Ohio’s Issue 2

Laura Schierhoff

In February, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) met with members of Ohio’s livestock industry to discuss passing humane legislation in that state.  HSUS had its eye on Ohio to pass legislation to ban the use of poultry cages, veal crates and gestation stalls.  Agribusiness in Ohio knew this was not such a far fetched idea, given California’s Proposition 2 landslide ballot-initiative win last November.  Proposition 2 banned the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.  (Arizona and Florida have also passed similar measures.)  The meeting was said to be “extremely cordial” according to a member of the Ohio Farm Bureau.  However, with the fear of something like Proposition 2 going on the ballot in November, big agriculture in Ohio was scared.

In anticipation of HSUS’s ballot initiative, the Ohio Farm Bureau and other agribusiness leaders approached state lawmakers.  The result was the House and Senate proposing a constitutional amendment, which will be placed on the November ballot in the form of Issue 2.  Issue 2 is a voter referendum to create an Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.  This would add a provision to the state Constitution, establishing a board, which would set standards for the care and well-being of livestock statewide.  The governor and legislature would appoint members (within the parameters of the text of the amendment) and the state agriculture director would lead the panel.  Given that it was agribusiness that lobbied for this amendment in the House and Senate, there is no doubt that the board created will be industry dominated.  The agriculture industry is calling this oversight, while some animal welfare advocates are analogizing it to the “fox guarding the henhouse.”  Rep. Michael J. Skindell, D-Lakewood, has said “[I]t’s really about agribusiness interests working with the legislature to block regulations requiring more humane treatment of animals — allowing a chicken to spread its wings in a cage, for example, or a dairy cow to lie down in the barn.”  The board would have far-reaching power to set standards for livestock and poultry care, food safety, and animal well-being.  It would also have minimal legislative oversight.

There is no Prop 2 in Ohio yet, and if if Issue 2 is passed, there likely never will be.  The constitutionally created board will be the decision makers on animal welfare and will be insulated by the Constitution to pass whatever laws they deem necessary.  If Issue 2 is passed, any future initiatives in Ohio, dealing with farm animals, can be deemed pre-emptive and therefore unnecessary.  The effects of Issue 2 could be not only to preempt an Ohio version of Prop 2, but could also have far-reaching power that is not being discussed.  The agriculture industry effects more than just animals. Issues concerning the environment, workers and labor law are all affected by the agriculture industry. Putting the power to make and pass laws dealing with a huge industry in the hands of a few does not sound like democracy at its finest.

There are two very strong issues at play here:  1) The agriculture industry in Ohio that views HSUS as an out-of-state special interest group that wants to tell farmers how to do their job; and 2) An animal welfare group, with members all over the country that seeks to end inhumane treatment of animals.  Perhaps the solution to better animal welfare is neither initiatives like Prop 2 or Issue 2.  In a perfect world, couldn’t farmers and animals advocates work together?  After all, farmers often argue the point that of course they want to take care of the well-being of the animals, since they are their livelihood.  Yet, isn’t that what HSUS was trying to do when they met with the Ohio Farm Bureau in February?  HSUS was trying to open dialogue and start healthy communication.  Why can’t there be a collaborative relationship between the opposing sides?  Ohio’s legislators have made it perfectly clear that dialogue is not what they want. They have not only backed away from discussions with the largest animal welfare group in the nation, they have shut the door on fellow Ohioans. By creating a board (stacked in favor of agriculture) that decides animal welfare issues, the Constitutional amendment will take away the democratic voice given to citizen-based initiatives.  People (including Ohioans) want to know more about what is being fed to the animals they eat and how they are treated.  This amendment would take away the transparency in that process.  Arguments, such as, whether crating/caging animals is bad for the food supply will never be addressed by this pro-agribusiness board.  The argument for creating this amendment, was that these issues should not be determined by one biased side or group.  Unfortunately in Ohio, that is exactly what will happen with the passage of Issue 2.  Hopefully Ohio citizens will realize the effects of Issue 2 and vote no in November.

See this related post as well.

148 Responses

  1. I’m going to say this straight up. I don’t give a rat’s ass on how farm animals are being treated or about veil cages or pig crates. I am against issue 2 because I believe that the farmers, and in a more general sense EVERYBODY, should be allowed the run their farm or business as they see fit. A group of unelected board members, who will no doubt be appointed by the influence of interest groups) should not be in the position to restrict or tell anybody how they make their living. This is a grab for power nothing more.

  2. HSUS’s style of collaboration and open dialogue is here is what we propose if you do not agree to it we will seek a ballot iniative. The modern agriculture practices applied today are researched and taught at universities all over the world. Who better to oversee animal care than experts in animal care? Take note there will be two veterinarians, a food safety expert, two consumer representatives, a representative from a local humane society (the real Humane Society), a dean from an Ohio ag college, as well as five industry and agribusiness representatives, headed up by the director of the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture. I would just like to know why, before I spent all that money on an animal science degree, someone did not tell me all I needed was a paid membership to HSUS or PETA to be an expert on raising livestock.

  3. Under these circumstances, I believe that HSUS actually was trying to reach out to Ohioans, in particular the Ohio agriculture community, and have a real dialogue. Whether one believes that or not, the fact is that HSUS came to Ohio to talk, when they could have just brought a ballot initiative without even meeting with agriculture industry members. They were not trying to hide the end goal here, but the Ohio legislature certainly showed that it was not open to collaboration. The message I got was, “if you don’t agree with us, then we will just amend the constitution.”
    I understand that people involved with modern agriculture practices are highly competent, have much experience (some people have been doing this for generations), and entirely able to make certain decisions dealing with their businesses. However, oversight is always a necessity when talking about large industries, companies, or government agencies. I am sure the banks in the United States were wondering the same thing, of who better to oversee what happens to the finances in the United States than the the financial experts themselves? Well we have seen why this can turn into a real problem, real fast. From the over-stacked board members (who are not voted in, but appointed) in favor of the agricultural industry, it is difficult to think that animal welfare interests will be properly addressed.
    While you have pointed out that a member of the “real” humane society will be on the board, from your own reasoning of having experts – I don’t see how an organization that helps adopt out cats and dogs will be able to lend any expertise to the care for cows, chickens, and pigs. No one is trying to say that you need to be an animal rights/welfare person to raise livestock, but there are other interests at stake here besides a livestock industry. These are living, breathing, suffering beings and someone needs to be a voice for them.

  4. Laura, I had friends in that meeting with Wayne Pacelle at OARDC. The banking situation was most likely caused by greed, and I agree oversight is most likely necessary when dealing with humans. Does the Humane Society not deal with cases of animal abuse, whether pets or livestock, and be able to determine what actions are abusive? Where is HSUS’s voice now that there are thousands of unwanted horses as a result of their efforts to ban horse slaughter? How much of their vulgar budget is being used to care for these animals? How much of their budget was used to care for and rehabilitate the dogs in the dogfighting seizure in the Carolinas, other than that which was used to lobby for their euthanization? Where is their stake in the interests of these living, breathing, suffering beings? As you stated, “one belives what one wants”?

  5. Unfortunately I am not employed by the Humane Society, nor am I a direct mouth piece for them. I could not begin to address the questions you have raised about their budget or how they run their campaigns. By pointing out their faults in other matters, you have missed the point of my post (or maybe I was just not clear). Yes, it is obvious that I am biased in one way (just as it is clear that you are biased in another), but what I really want to get at is why people like you and I, who have different biases and backgrounds can’t have a meaningful dialogue about the care of livestock animals in this country. There may be concessions that would have to be met by both sides and I am not naive to think that everyone will walk away happy, but I truly believe it is important to question how animals are taken care of and (in some cases) re-assess practices. Not only is it an important question to address, it is my right as a consumer to know how these animals are treated and to challenge these practices if I don’t like them.

    I was not in the meeting in February that was held to talk about these matters, but I think the important thing was that there was a meeting. I would have liked to see follow-up meetings and collaboration between the tw very different organizations. I really don’t want to argue about the evils of HSUS (or the agriculture industry). What I do want is a clear explanation why the legislature is making this “grab for power” (see comment 1). And why Ohioans should vote to put the power to make their own decisions about agricultural practices into the hands of a few.

  6. […] that is similar in many respects to the one proposed in Ohio’s Issue 2 (see Laura’s post for more on Issue 2).  It bears noting, however, that Issue 2 is a proposed constitutional […]

  7. Do not vote yes for issue 2 Vote NO

  8. I would like to respond one last time, and try better to answer your questions. I feel that the faults of HSUS in other matters shows that their intentions are not with animals best interests, that they have other objectives. As they wish to have us all vegetarians, or even better as vegans, they chip away a state at a time, and an emotion at a time (horses, farm animals)while stopping efficient research based practices and as a result the costs to provide economical meat protein dramatically increases. All of us as consumers suffer the consequences as we get priced out of the ability to afford foods we choose to feed out families. They are effectively taking away consumers choices by capitalizing on people’s sympathies. I agree folks should work toward common goal for the good of all God’s creation. However; as you mentioned in your initial post, that should happen in a perfect world, but that is likely the only place it would happen…..in a PERFECT world. I also wish we could have meaningful dialogue where common sense and practicality presided. And yes, it is your perogative to question where and how your food reaches you, and be outraged by the mistreatment of livestock. As HSUH moves from state to state all Americans should to preserve their choices to feed their families with economical, high quality food. As I am sure there are well meaning members of these organizations that are genuine in their concern for animal care, I do not believe that the administrators of these organizations have that sentiment in mind when pursuing their objectives. The explanation for the Ohio legislator’s actions seems to me to be a clear message that Ohioans do not want radical, liberal thinking outsiders forcing their will on our lives, economy, and choices as consumers. This empowerment will permit Ohio farm families to continue to provide consumers with safe, economical, and high quality fooods while setting standards that all persons with animals in their care should strive to attain. Unfortunately not all humans do as they should and hopefully this board will deal with that as well.

  9. I do not think we disagree (given your support for the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board) that the board as constituted will concern itself more with animal agriculture than with animals themselves. Therein lies the crux of the issue. On the one hand, you agree that we should all work toward the common goal of respect for animals. However, you then argue that since that is a utopian idea (a debatable point), and that since better treatment for animals inevitably results in higher food prices (also debatable), then animal welfare decisions should be left to a group of people whose primary concern lies with keeping animal products affordable.

    It seems to me that your objection to HSUS and the rest of us who oppose this amendment is based on the fact that we do not share your priorities. This does not mean that I (or HSUS for that matter) have a secret agenda that involves dictating people’s food choices. It rather involves us favoring a system wherein we all pay the real costs of what it takes to feed ourselves. It also means that that all costs of animal agriculture (including treating animals respectfully and mitigating environmental damage) be factored into that calculus. I guess that for you this makes me and people like me radical liberal outsiders. But to my mind, it makes us fiscally responsible, concerned consumers who, based on long and ugly experience, do not trust industrial agriculture to regulate itself.

  10. It looks like either way we vote on this issue we( small Farming families) are going to lose.

  11. FAO: World Food Output Must Rise 70% by 2050

    The world will have to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed a projected extra 2.3 billion people and as incomes rise, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization said Wednesday. Global cereals demand for food and animal feed is expected to rise to 3 billion metric tons by 2050 and more demand may come from the biofuels industry, the FAO said in a statement.

    According to Reuters, the agency says annual cereals output would have to grow by almost one billion metric tons from about 2.1 billion metric tons at present to meet the projected food and feed demand by 2050. Meat output should increase by more than 200 million metric tons to reach 470 million metric tons in 2050, the Rome-based FAO said.

    The world will need to increase investments in agriculture and also boost investments to improve access to food, “otherwise some 370 million people could still be hungry in 2050, almost 5 percent of the global population,” the FAO said.

