Monday, October 19, 2009

Concerned about Factory Farming?: Vote No on Ohio Issue 2

I've seen commercials on Issue 2 spinning it as 'pro local farmer'...unfortunately, according to the Humane Society, issue 2 is a political move to protect factory farming.

Here's the deal: HSUS (Humane Society of the US) lobbied successfully to pass farm animal rights legislation in California (Proposition 2). Ohio Issue 2 would put the treatment of farm animals under the control of a State Board (dominated by agribusiness) so that the HSUS or similar groups can't come in and introduce similar animal rights legislation.
While designed to give the appearance of helping farm animals, Issue 2 is little more than a power grab by Ohio’s agribusiness lobby. The industry-dominated “animal care” council proposed by Issue 2 is really intended to thwart meaningful improvements in how the millions of farm animals in Ohio are treated on large factory farms.

Because it’s designed to favor large factory farms, not family farmers, Issue 2 is opposed by the Ohio Farmers Union, the Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance, League of Women Voters of Ohio, the Ohio League of Humane Voters, and the Ohio Sierra Club. The editorial boards of Ohio’s major newspapers—including the Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Dayton Daily News—all oppose this effort to enshrine the agribusiness lobby’s favored oversight system in the state’s constitution.

Issue 2 is a classic example of bad public policy-making and should be rejected by voters.
More here....

According to the article, issue 2 is a response by big agribusiness to protect itself against the type of animal rights legislation created recently in California...
Ohio is one of the top veal production states in the nation, with many calves chained by their necks inside crates so small they can’t even turn around for months on end. As well, the state has 170,000 breeding pigs, many of whom are confined in two-foot-wide crates barely larger than their bodies for almost their entire lives. And 28 million egg-laying hens in Ohio are confined in barren, wire battery cages so restrictive the birds can't even spread their wings. This type of extreme confinement is cruel and inhumane, environmentally damaging, and poses severe public health threats. These problems have prompted six U.S. states—and the entire European Union—to criminalize certain kinds of extreme confinement of farm animals.

In the wake of California’s overwhelming passage of the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act—which banned veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages in California—The Humane Society of the United States sought to engage in cooperative dialogue with the agribusiness community in Ohio. We hoped to be able to continue that dialogue and work cooperatively with the state’s farming leaders—both large and small—to collaboratively advance animal welfare statewide. But rather than discussing potential solutions to these problems, the Ohio Farm Bureau is now trying to hastily grab more power than it already has. The lobby group persuaded the legislature to refer a measure to the November 2009 ballot that would enshrine in the state’s constitution an industry-dominated council to “oversee” the treatment of farm animals. Unfortunately, this council is likely to do little to advance farm animal welfare. It is little more than a handout to Big Agribusiness interests in the state, seeking to codify the abusive practices currently being used in the state constitution.

More Links:
Animal Blawg: Issue 2 Animal Rights Perspective
Great Article by OSU Professor on Impact of Issue 2 on Farmers
This is a more neutral analysis of Issue 2. He notes that if Issue 2 is passed, the Board will adopt existing animal care standards, many of which animal rights activists consider cruel and inhumane. California Proposition 2 type Animal Rights Reform would be more difficult to initiate. However, if it passed, it would pose a financial challenge to farmers. The farmers would then either eat the cost and change, stop raising livestock that was regulated or leave Ohio in search of another state that wasn't regulated. Very good article for those interested in doing more research.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for shedding more light on this! such a misleading campaign!
    more on it