Thursday, October 01, 2009

Issue 2

Proponents of Issue 2 have formed an organization called Ohioans for Livestock Care & have put up a website, Safe Local Ohio Food.
Issue 2 creates a board to oversee animal welfare on Ohio farms. It will consist of:
  • Three family farmers
  • Two veterinarians (one of whom is the state veterinarian),
  • A food safety expert
  • A representative of a local humane society
  • Two members representing statewide farm organizations
  • The dean of an Ohio agriculture college
  • Two members representing Ohio consumers

Opponents have formed an organization called Ohio Against Constitutional Takeover (?) with a website, Ohio Act, where they warn of a "corporate power grab".
From the list, above, I am not seeing a corporate power grab.
The decision to create the board was a proactive move taken by the state to prevent a referendum by DC based HSUS similar to the one they got passed in California which would raise food prices, put some farmers out of business and increase the incidence of unsafe food.
HSUS President William Pacelle, a vegetarian, described the proposal as, "Big Agribusiness’ attempt to amend Ohio’s constitution by creating an industry-dominated council to oversee farm animal treatment is poor policy and an attempt to thwart meaningful reform."
Proponents of the issue include about 25 large Ohio based farming organizations and a host of Ohio legislators. link
Opponents list about 2 dozen groups, some based in Ohio, others from New York, Washington DC, California, etc. Quite a few have ties to HSUS. In Ohio there is a grocery outside Columbus and a Facebook group with 18 members. link
Some of the issue's opponents are interested in water quality and conservation. I am not seeing that addressed through Issue 2's board. Here in Cincinnati, of course, we know about meat production and water pollution with our own Mill & Deer Creeks.
One of the big issues here is animal welfare as opposed to animal rights. The Humane Society of the United States is an animal rights organization with a fairly radical agenda of vegetarianism, discouraging pet ownership and condemning animal breeding. Despite their name, they are not a humane society and have no affiliation with local humane societies in Ohio. The Ohio farmers are more inclined towards animal welfare for the animals they raise specifically to be slaughtered.
I don't know if this board is necessary and I don't know as it will do anything to prevent left wing loons from pushing more radical legislation in the future.
I can certainly see why small organic farmers are wary of big agribusinesses muscling them out of the market and I really, really believe that we should be able to decide what we put into our bodies, if it's raw milk, free range pork or Spam & Mountain Dew.
I don't see Issue 2 as a corporate power grab nor do I see it as anything necessary, but the number of opponents who are not local & have creepy agendas make me a bit leery.

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