    The number of hungry people will pass 1 billion this year, but food aid is at a 20-year low, the U.N. World Food Program said last week.

    The potential to raise crop yields to feed a growing world population seems to be considerable and fears that yields are reaching a plateau “do not seem warranted, except in a very few special instances,” the FAO said.

  12. NE governor: Be proactive against animal rights groups
    September 24, 2009 by Ken Anderson

    State by state, the Humane Society of the United States is methodically advancing its animal rights agenda across the U.S.

    Michigan is the latest to succumb. That state’s pork and poultry groups have compromised with HSUS on legislation that contains regulations similar to those found in California’s Proposition 2.

    How does Nebraska plan to combat the animal rights movement? “We’re looking at a number of things,” says Nebraska governor Dave Heineman, “We want to be proactive on this front and we’re having lots of conversations trying to figure out what the best way is to do that.”

    Heineman says he has discussed the matter with a number of industry groups, including Nebraska Farm Bureau and Nebraska Cattlemen. “They care about the safety and humaneness of animal care,” says Heineman. “They’re also working with the local humane society, which is frankly exactly where we’re at—they don’t agree with the national organizations who are going to come in and try to exploit this in an inappropriate way.”

    Some states are attempting to undercut HSUS’ efforts by establishing animal care standards boards. Ohio voters will vote in November on whether to establish such a board. Link

    Many states are looking at how they are going to deal with the HSUS if they come to their state. Losing local control of livestock practices to a Washington, DC based animal rights group is dangerous for family farms and our nation’s food supply. Governor Heineman is absolutely right about the fact that we need to be pro-active by educating our neighbors and consumers about food production and the important role livestock play.

  13. It’s unfortunate (and in defiance of logic) that the idea of a state-wide ballot initiative (which would be adopted or rejected by the voters of that state) is being mischaracterized as a loss of local control to an “animal rights” group. This forms part of a pattern of misleading rhetoric spread by Industrial Ag. to keep their dangerous and cruel practices legal, subsidized, and out of public view.

  14. Poultry perspective
    By: Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton
    Send Yvonne Vizzier a Tip
    Where have all the farmers gone?

    (The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)
    Where have all the farmers gone? Last weekend I heard a member of our State House of Representatives talk about that question. His wife came from a farming family and wanted to get away from farming when she left home. She became a school teacher. In contrast, he entered farming for the first time after they were married. Their son decided to teach school after entertaining farming for a short time while he was in college. Like his mother, he opted out of agriculture.

    The point he was making with this story was the importance of intensive farming operations of today. Without them, there would be a serious shortage of farmed products. His concern is valid and presents an all too common situation. In my family I have 6 first cousins that grew up on farms and only one of them is still involved in farming. I am sure that many of you can report similar situations.

    The dozens of organizations with a focus on “punishing” the agricultural community don’t seem to understand where their food originates. With that said, it is critical that those of us in agriculture do all we can to protect the environment and animals in our care. At the same time, we need to pay attention to these groups as they are driving public perception in many cases.

    Negative publicity is not helping us recruit more farmers. There is little chance that a resurgence of growing your own food would occur if it were even feasible. We need more young people interested in producing food at its basic level if we are to have an amply supply in the future.

    9/22/2009 9:51 AM

  15. Poultry perspective
    By: Yvonne Vizzier Thaxton
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    I’m a fanatic?

    (The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)
    We’re all fanatics. A reference to G.K. Chesterton about fanaticism caused me to look at Webster’s definition. A fanatic is “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.” I learned a long time ago that there were arguments that could not be won with facts because fanaticism did not allow the facts to penetrate. Some of the respondents to my recent blogs made me realize that I might be considered fanatic by some people!

    This led me to some critical thinking. At no time have I thought or felt that there was no place for the small family farm, organic production or any other niche product. At the same time, I am a firm believer that large scale commercial farming is a good thing and key to maintaining a plentiful, safe food supply.

    There is a shortage of people willing to work in both types of farming. In some parts of the country there seems to be an increase in family farming. And there is no question that many former urbanites now have chickens and maybe a cow or two. In fact, I usually have some vegetables growing in my yard and one of my neighbors has chickens. Are we farmers? No. I grow vegetables, mostly tomatoes, because I like them and can’t get the vine ripened ones commercially. My neighbor has chickens as pets that happen to provide food. I doubt that either of us could feed ourselves much less produce enough to call it a business.

    We frequent the farmers markets and buy produce from small farmers. It is generally cheaper than the so called “commodity” products when the weather is good and unavailable or extremely expensive when it is not. This system will not feed the U.S. population and is not helping those with fixed and below poverty incomes. We need the controls and high yields that we get from large farms if we are to continue to supply our own food, both plant and animal. That is what the facts tell me. I hope that I can go to my local farmer’s market for fresh produce for as long as I wish and can afford it. Let’s all continue our fanaticism, but do it in a spirit of cooperation as there is a place for us all.

    9/28/2009 11:31 AM

  16. When I completed high school in 1964 there were approximately 3.5 Billion people in the world. Now in 2009; there are 7 billion people in the world. It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to conclude the world needs very large farms to feed all the people. Keep up the good work.

    This is a comment in regards to the previous post, from that blog. I share that opinion as well.

  17. Cutting to the Chase
    By: Raoul Baxter
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    Agriculture should be a bigger priority for U.S. government

    (The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)
    Regardless of how fair and evenhanded you are, it is simply impossible to keep at least a strong shadow over the affairs and needs of agriculture. There has been enough blame to go around for everybody. However, the blame game has yet to solve anything. We need to begin putting form and substance over political rhetoric.

    I thought President Obama would be both intelligent and pragmatic enough to rebuild a viable if not vibrant economy before he started to try and redistribute the economics. It has become the doers vs. the non-doers.

    American agriculture is one of the bright lights of our country’s economy. So what is the purpose at this point in time in undercutting and handicapping it? You have to prioritize. First, get a vibrant economy going and then see where improvements or changes can be made.

    The old saying “figures don’t lie, but liars figure” comes to mind. The feds are admitting to a climbing unemployment rate of 9.7 percent. However, that number varies tremendously from state to state. Florida, for example, is approaching 11 percent. But take those percentages and start putting them into absolute numbers: 9.7 percent is over 16 million real-life people attached to probably three dependents. Then you have another 8.0 million underemployed [less hours, lower job pay etc.], and then you have at least 2.0 million who have given up.

    Now, the last time we had these numbers, in the early 1980’s, we did not have workers as competitors and customers from China, India, Cambodia, Vietnam and the former Russian republics. Since 2000, we are dealing with 3.0 billion extra people in the competitive business world. Not one of them goes to bed worrying about what is best for the United States of America. We have to take care of our own interests. Running around the world apologizing to some strange governments is just not going to do anything except get our eye off the ball.

    An aggressive approach to agriculture sales is what we need — maybe even shepherded by a person who even understands agribusiness. Whether you are an organic, antibiotic-free, family farm or a large corporation, this should be our first priority.

    9/24/2009 8:54 AM

  18. Quit sniveling!!! Look, things are not all that bad. Hell, “only” 553,000 Americans filed for unemployment this month!! You don’t have 1 city in the US on the list of the “dirty thirty” (pollution). You have the cleanest rivers, lakes and streams in the world, along with the cleanest air. You have saved the ever important spotted owl, wild mustangs and burros graze on farm able land, the California smelt is being saved by shutting off the water to farmers/ranchers, and the list goes on. We have regulated heavy industry either out of business or out of the country. As long as you are on a roll, might as well regulate agribusiness into oblivion and complete the “green cycle”. If all that green stuff is a wonderful thing, why are so many Americans living in “the red”? I wonder how many Americans have lost their homes this month, maybe “only” 250,000?? Yeah Buddy, things are looking brighter by the minute

  19. Some of the above posts obviously do not pertain directly to the initial blog but offer some good information.

  20. David,

    If you are truly interested I think I could set up something for you to see that is very much in the public eye. These operations house approx. 2500 head of hogs using modern management practices to care for the animals. You may classify these as industrial ag facilities, however, they are actually owned and operated by local families with children, and employ local folks; also with families; to take care of the animals, equipment, and crops. I will even show you a local fella that has less than 10 head of cattle and less than 20 sheep, that I personally feel are not taken care of well enough. If this board does come to be I hope they properly deal with folks like this because they give all agriculture a black eye.

  21. Also David, at the time I did not think to mention that the families that operate the hog operations have received numerous awards from Soil and Water Conservation, NRCS, and other entities for their efforts to be good neighbors, their stewardship, and their conservation practices. The mischaracterized loss of local control, that you speak of, is only a matter of perspective. There have been ballot iniatives sought by HSUS that passed in Florida, Arizona, and last year in California. There have already been signs of devastation to the poultry business in California. There is going to be a need for a lot of free range chickens to keep feeding breakfast to the folks in L.A. Hey, maybe you could keep a few in your yard for them.

  22. This is not the family I was refering to, but here is a website you can look at for a family not far out of Columbus, OH. http://www.heimerlfarms.com

  23. Not true, Charles. Consider whether your ability to make a living would improve or degrade if Big Food were not subsidized and didn’t exist in a regulatory vacuum.

  24. I would be happy to come see both, Hutch (really!). And after we do, preferably over a beer, I look forward to hearing you try to convince me that most industrial ag facilities are owned by small farm families and that vertical integration is a myth. After that, or before, I can also disabuse you of the notion that I believe that small farms are per se good and big farms are per se evil. For me it’s about the treatment of the animals and the environment.
    And as for the dire predictions about world food shortages, the problems you point to are real; the fantasy resides in the idea that industrial agriculture is the solution. When and if we don’t live in a world that corn subsidies have created and after agriculture returns to a sane and sustainable production pattern that produces primarily food that actually feeds and is good for people (rather than feed corn and factory-farmed flesh products), we can see how well the people of LA are doing. My guess is it will be much better. All that being said, I really do look forward to seeing the facilities you mention and I hope we can make it happen.

  25. Ghandi once said that the greatness of a nation can be measured by how well it treats its animals. Californians seem to have taken this to heart, and now it’s time for the rest of the country to follow.

    Most of the public wants to see animals treated humanely. They would be horrified if they could see for themselves the tiny crates and cages that so many farmed animals are forced to spend their whole lives inside, for the sake of cheap meat (which is bad for your health anyway).

    Rejecting Issue 2 is a no brainer, and I can’t wait until Ohio’s voters step up to the plate and denounce the cruelty of factory farming confinement systems by rejecting Issue 2.

  26. HSUS spends millions on programs that seek to economically cripple meat and dairy producers; eliminate the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phase out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demonize hunters as crazed lunatics. HSUS spends $2 million each year on travel expenses alone, just keeping its multi-national agenda going.

    HSUS president Wayne Pacelle described some of his goals in 2004 for The Washington Post: “We will see the end of wild animals in circus acts … [and we’re] phasing out animals used in research. Hunting? I think you will see a steady decline in numbers.” More recently, in a June 2005 interview, Pacelle told Satya magazine that HSUS is working on “a guide to vegetarian eating, to really make the case for it.” A strict vegan himself, Pacelle added: “Reducing meat consumption can be a tremendous benefit to animals.”

    I fail to see how an organization with such an agenda will have looking out for consumer or farmers interests anywhere on their list of things to do. Voting NO on Issue 2 is preposterous.

  27. Wow, check out Hutch. Isn’t he just the Factory Farmer Talking Points machine? Too bad most of it is bullshit.

    Free range chickens in California? What are you talking about? Nothing in Prop 2 requires that chickens be “free range.” Cage-free is not the same as “free range,” which is not even a term that the USDA applies to egg-laying hens. If you don’t know the difference, I would ask for your money back on that animal science degree. Then again, since animal “science” these days is all about cramming animals into cages and treating them like machines, your ignorance doesn’t surprise me. Go trolling somewhere else.

