Issue 2 is a pre-emptive ballot initiative to establish a board that will set standards for livestock and poultry care. The board will be made up of 13 people total, three family farmers, two veterinarians, a food safety expert, a representative of the local humane society, two members from statewide farm organizations, the dean of an Ohio agriculture college, two members representing Ohio consumers and the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture (serving as chair). Ten members will be appointed by the governor and one each by the House and Senate.
How will you vote on Nov. 3? Did you consider the following?
The intent of this board is to set regulations for animal care before out-of-state activist groups do. How exactly can this board keep the activist groups out? Can’t any group push for regulatory change, regardless of this board? It happened in Michigan.
Do we really want a board where all positions are appointed by the government? What happens when the government changes hands and the newly appointed governor has animal activist initiatives?
This board will supposedly “Assure Ohio families have a safe, locally grown food supply.” Don’t we already have safeguards in place to ensure our food is the safest in the world?
This board will set animal care guidelines taking into account, “animal morbidity (incidence of ill health) and mortality (incidence of death) data.” What’s to stop this group from requiring animal IDs on your entire heard and autopsies on every dead animal? What would that kind of “all knowing” power do to our markets?
This board will only have three farmers representing all animal agriculture. What aspects of agriculture do they specialize in and who represents those left out?
This board will have two appointed veterinarians. Will the appointed veterinarians specialize in large animal or poultry or simply be “pet vets”?
Does it make sense to pass a law purposely giving up your rights to manage your farm how you see appropriate, when the ultimate goal is to stop ridiculous regulations from the beginning? It seems that the activist groups have won.
As farmers, we have always done the work that no one else will do and we take only what we are given as pay. It would be a grave mistake to give up the one thing we have control over — how we take care of our animals and run our farms. We are the professionals.
Let’s focus on the issue at hand — find ways to show Ohio consumers and out-of-state activist groups that Ohio farmers produce a safe food supply using excellent animal care — without setting up a board to tell us how to raise our animals and run our farm.
Please go online, www.ohiolivestockcare.com, to read the information and form your own opinions, don’t just vote based on the advice of farm groups.
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