Need to find common ground for our food systems

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Editor:

We are capable of providing food for America without destroying natural resources, without creating a society plagued with health problems resulting from our food system, without treating animals as machines and without exploiting farmers and farm workers. This should be the goal of agriculture and this goal should be supported by advocates and journalists in the agriculture community.

If I were a California resident I would vote against Proposition 2, not because I support industrial agriculture over sustainable farming but because I don’t want the government to control my food supply.

Government regulations are seldom the answer to solving problems. We need only to look at the many regulations in Ohio and throughout the country that have become barriers to farmers and limited our farmers’ access to markets.

The fact that a farmer and a consumer cannot engage in a free market system that allows consumers to buy unpasteurized milk is a prime example. Another example prevents farmers from bringing chickens to market unless those chickens were processed in a state-controlled facility.

For those who oppose this kind of legislation, California Proposition 2, the answer is not to block its passage. The solution lies in cleaning up one’s act and hopefully prevent even more restriction.

Industrial agriculture is responsible for serious health issues in America. Childhood diabetes and obesity are rampant thanks to our government’s subsidized system of corn production and the resulting high fructose corn syrup. Often environmental disasters can be traced to industrial agriculture. The dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico is a prime example.

We have also seen horrific systems of animal confinement and abuse. Certainly Ohio is familiar with the now infamous Buckeye Egg Farms, which still exist under a new name.

Industrial agriculture has an unflattering history, just as animal rights organizations have displayed behaviors that could be classified as terrorism.

Should we insist that the profiteers who own and operate industrial-type facilities change their methods. Yes. And if they don’t clean up their acts what should we do? Unfortunately, we will have no choice but to legislate them out of existence.

Everyone loses when neither side chooses to act reasonably and responsibly. We all lose some of our freedom when government become the controller.

California’s proposition 2 is not the answer to an animal husbandry issue. Animal rights people do not have logic on their side. They are unrealistic and unreasonable people who hope to impose their illogical ideology on others. The agri-industries, however, provide these radicals with plenty of ammunition with production systems that are wrong for animals, the environment, human health and local economies.

Neither side chooses to come to the table where reason could help us solve the problem. Each goes to his corner and selfishly insists the other is the villain.

Journalists and advocates then take one side or the other and publish their prejudiced points of view. This will never bring us to a solution. Our goal should be to reach a middle ground that can support a healthy food system, reasonable forms of animal husbandry, respect for our natural resources and sincere interest in the well-being of all.

Parker Bosley
Cleveland, Ohio

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