  28. If you agree with Chuck that “eliminat[ing] the use of animals in biomedical research labs; phas[ing] out pet breeding, zoos, and circus animal acts; and demoniz[ing] hunters as crazed lunatics” (not that the latter accusation has any merit) are farming-related issues, you should read Issue 2 carefully to see how it will protect those activities. And, when you see that it does, you should vote Yes.

    If on the other hand, after reading Issue 2, you determine that the above-mentioned activities a) have nothing to do with farming; and b) are not mentioned in Issue 2, you should vote on the merits of the amendment. And those merits are few.

    And, of course, if you agree with Chuck that reducing meat consumption in the U.S. is a crime against the nation’s farmers rather than a straightforward recognition of a disturbing national trend that is eroding our health and environment, then you should also read Issue 2 carefully to see how voting no will destroy us. Btw, Americans consume forty-five more pounds of meat per year than they did fifty years ago. According to the Pew Commission Report, that increase translates into Americans eating 2.8 times more pig, 2.5 times more eggs, 2.3 times more chicken and 1.3 times more beef. Juxtapose that against national obesity and heart disease stats and you have some very disturbing data.

    If, on the other hand, you agree with the proposition that agriculture in this country suffers from the dominance of a few large companies who care little or not at all for our collective health, the health of our country, our nation’s farmers, or the welfare of animals, then I suggest you read Issue 2 with that in mind and consider whether you wish to give Big Agriculture the constitutional power to regulate itself. In my view *that* would be preposterous.

  29. Ag Community Gets Behind Issue 2
    Sep 29, 2009 2:41 PM, Source: The Daily Record; By: Bobby Warren

    Livestock care first priority for agriculture community

    As one person put it, she heard no compelling reason to vote against a state constitutional amendment to establish a livestock care standards board.

    Kristen Taylor of Chester Township was among about 80 people who attended Thursday’s panel discussion at the University of Akron Wayne College, an event organized by the League of Women Voters of Wayne County.

    The six-member panel explained and debated the ballot initiative, which is known as Issue 2. On the panel were state Sen. Bob Gibbs, who introduced the measure in Columbus; Keith Stimpert of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation; Dianne Shoemaker, a dairy specialist with Ohio State University Extension Office; Kathie Gray, a board member for the Wayne County Humane Society; Dr. Brad Garrison, a local veterinarian who is chairman of the food animal committee of the Ohio Veterinarian Medical Association; and Joe Logan, representing the Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance.

    Gibbs characterized the effort as a proactive approach by the industry that create a board of experts who would follow science-based research to determine what the standards of care for livestock should be. He viewed the issue as one of economics (with 20 percent of Ohioans employed in food processing, whether from producer to retail), consumer choice and food safety. If standards are expensive to implement, it could lead to higher levels of food importation where there is no control on how it is raised.

    Stimpert said the creation of the board goes to preserving family farms in Ohio. He has also seen an increase in consumers wanting to know how and where their food is produced. A board establishing care standards based on science will help to assure consumers the livestock was produced safely and raised humanely.

    To read the entire article, link here.

  30. Local Feedlot Strives to Educate Public
    Amanda Nolz September 30th, 2009
    Yesterday, I attended the Mitchell Area Chamber’s annual agriculture tour, featuring a prominent feedlot in the area, Hostler Farms, LLC. Larry, Travis and Kenny Hostler own and operate the 3,996 head capacity feedlot, which is located near Mt. Vernon, S.D. With over 80 people in attendance, the tour highlighted the nuts and bolts of the feeder cattle business, explaining the challenges and environmental obstacles, as well as showcasing the improvements being made on their operation. I spoke with Larry Hostler about his operation at the end of the tour, and we had a great conversation about kids in production agriculture, trials of the feedlot business, educating the general public about agriculture and advice for the next generation. Read on to learn all about it!

    I had the opportunity to interview Larry about an array of topics, and you can listen to our podcast below. For now, here are a few quotes from his presentation at the feedlot…

    Hostler on encouraging kids to stay in production agriculture…

    “My mission and goal is to help my kids stay in production agriculture,” said Hostler, who also works as a vocational teacher in Mitchell, S.D. “It’s important to encourage our young people to stay agriculture because soon our schools, our churches and our communities will be empty.”

    Hostler on the importance of educating our consumers…

    “There is a cartoon that reads, ‘Why do I care if a bunch of farmers go broke? I buy my food at the grocery store!’ It’s statements like that that make me reconsider the way we are positioning ourselves in the eyes of our consumers. The community needs to understand what we are doing here, and I want to show them that we are a viable business that contributes to the community and the local economy.”

  31. The free range remark was an attempt at humor, granted not a good one, but apparently it was lost on Jason. Speaking in generalities if the size of layer cages were doubled, production could be cut in half along with profitability. Point being, there are a lot of mouths to feed and increasing quickly. Some may misunderstand that I am in favor of large agricultural companies that may sell seed, fertilizer, feed, be involved in feeding, and processing meat. That is not where I am going with my point, as these companies have already cornered too much market and power, and have had a huge impact on the input costs for family farms. Some of the restrictions that could be placed on raising animals for food could be in the large companies favor as it would decrease the competitiveness of larger family operations. Where does that lead us as we try to feed a hungry world, at the same time take away the livelihoods of more Americans? I think things are moving too fast and we need to step back and consider the ramifications of our rashness on future generations.

  32. More correctly consider if we went to buildings with laying hens loose with roosting boxes on the sides, it would require larger amounts of space, inefficient use of labor, etc… I don’t even like chickens, I graze feeder calves (please try not to tell anyone I was defending a chicken farmer).

  33. Hutch, Your comment #31 is, I think, part of the real dialogue that needs to happen about Issue 2 and the sorrowful state of American agriculture. There is room for reasonable people to disagree about the tools to fix the problem and even about the exact nature of the problem. But we have common ground on the fact that there is a problem and about some of its characteristics. I see that as a very good place to begin.

    And I’ll make a deal with you: I won’t tell anyone you defended a chicken farmer if you’ll stop pasting other people’s words into this comment section. I’d like to keep this space dedicated to exchanging our own ideas rather than those of others.

  34. Regarding Hutch’s comment, it should not take an “expert” to know that gestation crates and battery cages should be banned because they are inhumane.

    It seems Hutch would want love to institutionalize phoney intellectual debates on issues like that indefinitely. For Hutch and other similar so-called “animal experts” they could comfortably rest on their overblown egos as experts in so-called “animal science” while billions of animals needlessly suffer.

  35. I wouldn’t want our governor or any member of the legislature appointing a board which makes desicions about our food supply.
    Look at the job they’ve done with the local economy and local schools here in Ohio.
    This is one farmer who is voting ‘no’ on issue #2.

  36. Animal Science is not the only “Science” involved in the animal agriculture industry. There are countless veterinarians in this country who have dedicated their entire lives to the well-being of large animals, much the same as the doctors committed to well-being of each of you and your families. All of the practices that are currently expected are approved by these animal doctors as humane.

    This board will help to eliminate the livestock owners who currently have not chosen to follow these practices and instead operate behind closed doors, out of the view of the public eye. These producers are no more the friend of the proponents of Issue 2 than the radical activists. Ohio farmers who abide by the rules are intelligent enough to know that peak production comes from happy animals who are treated properly. They want every farmer to follow the same husbandry practices that they follow and they want a board of like-minded people to help make this a reality.

    Do not let the oh-so-common “one bad apple ruins it for everyone” approach lead you to make a choice you will later regret. Vote Yes on Issue 2 and ensure the safe, humane raising of livestock so that you can continue to feed your family a product created from honest, hard-working locals with nothing but good intentions.

  37. The proponents of Issue Two are going around saying their “animal scientists” and that as “animal scientists” gestation crates and battery cages are good. They’re a bunch of scammers, because probably the world’s most scholarly and well-known animal scientist, Temple Grandin, who has written several books on animal science and agriculture and spent years in the industry says they’re not. Issue Two is a scam. Vote against it.

  38. My concern is not my current neighborhood farmers. They are good neighbors and good people. My concern is the giant corporation trying to import a family from the Netherlands to run a 2000 head dairy farm down the road and the support they receive from the Ohio Farm Bureau. The proposed farm, being run solely by the imported family, will not even create jobs in our community. This corporation and the Ohio Farm Bureau don’t care about MY hard-working Ohio Family. They don’t care about poisoning the water we drink and the air we breathe with the 3 8-acre cesspools needed to handle the manure from this operation. They don’t care that they will threaten the water and wildlife in the local State Park and reservoir. They don’t care about the horde of new flies that will carry the stagnant sewage and deposit it all over the county. Yes, this farm would create local, cheaper milk for Ohioans to buy. But what about the other by-products from these operations? There should be ads showing that 1 glass of creamy white milk equals 2 glasses (or more?) of black stinking cow sewage. I don’t think Ohioans would find that so idyllic. I am not against Dairy Farms or animal farming — I just think the farms need to be kept to a more practical and manageable size. The giant automated CAFOs have too many animals to manage and so raise them in an inhuamne way and without facilities to handle thier excrement. Just like the banking industry, the farm industry has become greedy and is constantly trying to find ways to have MORE animals to exploit without increasing expenses. Many think the ways the animals are treated is okay because they don’t know any different. But I do. I know what it is like to live on my homestead with fresh air and decent water. I will notice when that changes and so will my Family. I don’t know what conditions this board will deem are acceptable for the animals, but there is certainly no indication that they will consider the welfare of the Human animals living in the State, the environment we live in, or out water supply. As far as I can tell, the passage of Issue 2 will only allow CAFOs to run amuck at the expense of all other Ohio Families health and well-being.

  39. Guess what people…you think you cannot afford thing now…you just wait until you pay $4 for a dozen Eggs. Think about where you food comes from. Every farms is trying to deliver you safe food at a resonable cost. If you vote no on this issue and destroy the food industry I hope you enjoy eating imported food with no regulations in place from foreign countries. Kind of like the lead paint on China’s toys we all run out to buy.
    Think of the BIG picture here…keep your local safe food supply going string vote YES on 2!

  40. The dairy farm scenario mentioned above is exactly the type of thing that a board such as this will strive to stop. Point #39 is merely a side effect of the interests of the radical activists (albeit one that would lead to the demise of the small farm and further promote a monopoly of “factory farms” cited multiple times in this thread).

    The true reason that a YES vote on Issue 2 is necessary is to ensure the proper husbandry of livestock in our state. Anyone who has seen the inner workings of a reputable producers facility would see that the best interest of the animal is of utmost priority. The reputable producer is not afraid to add cost that he/she may never recoup if it’s what is best for the animal’s well-being. This board would simply mandate these actions which is what Animal activists and reputable producers alike are striving to achieve.

  41. There is no reason to think that this Board will strive to stop any such abuses. Indeed there is every reason to think that it will not. One only need ask oneself whether Big Ag supports Issue 2 (it does) to understand the motivations behind the measure.

  42. I would sooner pose that “Big Ag” (as you refer to them) supports such a measure b/c it understands that humane treatment is essential and wants to see to it that animal welfare is at the forefront but not in the unreasonable way that animal activists would propose.

    Many people misunderstand that the billion $ activist groups are not nearly as interested in the welfare of animals as they are in turning everyone into a vegan. Animal agriculturalists have a sincere concern for the welfare of animals as these animals provide their livelihood.

  43. This board does not want animal welfare at the forefront at all. That is why we are in this debate – we have come full circle. The ag industry wants animal welfare issues handled by a select few and not be the voters in the form of ballot initiatives. That would be at the forefront – putting it all out there on a ballot for all Ohioans to vote on. Changing the constitution so that animal issues are decided behind closed doors, without input from the public is not at all in “the forefront”.

