten vaccinations for, gotten preventative medication for (fleas, heartworm) or taken care of when it was hurt or sick. Every dog we had growing up was a “mutt” from the county pound and every cat I’ve had since living on my own has been a half-or full-grown animal I paid the adoption fee for at the humane society. I find people that torture, abandon, kill, or otherwise harm animals to be morally repugnant.

    That said, I WILL be voting yes on Issue 2 this afternoon.

    If “animal rights activists” knew anything about animals….they might be farmers and other Ag Industry workers. WHAT can they know about raising dairy cattle, for instance? Have many of them ever actually SEEN a real cow? Seriously. I’m not being facetious.

    Farmers rely on their livestock to make a living. Do you honestly think farmers will be needlessly cruel to the animals in their care? My family has farmed (but I personally do not) for over 200 years, 150 of those years in Ohio. My grandfather has over 70 years of experience ALONE in the dairy industry, and despite his declining age and health, he easily spends more money on feed, bedding, and vet care for his herd than he does himself. Milk prices (consumer) are up, but the dairies aren’t passing that high cost along to small farmers. It’s a tough climate these days.

    I just cannot figure out why people who aren’t in the ag business think they know better how to care for animals than someone who has likely done it his or her entire life.

    I love meat. I’m not going to lie. I eat meat every day of my life. I also drink milk, eat eggs, and use honey. Isn’t that what animals are for? Really. ANd it scares me to death that if some animal rights activists with little to no experience in the ag industry are allowed to dictate that industry, then we will all have to find alternate (and likely much more costly) sources of meat.

  29. Hello,
    The HSUS has all these sad commericals on TV and people keep sending them money because of those commericals. Don’t get me wrong I love my animals as good as the next person. But for them to start messing with our farmers is where the government needs to draw the line. This group has lost there mind. Also if they care so much for animals just how much money did they send to help all those animals in the gulf when the oil spill happened? Probably none if the truth was known. Also they put to many dogs and cats to sleep in shelters in my opinion. Wake up America and stop letting these people try to run your lives. Also stop sending them money because of the commericals and make them account for every penny that have got already. I bet they could not if the truth was known. Well good luck farmers I hope you unite and put these people in there place.


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