  44. Indeed, re #42 — I think this commenter has said it all: If you trust Big Ag to treat animals well, then by all means vote for Issue 2. If, on the other hand, you believe that Big Ag’s long and sordid history of brutalizing animals and sacrificing their welfare (and ours) for the bottom line has not earned them a constitutional pass from oversight, then you should vote against Issue 2. The choice is plain.

  45. I still fail to see the logic behind the argument that the board does not want animal welfare at the forefront. Nearly all of the ideas that the radical activists concoct are based on ill logic that are not in the best interest of the animals at all.

    The Human Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of animals and Animal Liberation Front (to name the big players) are far less interested in the welfare of the animals than they are in their true goal of taking livestock away from humans. They want to create an entirely vegan society and would choose euthanization of all large animals before they would spend their billions to take the animals and care for them themselves.

    I also don’t understand why Ohio voters should have a voice in saying what is and what isn’t acceptable in terms of animal welfare. This should be left to professionals who truly understand what animal well-being requires. You don’t see a ballot initiative to approve the use of the vaccines that are keeping our children safe. That decision is left to the professionals appointed to study and approve these creations based on research and industry knowledge, just as this board is being created to do.

    The reason that ballot initiatives banning the use of cages and stalls has passed in California and Florida by state voters is b/c there is absolutely no poultry/swine/veal industry in those states. It’s a ruse…get your plan started on the states that aren’t affected and then use that to later say, “We have already heard the voters of California and we need to follow their lead here in !” I’ve seen pigs housed in the way that HSUS would have us house them and anyone concerned with animal welfare would be appalled if they saw it, too. Individual housing is, and always will be, the best way to raise safe to consume pork products.

    California is the largest dairy producing state in the country and this is exactly why there was no ballot initiative to target the dairy industry. HSUS knew it could not win when up against informed individuals. So they targeted something that the voters of California know nothing about. This is the very definition of deceit…a practice that radical activists love, not “Big Ag.”

  46. I love this idea that these “radical activists” aren’t concerned about animal welfare — that they have some other shadow, evil agenda. It’s hard to see how anyone could buy it, but clearly some do. In any case, the info above about Prop 2 is highly misleading. Big Ag spent huge $$ to defeat Prop 2 — especially the poultry industry — because there is an enormous amount of factory farming in California. The claim was that treating animals humanely would destroy their business. These claims are eerily similar to those of the auto industry when the government mandated a switch to unleaded gas. Apparently requiring catalytic converters in automobiles sounded the death knell for car travel in this country. That was over 30 years ago. In sum, the agriculture industry’s talking points are hollow and factually wrong– an unsurprising development given its history and agenda.

  47. Of course the poultry industry spent money to try to defeat Prop 2 in California. They short 30 second clips that HSUS show the voter are from the producers that reputable animal agriculturalists want eliminated. They are the clips from farms that give a bad name to the folks who play by the unenforced rules. We need this board to enforce the humane treatment of animals before every producer is under the thumb of activists who have no true understanding of how to humanely raise livestock and poultry.

    Also, I’m very happy that you love the idea that these activists aren’t concerned about animal welfare. Especially considering it’s true. They want a vegan world…visit their website and it’s plain as day.

    It may seem like the targets of Prop 2 in California are walking away unscathed but that is simply b/c HSUS was smart enough to allow a 10 year phase out period. Most Americans can’t remember what they did yesterday and they will surely not remember in 10 years that they allowed these vegan lovers to ruin the agriculturalists who have fed their families for the past decade if Issue 2 does not pass.

    To bring it all back to the beginning of the discussion…I agree with point 2 that it’s amazing that the people who give years of their life and 10s of 1000s of their $ to learn what it is to properly raise animals have thier intentions questioned by someone who spends 30 seconds to write out a check to HSUS or PETA. This board is necessary for both animals and producers alike. Vote YES for Issue 2.

  48. I find this discussion very interesting. In such a modern world where more and more of our grass is being replaced with concrete and we are forced to purchase the air above an existing building to add a new structure above it, I am baffled at how we can consciously attack the farmer who feeds our families. Americans are ungrateful as a whole. A person decides to work from sun-up until sun-down in a physical line of work that leaves him barely able to pay his bills and he is chastised for making the best of what he has to work with. With a little bit of research I found the following math that boggles the mind. A sow herd of about 13000 adult females (it seem the average size of a herd is 2500 so this would be 5 herds in reality) would produce 325,000 market hogs in a year’s time. When figured out on a daily basis, this herd would feed 5285 people on a daily basis. If we continue to take away the farmers ability to raise animals and to take away the land he has to raise corn to feed them, we will all lose in the end. Should a 9-5 business man who is uneducated on the matter be allowed to make these decisions? Leave it to the veterinarians and the local producers to do what they know is right!

    I will be voting YES on Issue 2 and I hope that my fellow Ohio voters will do the same.

  49. I’m not a “real” farmer but I do raise goats and chickens as a “hobby”….I sell some eggs and use my poultry products (meat) for feeding my family. Many of my friends are farmers and I don’t know anyone who is a HSUS or PETA supporter! Prior to reading this Blog I was thinking about voting NO on Issue 2 because I’m not a big fan of changing the state (or federal) constitution based on some special interest group wanting things their way. Issue 2 smells like it is backed by a special interest group and it is obviously opposed by another special interst group!

    If the Ohio Farm Bureau is supporting Issue 2 maybe I need to learn more about it before casting my vote. So call me one of those “undecided” voters but I’m starting to see some very good reasons for voting YES instead of NO at this point! Thanks everyone for your comments.

  50. math-man’s comment is spot on….most of the farmers I know are very hard workers and everyday they loose a little more! His comments also prompted me to do a little math, too.

    The cost of raising ONE chicken for a “hobby farmer” like myself (who buys feed from a local feed store in 50# bags) averages about $12 per chicken a year….that’s $3.00 a pound for farm fresh chicken before butchering! My local butcher shop charges $2.50 per chicken to butcher and vacuum pack a whole chicken. Now I have $14.50 in the chicken and I have not factored in the cost of fuel (all those trips to the feed store and butcher shop) nor accounted for the value of my time (no hourly wage caring for my chickens).

    Kroger, in my area sells whole chickens for less than $1 a pound typically. This would not be possible without the “factory” farm as the HSUS and PETA folks would call them. I can’t sell processed chickens unless I am properly licensed and meet all state and local heathy safety standards (more cost). I would need to sell my chickens at $5-6 per pound to make a “very small” profit and need to raise 75,000 chickens a year on my little 8 acre property to support my family if chicken farming were my real job! Who would buy my $5-6 per pound chickens if Kroger can get them from Arkansas or Geogia for much less and sell them here in Ohio for $1 per pound?

    Farmers….the real men and women in the state of Ohio and other parts of the USA are doing ALL of us a great service. Whether they are part of a “corporate farm” or selling meat and produce locally we should be supporting their efforts not telling them how many chickens they can cram into a cage! That farmer knows he looses money if his chickens die from overcrowding, his pigs or cattle will get disease if he doesn’t keep the yards and barns cleaned properly. So maybe we should vote YES for Issue 2!

  51. OHBuckeye, I am glad you are starting to see the light. While I understand your comments, I do, want to disagree with you in the way you present your last paragraph. Farmers do not argue that “cramming chickens into a cage” or “overcrowding” are bad things. The small snippets that HSUS would show you where these things happen are exactly the types of producers that this Board would work to shut down. Imagine how much faster Buckey Egg (mentioned above) would have been shut down with a dedicated group, pushing to get them to close their doors. Instead, it was tied up in court for years and animals were left to suffer even longer.

    Issue 2 does not support “Big Ag.” It supports “Responsible Ag.” Vote YES for Issue 2!

  52. I can remember the Buckeye Egg incident as it happened while I was earning my degree from The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. There wasn’t a professor nor student who wouldn’t have stood right next to the lobbyists pushing for the closing of the facilities. Those types of producers give a black eye to the producers who do things right. I’m voting YES for Issue 2 b/c I want these producers shut down without punishing the responsible farmers.

  53. Glad to see more proponents of Issue 2 and also glad to see such strong supporting arguments. No matter how you slice it, Issue 2 is a good thing for producer, animal and consumer alike. Vote YES for Issue 2 in November!

  54. Math-man: Don’t confuse real farmers with agri-farmers. Real farmers raise their livestock in a manner that is humane. I’ve been in farming for ~40 years and based upon what I have read as the requirements for Prop 2 of CA find nothing offensive about the requirement. Agri-business, on the other hand, will obviously lose some of their profits, which is the focus of their being. I don’t know that I’ve made up my mind about Issue 2 yet. From what I have read so far, it appears to only benefit agri-business and harm, small farming and tax payers in general. Who is going to pay for this oversight body, afterall.

  55. I think that Math-man actually makes a very good point. We are already pushing for space and there is actually a moritorium (spelling?) in N.C. prohibiting the construction of new sow units. How can we expect farmers to maintain the production that they currently have (with humane practices already in place) when they would have to build bigger facilities to accomodate what HSUS would call humane wihtout any real scientific basis. This would eat up the precious crop land that surrounds these units. If the units have to grow and the corn supply is reduced (leading to increased corn cost…a product that is purchased from your “real farmers”), how are large producers supposed to provide us with a product that we can afford? It’s bad enough that animal agriculturalists are facing increased costs b/c of the pipe dream that is ethanol production. Contrary to popular belief, the large scale farmers aren’t getting rich off of their business. They are simply raising livestock and nothing else (many “real farmers” have full time jobs and plant and harvest in the evenings when they feed their dozen chickens and pair of pigs) b/c volume is required to stay afloat. I can’t say this enough…Issue 2 needs to pass or the voters will be in for a rude awakening that will totally blindside them.

  56. It seems to me that most comments point to the necessity to keep farming decisions to Ohioans and not to outside “special interest groups”. While this is a valid point, it seems to be a scare tactic from talking about the power that is given to this small group to make decisions about all aspects of agriculture (not just animal welfare issues). I have noticed that most of the scrutiny has been on HSUS and other animal welfare groups, but to my knowledge, there is no legislation in Ohio backed by HSUS or PETA or any other group and there is no Proposition 2 on the ballot like there was in California.

    I am not an Ohio voter, but if I were, I would want to know why this committee would be the best for farmers aside from the animal welfare perspective. If you refer to one of the first comments, Mike does not give a “rat’s ass” about animal issues (and I have a feeling most farmers/Ohioans may feel the same) so why then, putting animals aside, is this non-elected agriculture groups essential or good for Ohio and farmers? What is the guarantee given to someone like Myers (comment 38) that their environmental/health concerns will be met by this group? There are legitimate questions to setting up a committee like this that I think are not being addressed and I urge people in Ohio to think about those issues as well.

  57. Oh, and it’s “moratorium”, I think someone asked about that.

  58. Comment 47 hit the nail on the head in describing the way that HSUS works. Laura said early in this blog that HSUS approached Ohio agriculture leaders to try and reach a common ground. This is not the case in the least. In actuallity, they approached to simply say, “We will bring a ballot initiative in the near future.” Now I can’t pretend that I was at the meeting, but I’ve read enough and heard enough from inside sources to know that HSUS confirmed this plan in the meeting. It is almost a case of cockiness…”We’re gunning for you and there’s nothing you can do about it!” I would argue that the ease with which Prop 2 passed in other states gave these radical activists a sense of invicibility. What they didn’t count on is Ohio agriculture making a move first.

    Don’t misunderstand any of the above paragraph as me saying that one group is trying to beat another to the punch. There are already countless ways in which our local agriculture groups have been self-policing. This is just another way that responsible Ohio farmers are trying to set rules for themselves. Remember that farmers live in the same communities that they feed and drink the same water that everyone else does.

    Please visit a few of the links below to see how this has been accomplished in the past. It’s really quite astonishing that this industry does a very good job of pushing for what is right for every party involved…they don’t just sit around and wait to be told “no” and then begrudgingly make a change. We, as Ohio voters, should put people similar to those in the links below in charge of making these decisions and giving their animals the humane treatment they deserve.

    This link outlines provisions that Ohio farmers imposed upon themselves in response to the Buckeye Egg incident:

    This link lists local feed providers who have earned an award for providing safe feed to the animals Ohioans raise:

    This link shows what has been done, by choice, by local agricultural leaders and the Board’s creation would help to address the issue of the dairy farm that causes run-off into local water supplies:

    This next one is particularly impressive…it shows the National Environmental Steward Awards (re-read that “National” part)winners and quite amazingly, Ohio farmers were given the award in 3 consecutive years:

    I could keep digging forever and find countless links. It’s just like anything else though…for every 100 good things that go overlooked there is 1 bad thing that makes the evening news. This Board would push to eliminate that 1 bad thing before animals are left to suffer needlessly due to improper facilities or a producer that simply doesn’t care. Should the responsible producers, like those in the above links that are being recognized for their unforced, individual efforts be punished or should they be given the ability to get the “bad apples” on board? A YES vote on Issue 2 would allow the latter, which is best for all Ohio citizens and animals alike.

  59. Laura and David, thanks for providing the platform for such an in-depth discussion. I work at the HSUS and would like to add a few thoughts.

    We are not trying to demonize farmers but rather to push for modest changes in how certain animals are housed. I’ve seen a number of comments from farmers that speak to the hard work involved in this livelihood — early mornings, late nights, unpredictable conditions, and so forth. I don’t doubt this is true, but I think it’s a separate issue from the industry-wide acceptance of intensive practices such as the use of battery cages and gestation crates. While this approach is certainly efficient at converting animals into food, it comes at a great cost to the most basic needs of those animals.

    Animals are built to move, and they should be allowed enough space to stand up, turn around, and extend their limbs. This belief is well aligned with mainstream values around the treatment of animals, even those raised for food.

    Issue 2 is a reactive measure that doesn’t call for any changes to the current system. Rather, it creates a board stacked in favor of factory farms. If those in agriculture are looking for accountability and transparency, why is this proposed board being enshrined in the state’s constitution and elevated above the normal system of checks and balances provided by elected officials?

  60. Because Ohio’s farmers play an essential role in ensuring a safe, affordable supply of local food; in shaping the fabric of local communities; in providing jobs in both rural and urban areas; and in contributing billions of dollars to Ohio’s economy, it is right to allow Issue 2 – and the foundation it lays for preserving Ohio’s agricultural future – to be considered by all Ohio voters. In this way, state officials will know there is broad public support for Ohio’s collaborative approach to resolving animal care issues.

    It is often noted that constitutional law is inflexible and hard to change as events and circumstances evolve. But Issue 2 is written to preserve flexibility by providing an ongoing mechanism for making important animal care decisions, and updating them over time as necessary

    Everything from how we spend money on parks and natural resources to how we handle economic development in our state is addressed in the Ohio Constitution. In Ohio, agriculture is our largest industry, and farmers use our natural resources every single day to bring us safe, affordable and locally grown food. In this sense, it is perfectly logical to put the Livestock Care Standards Board in Ohio’s Constitution, because so many related issues are already there.

  61. I don’t dispute that farming and agriculture are a core part of Ohio’s economy, but this argument doesn’t justify a constitutionally-mandated board. Animal agriculture is already regulated through the Ohio Dept. of Agriculture, with rule-making that allows for public input.

    This board, on the other hand, would operate independently with no formal review or evaluation, no clear process for appealing a decision, and possibly no term limits.

    Many small farmers have expressed concern over the make-up of this board that favors agribusiness, and the only way to change it would be through another constitutional amendement.

  62. In response to Hillary, I feel that the links I put out there for viewing were largely passed over. They are some very telling examples of how agri-business has been self-policing and trying to do what is right for the animal, the consumer and their neighbors. These are the types of minds that need to be mandating what is unacceptable, not Washington based activists who claim to know what is best for the industry withouth scientific backing and instead with personal opinion. The science doesn’t lie. The practices that are currently being used to produce the safe food that we all eat are completely in compliance with the animals best interest.

    I found Math-man’s numbers to be particularly compelling. It’s amazing how much our local farmers provide for us and I find it highly disappointing that we would question their intentions. All animal agriculturists (be they small or large operations) are fully aware that they work with animals and not machines. The intention of this board is to ensure the well-being of all animals without compromising the safety of the product, the cost at which the product can be made available to the consumer or the environment surrounding the site.

    I am also confused as to why a small farmer would be afraid of this board for any reason. This board does not target small farmers with the intentions of eliminating them. Elimination of small farms does not help the large-scale producer in any way. The demographics that the two target are entirely different, in fact. Most small farmers are either producing a product for minimal profit with methods similar to the large-scale producer or they are producing a product for a niche market. Niche products always sell for higher prices…but what happens when the mass produced product becomes expensive and the niche market is left to either try and compete or raise it’s prices? This is the exact scenario that will happen if HSUS is allowed to make decisions in place of industry professionals who actually care about their neighbor farmer. If the small farmer is afraid because he is not caring properly for his animals, then he has every reason to be afraid. No matter what the outcome, one of the two entities will see to it that he either reforms or retires.

    Leave it to the producers, veterinarians and other professionals who are already doing it right to enforce the rules to the people who are doing it wrong. Visit the links in my previous post. These are the people who take pride in knowing what they do is right and it this type of mentality that we, as Ohioans, need to put in charge.

  63. If the Ohio Dept. of Ag already regulates animal agriculture, why would it be necessary for HSUS to seek a ballot iniative in 2010? That is likely what will happen, regardless of the outcome of Issue 2. I am a county Farm Bureau member and volunteer, and our farming community is mostly made up of (sorry friends) small time hillbilly farmers with baling wire patched equipment, part-time farmers, hobby farmers, and several large family farm operations, and I can not think of any who are not in favor of Issue 2. They are able to understand that the alternative may be very much more damaging to their families and decendants.

  64. HSUS will seek an ititiative in 2010 b/c they will not be happy until they eliminate animal agriculture. As stated above my multiple posters, they want a vegan world and pretend to be tolerant of current practices as they push towards that goal. Every time they chip away at modern agriculture and add a bit more cost here and a bit more inconvenience there, they get one step closer to that goal. Issue 2 will allow educated individuals to develop and enforce rules for the welfare of animals as they realize it is important but have thus far been unable to strictly enforce the safe practices already being used by large-scale producers. Do not buy into the “feel-good” solution offered by HSUS…there are hidden motives behind every thing they do.

    YES on 2!

  65. Also, AMAZED, I was happy to see a post by a smaller producer who understands what large-scale operations provide. I know many upper management people in various large-scale production facilities who want animal well-being to be at the forefront and would fight for it without going to the extremes that a Washington based activist group would go to. While the small-time farmer has no reason to think that Issue 2 will hurt him, it’s refreshing to see that smaller farmers are wise to the foolish activist views.

  66. The farming community doesn’t speak with one voice, and opposition to Issue 2 by the Ohio Farmers Union is a good example. It’s unfortunate that those who find the HSUS threatening seem so unwilling to acknowledge any common ground. I believe farmers care about animal welfare. I also believe the general public supports the idea that farm animals should have enough room to stand up, turn around, and lie down in their enclosures.

  67. Sorry, I should have added the ability to extend their limbs in my last sentence.

  68. I’ve been trying to stay low-key in what I’ve posted in regards to allowing Ohio’s farm affiliated patrons do what they do best through the creation of this board, but I think it’s time to throw out a few facts. These are not things that I’ve made up. They are things that HSUS doesn’t want you to know.

    1. HSUS is a humane society in name only – it operates no pet shelters nor adoption facilities anywhere in the U.S. and contributes less than four percent of its substantial budget to organizations that operate dog and cat shelters.

    2. HSUS funds no rsearch on farm animal care despite the fact that they say it is a problem.

    3. HSUS is the largest and richest animal rights lobbying organization, with an operating budget of $91.5 million in 2007 and net assets exceeding $200 million.

    4. HSUS raised nearly $5.5 million in online donations alone in 2007.

    5. The HSUS factory farming home page directly advocates for veganism – underscoring that the organization’s true agenda in its legislative efforts is to end all meat consumption.

    6. Paul Shapiro, manager of HSUS’ factory farming campaign, told a conference that “nothing is more important than promoting veganism.”

    7. HSUS is a multinational conglomerate that includes a huge web of organizations, affiliates and subsidiaries – both non-profit and for-profit.

    To accuse the farming community of trying to get Issue 2 passed for special interest is the biggest line of garbage on this page. The main campaign site proudly sports the tag line, “Don’t let special interest hijack the constitution!” which is just plain hypocritical. HSUS is nothing more than a special interest group that wants a vegan world. Before they are allowed to achieve this hidden agenda, it’s the duty of every Ohio voter to do what is right and allow the formation of this Board to let the animal agriculturalists handle those who choose not to do what is best for the animals.

    And for what it’s worth, the Ohio Farmer’s Union is not representative of Ohio farmers. It too, is more closely associated in name alone than in it’s actions. If you are interested in hearing from a voice that speaks for the Ohio farmer, turn to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation at ofbf.org. Vote YES on Issue 2!

  69. I found this blog while searching for info about Issue 2. I find the corporate campaign for “Safe Local Food for Ohio” very compelling. I was curious what was behind the program and why the big push.

    As a kid I grew up on a small family farm and was involved in OFBF. I thought it was one of the best organizations around and indeed it offers much to farmers in organization.

    I am for the rights of Ohioans to help guide how local food is raised. I find it interesting that OFBF has captured the idea of “Local Foods,” by creating a campaign which promotes the opposite. That is, corporate oversight for what should fall under individual rights.

    The local foods movement is about small growers and citizens building a local economy. I am skeptical that this Issue is about anything other than industry protectionism.

  70. Roade, what you may not realize is that protecting the industry is exactly what is happening. This Board would move to push the presented motives of the HSUS without going to the unneccessary extremes that they would push to achieve their true motives (veganism). The Board would be created to put practices into place that ensure animals are treated humanely and food is produced safely without going so far as to make raising livestock and purchasing meat products too expensive for Ohians.

    I’ll proudly sport my Vote YES on Issue 2 sign until the election. And if Ohioans are too foolish to see the forest for the trees and vote it down, I’ll hang my head in shame at the fact that propoganda has persuaded uninformed individuals to do something detrimental to their own best interests.

  71. I’m not against Vegans. And I do not understand why people hate them. However, in doing a word search on the Humane Society site, I did not find one use of the word, vegan. Can you tell me where you are seeing this?

    In my local market, many small farms have their own chickens, goats and other animals. If you want “grass-fed” local food you are already paying a premium. Again, not legislated and not protected by a board of directors.

    Bucknut mentions propaganda on the side of the “No” crowd. Yet I have yet to see something there. All I’ve seen is promotion from every lobbying organization known to farmers starting with the NRA. The NRA is hardly un-biased. How are food prices related to gun freedom.

    I’d like to see an example of how not having this oversight board is likely to lead to higher costs. This is “FEAR” talk. I’m familiar with this form of persuasion coming from the GOP. I don’t buy it.

  72. You need look no farther than the Propositions put on the ballot by HSUS in California and Florida. They chose those states due to the low prevelance of target farms in those states so that they could say that, “We’ve already convinced the people of California and Florida…” They basically made it impossible for producers to continue to provide the product in those states (again, keep in mind that these states have little outside of dairy which was conveniently not targeted in the Proposition) due to the outlandish regulations imposed. Animal welfare is already at the forefront of the responsible farmer’s agenda and this Board will put these practices into place without going way overboard the way that HSUS did in the aforementioned states.

    And I don’t think that I ever said I was against vegans either. I just don’t agree with them using their billions of dollars to push their beliefs on others through unfounded legislation when responsible legislation is more sensible.

  73. It’s typical of Big Ag and those who repeat its talking points to try to demonize HSUS and also to conflate the Issue under consideration with those who support it. Industrial Agriculture does not want animals to have room to move around and most citizens (including small farmers) do. Thus we have the success of Proposition 2 (and CA had and has plenty of factory farms) and the recent Michigan initiative as well as those in other states. Those initiatives passed despite the vociferous opposition and big $$ spending of the Industrial Agriculture lobby.

    Issue 2 is about giving Big Ag a free pass to abuse animals as it sees fit in the name of science and profit. If you believe they should have that free pass, then vote for Issue 2. If you don’t then vote against it.

    Citizens of Ohio, including its humane societies are lining up in opposition to this misguided initiative. See today’s post for an update: https://animalblawg.wordpress.com/2009/10/13/ohio-humane-societies-come-out-against-issue-2/.

  74. Here is some sow housing research done by scientists (still waiting to see some HSUS research that refutes this). I’ll keep digging for chicken and veal calf research as well.

    “Group housing often increases the rates of sow scratches and skin lesions. One recent paper (Salak-Johnson et al., 2007) measured sow body condition, skin lesions and sow performance when sows were in crates or pens with between 1.4 to 3.3 m2 per sow (15, 25 or 35 ft2 per sow in a pen of 5 sows).

    The Illinois scientists found that sows were fatter but had lower body weight when in crates than in group housing (Table 2). They also found an increase in the rate of skin lesions for group-housed sows compared with individually crated sows, some of which had been in crates for multiple pregnancies.

    The activists and market forces have shown how they can shape the industry. It is time for the industry to do some soul-searching to discover other areas of animal welfare concern and to develop a proactive approach of research and implementation of findings to get ahead of criticism and to take advantage of market forces that care about farm animal welfare.”

    Taken from The Pig Site

    Taking away individual housing is quite the opposite of the presented goal of activists. We need to vote YES on Issue 2 so that we can allow the educated individuals who’ve devoted their lives to animal care to push for humane treatment from those that currently aren’t using such practices. If HSUS gets it’s way, they’ll go way overboard and we’ll end up with exaclty what the research above says. Animal agriculture leaders recognize that something must be done and the formation of this Board is the path they’ve decided to take in an effort to prove that animal well-being is their top priority.

  75. Roade, I am not against vegans either as that is their choice; however; when they are trying to impose their beliefs on me and eliminating some of my choices I tend to get a little defensive. Has anyone ever wondered why they care so much what we eat? Dealing with coruptable humans and the amounts of money that animal rights organizations seem to be able to generate I have to wonder. I am not sure how you see this as a corporate campaign. If you were/are a Farm Bureau member I do not understand where you got the idea the organization has any ties to agricultural corporations such as Tyson, Hormel, Conagra, etc. They are an organization of family farmers to watch out for their interests. NRA and any organization that is watching out for human rights should be interested in this as we all are consumers. Concerning your apprehensions about the tie-in to higher food costs note the comments above on competitiveness and increased costs of production.

  76. Reasonable people can agree that there is more than one way to measure animal welfare. It’s a complicated issue, and no one group has a corner on the market. As Bucknut points out, some studies have shown that group-housed sows are prone to injury by other sows, so group housing that isn’t well-managed is problematic. On the other hand, studies that have evaluated animal welfare in terms of housing systems have often concluded that gestation crates frustrate many of a pig’s most basic instincts. Here’s one example:

    According to the AVMA’s Task Force on the Housing of Pregnant Sows, “Sows housed in stalls cannot exercise…control over their environment. They can use only minimal behavior to thermoregulate, cannot avoid sows that are aggressive or approach those with whom grooming relationships might be established, cannot flee a fear-producing stimulus, and cannot easily choose a place to lie down that is separate from where they defecate….In general…lack of control over stressful components of the environment suggests a reduction in welfare.” (Task Force on the Housing of Pregnant Sows. 2005. A comprehensive review of housing for pregnant sows. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 227(10):1580-90.)

    The argument that the HSUS is trying to put farmers out of business might hold more water if not for the case that we have actively sought to encourage more robust markets for crate-free pork and cage-free eggs. The demand is there, and it is growing. Consumers care about the way animals are raised. It’s much too simplistic to reduce this issue to a debate between meat-eaters and vegetarians.

  77. I have read the proposed ammendment. I see nothing in it that refers to cage size of animals or any other such thing. This ammendment in my view is simply to establish yet another board to oversee and yes intrude into the lives of ohio farmers. Yes right now this board is going to be comprised of members suporting the humane treatment of livestock and poultry who also know a thing or two about raising animals. But just to play devils advocate a little bit here. What happens five years from now when differant folks get on this board with oposing views to yours do we amend the constitution again to eliminate this board. I guess my question is this. What will this accomplish? Im in favor of issue 2 on the merit of the idea. Im in oposition to setting up yet another government board to oversee the lives of ohioans. Yes ohio farmers should decide how to raise livestock in ohio no doubt about that. Do we really need another board to tell us what to do. just for the record push comes to shove i will vote yes on this issue. I just would like to know why we really need it thats all and who will oversee this board to keep it honest?

  78. Another Board to oversee the lives of Ohioans? Are you for real? If Ohioans (or the public, in general) could take care of themselves and do things responsibly, this Board, nor what HSUS proposes, wouldn’t be necessary. As it is, though, humans by nature have a “do what’s best for me” mentality and need regulation. Responsible farmers don’t like mistreatment of animals any more than HSUS or any other group or individual, but they also don’t want to be punished by radical proposals that aren’t based on research but rather on feeling. While there is no doubt that people might object to the way responsible farmers do things, responsible farmers are smart enough to know that happy animals produce more. High production is what makes their business profitable (profitable =/= rich). Stalls are necessary and they are what is best for the sow.

    This Board is about putting a group of individuals together to make sure that responsible farming (defined as best for the animal, producer and consumer alike) is what Ohio is known for as we currently have some producers who are not playing by the rules and need to be corrected. Vote YES on Issue 2!!

  79. I work for a large swine operation (over 10,000 sows give or take, across multiple sites) and I am proud to say that we have one of the most progessive stances on animal care of any producer I know.

    Our most recent unit is a 2500 head sow unit that is pen gestation after 42 days (confirmed pregnancy). The farm has been in operation since December of 2008 and I can say with confidence that after seeing sows in a group environment vs sows in a stall system, I am very unhappy with the false beliefs that group housing is a better solution. I see first hand the way that the animals treat each other and this thought that there is at least a way to escape a fear-producing stimulus is garbage. I’ve gone home at night knowing that everything is in order and come in the next day to have sows down or scratched up badly. We’ve never experienced this with gestation stalls.

    So I have to ask…what is better? Is the animals assumed “happiness” to be put in front of her own physical safety? And before I’m even questioned on it…my sows have plenty of room to stretch out their limbs and easily stand up and down and move back and forth. What great sense of satisfaction is added by being able to turn around and deficate in the feeder? This is all just feel-good mumbo-jumbo.

    Management also becomes a nightmare when you are unable to assess an individual animal. How can a farmer be expected to take care of his sows in the best way possible if it’s impossible to tell whether she is in need of special care or just be out-competitioned? We haven’t spent the last 40 years fine tuning our procedures to have someone sitting in an office in Washington tell us what to do.

    On top of the progressiveness of the barn designs, we’ve also instilled employee training that specifically focuses on animal handling (a program known as Pro-Hand developed in Australia that directly links animal handling procedures to stress levels and productivity) as well as installed cameras on our sites so that we can monitor any sort of behavior that is in breach of animal handling policies. I’m confident that a Board such as the one that would be created by Issue 2 will help to make these types of practices more commonplace to weed out the poor producers (large, small, I don’t give a damn…they need to change) who give our industry a bad name.

    As an industry, we’ve already seen the change of our PQA (Pork Quality Assurance) program be revamped to include animal welfare and have also pushed for individual site assessments to ensure that animals are recieving adequate care. These things have taken far too long to implement due to the red tape involved in any changes that are proposed. A Board like this one would speed up these changes and we could more quickly find common ground with our opponents.

    This doesn’t have to be a war. This can be solved with a little bit of effort, and the proposed plan under Issue 2 is a no-brainer in my book. I’ll be voting YES and I hope to see this amendment pass by a landslide.

  80. Re # 79, the contrast could not be more clearly drawn. If you think that pigs are better off and happier when individually confined in a space too small for them to turn around — a state of affairs that just happens to work well for industrial agriculture’s profit margins — and if you think that the people who believe that pigs are happier and better off this way should be exempt from oversight and able to make all decisions regarding the animals in their care, then by all means vote for Issue 2. If you think otherwise, then vote No.

    I certainly agree that this need not be a war and I also believe this dialogue is very constructive. There are fundamentally different visions of animal welfare here but that doesn’t mean we can’t discuss them and work toward a mutually acceptable state of affairs.

  81. David and Hillary…what would either of you propose to be a “mutually acceptable state of affairs” that doesn’t lead to animals being injured on a regular basis. Pigman99’s observations are very concerning. It would appear that he is doing everything possible to promote the well-being of his animals and I’m not certain that I would be comfortable with knowing that animals are left to abuse one another to the point of physical injury.

    It’s been stated further up the line that the extreme changes proposed by animal rights activists would eat up land that this modernized country doesn’t have to give. Also something to note…if you feel that discussion is a means toward a mutually beneficial solution, why was it made known that HSUS was planning a ballot initiative in 2010 leaving the state agriculture leaders take action? It would seem to me that HSUS came at Ohio agriculture as a bully, not a negotiator.

    Lastly…you completely ignored the first hand observations offered by the post. Do you honestly think that animals being placed into a situation where they are doomed to be physically injured by their fellow animals is a good idea? What kind of animal advocate would want such a thing? Keeping the safety and well-being (and therefore the safety of the product) in the hands of informed individuals instead of those who would make decisions based on gut feeling rather than science, fact and first-hand experience is what Issue 2 is all about. Vote YES on Issue 2!!

  82. As a Farm Bureau member I worked on our local committee to find ways to fight and defeat HSUS and PETA at their own game.

    My problem with this constitutional amendment is the excessive power it places in the hands of a 13 member group of non-elected bureaucrats.

    This issue should not have been a constitutional amendment. The same objective to thwart PETA and HSUS could have been accomplished by including the key words “agricultural best management practices for such care and well-being” in section 900 of the Ohio Revised Code.

    The big question for me is, “What did it take to twist the arms of all the members of both the House and Senate to make them take such a draconian measure?” If we change the Constitution every time the wind blows from the wrong direction, what value remains in it? What next? Change the US Constitution to remove free speech and religious freedom?

  83. Comparing a state constitution to the US Constitution is not exactly fair. The US Constitution is a very basic document while a state consitution is far more complex. Do a little bit of digging and you’ll quickly find that a state constitution and the US Constitution are not documents that should be compared as the nearest similarity that they share is in name only.

  84. Issue 2 will protect farmers from special interest groups, namely the animal rights organization, HSUS. HSUS is mainly a lobbying organization and their goal is to eliminate animal use – for food, entertainment, hunting, fishing, or any use by humans. Anything done with animals by humans is termed as “abuse” by animal rightist. Their decisions are made by emotional response instead of logic and truth. I am just wondering where the concern for people lay in the animal rights movement? Many think people can be removed from this earth as seen on their blogs, in favor of animals taking it over roaming free without human intervention. Seems to be something wrong with that idea. God help us all if the animal rightist continue to have their way and hard working decent people are the recipients of their government lobbying efforts. I could not beging to count how much money would be lost in the USA by the laws being perpetuated by HSUS. It would probably make the national deficit pale in comparison overall.

  85. Re #81: Freedom from physical injury does not equal well-treated or happy. If I take my dog to the park, he may encounter another animal and get in a fight or otherwise injured. However, that risk of injury does not mean it would be better for him to spend his life in a cage, unable to socialize or move about. It defies logic and common sense to say that these intelligent and sensitive animals are content to live their lives confined (unable even to turn around) and alone. The reasoning only makes sense when one contextualizes it within the desires of the industry. It is very good for Big Agriculture to confine the animals thus and it is hard to mass produce them without such measures.

    So the issue becomes, does one put the convenience of industry over the welfare of the animals? Or does one attempt to integrate a sound and sensible approach to animal welfare into the industry guidelines? I favor the latter and I do not believe this or any industry should be making its own regulations. The results have been disastrous to date and there is no reason to suspect that will change.

    The idea that decreasing the amount of animal agriculture will cause a land shortage is simply bizarre. Nothing would be better for the ecology of this nation than an elimination of corn subsidies and a return to sustainable agriculture.

  86. Math-man: Gestation crates have been phased out by all pork producers in the European Union, in all production at Maxwell Farms, 50 percent of production at Cargill, and are being phased out at Smithfield Foods–these major producers are making group housing the standard for all of their operations. The laws passed in seven other states simply require that these intelligent animals are given enough room to stand up, lie down, extend their limbs, and turn around. Even if producers balk at group housing, they’d still comply with the law if they allowed their animals enough room in their single enclosure to engage in these very basic behaviors.

  87. David, that dog in the park comparison is not even comparable. The likelihood of that happening is low. The likelihood that the sows I put into a group housing environment will fight is 100%. Being afraid of physical injury and willfully subjecting to physical injury are two different things and HSUS would have us choose the latter. I find it very funny how HSUS acts like they want to work with animal agriculture to come to a reasonable agreement when in reality they continue to try and make it so expensive for us to do our jobs that we have to give up. They are the reason the small farm is disappearing.

    Do we have 45 different automobile manufacturers in the U.S. cranking out 2000 cars a year? No. We have 3 making hundreds of thousands. Those companies have fallen on hardship due to the lack of regulation and this Board will keep that from happening. Don’t blame agri-business for the decline of the small farm. Blame our modern society.

    HSUS would have you believe that the general public doesn’t want a chicken kept in a cage or a sow kept in a stall. The reality is that the American public probably doesn’t give a damn…they just don’t want to feel guilty about it. And they shouldn’t. Animals are no longer viewed for their consumptive value. People have no qualms about dropping $7k on emergency back surgery for a 12 year old dog. They have no issue about spending $1k a month for pet medications. What we need the American public to understand is that the large farmer isn’t doing anything wrong and they don’t need to feel guilty about eating meat. And to post #87…I wouldn’t send you to the lawmakers to argue my case, but you damn sure summed this whole dialogue up in 4 small lines, haha.

  88. #87: So, all those producers in the EU and Smithfield and Maxwell and Cargill — they’re taking on a 100% risk of injury to their sows? The problem with your position (aside from the fact that you’re the same person carrying on the discussion under many different aliases — is that to make it look like more people support Issue 2?) is that you excoriate HSUS for being rigid and illogical while displaying exactly those characteristics yourself.

    In addition to the gestation crate issue, I offer Exhibit 2: “[T]he American public probably doesn’t give a damn…” you say? Great. Then let it go to a ballot initiative and don’t worry about a thing.

    Third: In the same post you blame modern society’s indifference to animal welfare and HSUS’s concern for animal welfare as the reason for the decline of the small farm. Then you say a lack of regulation has caused the problem and that this initiative will somehow lead to more?

    And last, I’m not sure to what post of mine you refer (since you’re #87) but I would happily let you use anything I’ve said to make your argument. Indeed, I would encourage you to do so.

  89. I hardly see how pushing for change makes me rigid and illogical. You only feel that way b/c it’s not the change that you want. I doubt you’ve ever actually watched chickens or sows in their natural environment to see how they really act. You could give them all the room in the world (making it increasingly difficult to care for the animals properly and to ensure proper feed intake for individuals) and they would still spend 99% of their time physically contacting each other while standing, laying down, eating, drinking and walking around. The idea that individual housing for sows or cages for chickens is bad is a feel-good argument, not one based on science and fact.

    I hope that Ohioans pass this initiative so that we can see reform come to the producers who truly are poorly caring for their animals. There is no doubt that we all agree that must be done. But pushing for the removal of stalls and cages is a ploy to increase production costs based on feeling, not fact. It has nothing to do with animal welfare and is a total deception. It’s a back-door stepping stone towards the ultimate goal of a vegan society.

  90. I have to agree with Mike Underwood, poster #1, on this. It is a power grab. Although I want animals treated decently, they are not people and do not warrant the same rights as people.

    If a board is appointed, they can mandate whatever they want. They can demand that animals be tagged and that the USDA, which is becoming more and more of a police power, can walk onto your property at any time without a search warrant and make all kinds of demands. This is ridiculous. They are practically doing it now. More power to more government officials is not the answer to ANYTHING.

  91. I would only ask if you have something to fear? If animals are being treated properly, you needn’t worry about government officials pushing you to change your ways. And let’s be realistic here…there isn’t goint to be an ABI (Animal Bureau of Investigation) to bust down your door with guns drawn telling you to get down on the floor. But currently, nothing is being done to truly ensure the well-being of the animals under our care and producers want to change that.

    I was at the Animal Welfare Symposium at The Ohio State University on Friday and a lot of good points were made by both sides from professors, Farm Bureau reps, Animal Sanctuary reps and even an HSUS rep. Everyone agreed that change needs to happen and I heard rumblings from the OPPC that we are going to see a really big push for Pro-Hand to be used for training of animal workers. The sole disagreement among the panel of representatives (and the audience in attendance) was the determination of how much space an animal truly needs. The science based individuals who benefit from ANIMAL WELL-BEING and can not be successful without PROPERLY CARING FOR ANIMALS stayed with the thought that stalls and cages are the best way to raise our animals in an environment that will keep them safe and happy. The activists, were of course, in favor of extra space considerations being given to animals.

    I know that there is never going to be common ground on that situation b/c scientists follow science and activists follow feeling…but the whole point of Issue 2 is that we are trying to be proactive in making sure that animals are treated properly and that their well-being is at the forefront on any farm, no matter the size.

    I can’t stress enough the final paragraph of my comment in #89. Vote YES on Issue 2!!

  92. What in intesting blog. I will be voting yes on Issue 2. It seems everyone wants to be an expert, but will not believe Pigman99, who truly is an expert and a professional pork farmer. I too, am a professional family pork farmer and have sows housed in pen housing and individual housing and agree 100% with Pigman99. The sows in pens fight each other sometimes to death, most people don’t realize that a 500 lb sow can be very visious and by the way the last tens days before birthing, the sows vulva swells to about the size of my fist, when sows are in a pen the first place they attack each other the last ten days is the vulva. There is nothing worse than seeing sows all tore up in a pen. Our sows in individual stalls recieve the best care. I know immediately if one has not eaten, they have water in front of them all the time and their housing is completely computer controlled. You get the idea, but many won’t believe us who know what is best for the animals. As for one of the previous posters who couldn’t find the word Vegan on HSUS website then they must be blind and don’t have a computer with brail. I have went to the HSUS website and downloaded the 21 page PDF file on how to be a vegan. If all HSUS wanted was for animals to stand up turn around, and spread their limbs, then they would NOT attack the dairy, broiler (meat chicken) and sheep industries. A lot of the other posters have it right, a vote no on Issue 2 is for being a vegan and a vote Yes is for setting up a board of Ohioans to set manageable livestock care standards in Ohio and preserves your right to choose what ever kind of food you want to eat. PS, The Ohio Catholic Conference have come out to Support Issue 2 and have great references for those that want to check it out, just google it. I and all my friends and family will be VOTING YES ON 2.

  93. Papa Web, have you witnessed animals that have been group housed for several weeks, sometimes 30+ days that have been long over the fighting period suddenly begin to pick on one sow (I’m talking overnight, here) to the point of her going down? It’s been an issue we’ve faced that we do not have a solution to. We typically are left to pull her out to a stall and treat her physical injury in the hopes that she gets better.

    Sorry for turning this blog into a Q&A among fellow farmers but I truly do care for the well-being of my animals, contrary to what others would have you believe.

  94. I have noted on my long, predominantly rural daily commute, that the roadside is festoon with signs supporting Issue 2. The many small farmers, whose land I travel along, all seem to be in agreement that Issue 2 will be good for them and for Ohio. I really didn’t give the matter a second thought until I noticed an odd juxtaposition on the outskirts of one of the towns I travel through, Yellow Springs. To date, the only “No on 2” sign I have seen anywhere along my travels was in Yellow Springs, a town with a reputation which, for good or ill, is well-deserved. But not 100 yards beyond this lonely sign, I saw posted outside of a veterinarian’s office the same ubiquitous “Yes On 2” sign that the farmers all display. My interest was piqued, and led me to numerous sites where the matter is being discussed, including this one.

    From my investigation, I think it fairly safe to conclude that the rhetoric employed by the “No on 2” side speaks volumes to their biases and intentions. They have attempted to transform the neologism “agribusiness” into an epithet worthy of contempt, but what farm isn’t an “agricultural business?” The small farmers I see supporting Issue 2 probably realize the potential restrictions that would be placed on them by the legislative activities of organizations such as HSUS and PETA would jeopardize there businesses and livelihoods. Since larger businesses tend to be able to absorb the costs of increased regulation, while small businesses frequently cannot, I believe their concerns warranted.

    Some seem to think that support for Issue 2 comes from those uninterested in animal welfare. Well, the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association is one of the many organizations which support its passage.

    That this bulwark against increased regulation comes at the price of the expansion of government authority is unusual, but certainly not paradoxical. I am sympathetic to the sincerely made argument against implementation of this protection to Ohio farmers via constitutional amendment. Constitutional amendments are a grave matter, not to be taken lightly. But I strongly suspect many who make this argument do so with a heavy dose of mendacity. In my opinion, those who employ the word “agribusiness” as an invective, those who seem to reflexively oppose any action which creates or retains jobs and grows commerce, are largely cut of the same authoritarian cloth that are all too happy to see government grow when it suits their agenda.

    In this case, however, government will grow by only thirteen people. And they will have a simple mandate which can be written on half a sheet of paper. Hopefully, these thirteen will have the will to resist the lobbying efforts from all side, such as HSUS, PETA, and “agribusiness” (in other words, farmers), and do what is right for Ohio farmers, Ohio business, and all the people of Ohio.

    I will be voting with the farmers who are my neighbors. I will be voting with the vets who care for my pets. I will vote yes on 2.

  95. David…it wasn’t until I reread your post #85 that I realized you misunderstood me. I do not think that decreasing animal agriculture will be bad for the land and environment. That is something that you fabricated from my previous post. Any madate pushed by Washington based activists (if we are all foolish enough to allow it’s passage) would not result in decreased animal agriculture. It would result in increased space requirements leading to decreased crop land availability. All of our farms are surrounded with the corn and soybeans that our animals eat. If we had to build larger facilities, then the land would be used up and that was my point.

    Please try to read my posts as they are written and not as you wish them to sound.

  96. Ah, Math-Man or Pigman or Bucknut or whatever: For someone who fabricates identities for himself, you’re awfully cavalier with your accusations. As a matter of fact, I simply read your post to say what it says and what you reiterated and which is ridiculous on its face.

    First, even under the scenario you now describe, larger facilities would not take enough land out of production to make even a minor impact on animal feed production. We’re just talking about enough space for the poor creatures to turn around! Your doomsday scenario is pure fantasy and underscores Issue 2 as a power grab by a constituency who routinely confuses fact with fiction.

    Second, even under a scenario wherein corn subsidies were brought to a merciful end and a sane and sensible agricultural policy took hold, we still would not see any loss of agricultural land. Doing so would rather create conditions wherein cropland is used to grow food for people. It would NOT spell the end of animal agriculture — just the end of factory farming and the ongoing environmental catastrophe that accompanies it.

    Last and most importantly, I’m glad to hear you acknowledge that defeating Issue 2 will not lead to any decrease in animal agriculture. Since that’s the case, all your complaints and dire warnings about a vegan planet are now exposed for what they are — a wholesale fabrication. In reality, and IN YOUR OWN WORDS, defeating Issue 2 and subsequently allowing animals more space will not have any appreciable impact on animal agriculture AT ALL. I’m glad we’re finally on the same page.

  97. We are far from on the same page. What you fail to see is that the large scale farms will adapt to whatever is thrown at them. We’ve been fighting modernization of this world for decades and will continue to do so. It’s the small farmer that will suffer should HSUS be allowed to make decisions about a part of life in which they know nothing. Abraham does a fine job of pointing out the things that I have overlooked. Most importantly, he reiterates that we need Issue 2 to pass for what is right for farmers, animals and Ohioans alike. The pipedream in which you and your supporters would have us believe in is that large agriculture will go away and everybody will have a few pigs and chickens of their own. You’ve got to be kidding me.

    With a world already overpopulated, how can you expect to feed every mouth with small hobby farms? There isn’t enough room for the niche farms that claim to be “organic” (which is just a subtle way of saying “we don’t care how much our animals suffer as long as we don’t use man-made intervention”) Do you honestly think that the species of man, who is fully equipped to eat meat and to survive on meat proteins, will switch to eating nothing but plants? You are far crazier than any of us could have imagined if you believe that can happen. Perhaps you are sitting on some Willy Wonka style “meal in a pill” that you are waiting to unveil after the fall of large agricultural practices. Haha! Your science fiction answer is foolish and a YES vote on Issue 2 is what anyone with even a shred of sanity will choose. A YES on Issue 2 will help bring every farm in Ohio up to the humane standards that Americans expect of the animals under human care. And despite what you say the intentions are, I believe that a side-effect of the passage of Issue 2 is that you can take your feel-good answers elsewhere while Ohio farmers continue to feed our citizens with humanely raised animals in an ever-improving industry.

  98. Well, as I’ve said before, your words speak for themselves (to the extent anyone can follow them as they career from post to post). Anyone who, after reading your posts (including but not limited to this most recent cry for help), thinks you and your buds should regulate yourselves and that space for pigs to turn around is feel good nonsense should vote for Issue 2.

    But I have to tell you, the stats show me that most folks lost interest in your histrionics long ago. As now have I. You can continue to talk to yourself if you like. Lord knows there are enough of you.

  99. The histrionics part made me laugh. I’ve presented nothing shy of fact in my posts and left you to handle the emotion. If anyone has dramatized anything it’s not me. I first came to this site to state my point in the matter as have many others. I’m not sure why it became a personal charge against me, in particular, but I can only assume that it is an act of desperation for a lack of evidence and fact.

    Feelings are easily manipulated through the words of humans, but facts remain ever true. YES on Issue 2!

  100. I live in rural Ohio. I’m not a farmer, but my family was, up to a generation ago. And years ago, I used to be a vegan. Go figure. So I don’t tend to see things in black and white and have the blessing (or the curse) of somewhat seeing this issue from both sides.

    But I find it kinda annoying and suspect that some here seem to think you need a degree on the wall or 30 years personally working a pig facility to determine whether animals are OK standing on concrete in their own feces in cramped quarters where they can barely move. I just need common sense there, thank you. That situation makes for an unhealthy animal, one that has to be propped up with medications while alive, and an inferior meat once harvested.

    I think improving that situation does not lead to the fear-based slippery slope argument that it’s the first step to mandated state-wide veganism. (Just how – even supposing this is HSUS’s nefarious end goal – would that happen? Legally? If HSUS somehow got legislation proposed for that, do you really think Ohio voters would pass it? Please stop using that scare tactic for arguments for Issue 2. It simply doesn’t hold water. And it gives those who use it a Chicken Little look. (No. 99? I would say the “histrionic” label could easily fit in this “The vegans want your meat!” trope. Maybe they do, but they can’t force Ohio voters to vote for it.)

    I found the arguments of open space housing vs. individual stalls very interesting, actually. I’m not one of those people who think all creatures are sweet tempered Disney characters and I realize that crowded open housing can result in aggressive in-fighting. So if open housing of that size presents more of a problem than it solves, I can see the merits of stall housing. But resisting measures to insure that stall housing lends itself to sufficient room etc. because you suspect some of the proponents of those measures is just cutting your nose off to spite your face.

    Like it or not, public sentiment is turning against highly intensive factory farm models. I don’t see – and don’t want to see – the public turning away from meat eating in general. But the tide is turning in the manner the public wants those animals raised. And I would hate that Ohio farmers are seen to be resistant to flexibility and progressiveness of animal care standards and lose the confidence of the consumers in the process.

    I would never demonize the state’s farmers, large or small. Anyone who chooses farming in this day and age has alot stacked against them and have my admiration for doing it. I admit that I personally feel that todays’ farmers made a pact with the devil in the “Get bigger or get out” model of farming. It put enormous financial strain and debt on the shoulders of farming families and the factory farming model is not always a pleasant one to work within.

    I wonder if the farmers who see farming threatened wonder if maybe the current model they’re in is the problem in itself. I think it’s ultimately unsustainable – for the environment, for the quality of the animals and the farmers themselves. This is an uncomfortable idea of change coming down the pike. Most people resist change anyway. I only imagine it’s harder if you’ve invested your family’s home and future in a model being questioned in any way.

    Lastly, I’m concerned that this proposed Board will have a pull and influence that the Pro-Issue 2 folks aren’t anticipating. They may see it as a bulwark against “outside forces” now. But what happens later when the Board has members that come up with directives they don’t believe in? What recourse do they have to contest it? It’s fine when the Board works in your favor, but you may find yourself up a creek when it doesn’t.

    I think there are ways to strengthen Ohio Farmer’s situation within existing agencies, without creating this new Board with worrying control and oversight into the state Constitution. Fear (of “outsiders” or change or whatever) shouldn’t make us over-react and work against our own best interests. I’m voting NO on 2.

  101. HSUS is NOT an animal rights organization it is an and animal welfare organization.

    So the population is getting bigger it doesn’t mean we need bigger farms to feed all of the people in the world. It means that we need to quit being wasteful… we need to quit eating meat. It takes about 5kg of grain to one kg of meat. so what that means it that we could be feeding five times more people by just eating lower on the food chain than we would if we ate meat. And to make maters worse about 3,000 liters of water (that’s about 22 normal sized bath tubs) are needed to produce 1 kg of beef.

    So in my point of view the only option is to go vegan!

  102. Lennox, please show me an animal in a large, stall based, setting that is “propped up on medication.” Medication doesn’t come cheap and it’s hardly used as a staple. In animal agriculture, the animals are only injected if they are sick. This is a rarity on responsible farms. Animals are also vaccinated against disease, the same way that your children and mine are. I think that the histrionics crown can now be placed on your head after that blatant attempt at scaring uninformed voters.

    I’m also curious to see this “inferior meat” evidence as well. You needn’t dig very far to find that there multiple genetics companies who are dedicated to continuous improvement in the areas of carcass quality, feed efficiency, mothering abilities and production capabilities. Might wanna grab a histrionics sceptor to sport with that crown…

  103. In reply to #102 –

    From the Union of Concerned Scientist:

    Animals raised in humane conditions with appropriate space and food rarely require medical treatment. But animals at animal factories often receive antibiotics to promote faster growth and to compensate for crowded, stressful, and unsanitary living conditions. An estimated 13.5 million pounds of antibiotics—the same classes of antibiotics used in human medicine—are routinely added to animal feed or water. This routine, nontherapeutic use of antibiotics speeds the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can infect humans as well as animals. Antibiotic resistance is a pressing public health problem that costs the U.S. economy billions of dollars each year.

    Some of the antimicrobials used to control parasites and promote growth in poultry contain arsenic, a known human carcinogen. Arsenic can be found in meat or can contaminate human water supplies through runoff from factory farms.
    (end quote)

    And in any number of Network news “exposes” I’ve seen for years report routine dosings to compensate for the crush of overcrowding and inferior conditions. But they’re all part of the “vegan agenda”, I guess.

    Whatever. If business as usual is OK with you, it is. It’s simply not for me. I think there is room for improvement in the care of food animals. That, in the long term, would improve the product and please the consumer.

    As for the inferior meat – I think any meat that the government measures the fecal content of and seriously considers irradiating just to insure its safety is meat I don’t want to personally eat. So I guess that’s a matter of opinion, too. More for you to eat then.

    Bottom line: Both family farmers I get the bulk of my food from are also against Issue 2. I respect their farming practices and I respect their opinion. Again – I’m voting NO on 2.

  104. A little bit about the Union of Concerned Scientists:

    Physicists Gerald E. Marsh and George S. Stanford have criticized the UCS for opposing a United States-run nuclear waste reprocessing program. The UCS had claimed that the separation of weapons-usable plutonium from spent nuclear fuel could “make it easier for terrorists to acquire the material for making a nuclear bomb,” but Marsh and Stanford argued that “reactor fuel is going to be recycled, whether we like it or not.”[28]

    Capitalism and free market-advocacy groups have also criticized the UCS for its stance on environmental and other regulatory issues. TimesWatch.org, a project of Media Research Center (MRC), has called the UCS an “unlabeled left-wing activist group”.[29] L. Brent Bozell, founder of the MRC, which catalogs what it asserts is liberal bias in the United States mass media, has claimed that the UCS is “a left-wing activist organization…trying to position itself as being some kind of objective, centrist, moderate, apolitical entity when it is nothing of the sort.”[30] Capital Research Center, a conservative non-profit that studies left-political organizations, criticized the UCS as having “policy positions that are predictably those of a far-left pressure group”.[31]

    In a 2005 article for Jewish World Review, consumer reporter, author, and co-anchor for the television newsmagazine 20/20 John Stossel commented, “The key word in ‘Union of Concerned Scientists’ isn’t ‘Scientists’ — you don’t need any particular degree or experience to join — but ‘Concerned,’ and the concerns in question are decidedly left wing.”[32]

    In a 2009 article, Ronald Bailey accuses UCS of placing ideology over science, due to their stance on farming with genetically modified crops.[33]

    In a piece written by Byron Spice, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette refers to the UCS as an activist group generally regarded as liberal.[34]

    A NewsMax.com article points out that the UCS receives substantial donations from liberal-leaning foundations.[35][36]

    [end quote]

    Try to find a reputable source next time. I’m happy to listen if you do.

    You can visit: http://jas.fass.org/cgi/content/full/80/11/2920
    if you want to read real science on fecal concentrations in meat.

    As for your family farmer friends, I wonder if they have considered the initiative that HSUS has passed in other states and what it really means for the small farmer. Fortunately the support for Issue 2 outweighs support against. Your family farmer friends will be thankful when Issue 2 passes and they are able to continue to produce food products as they always have.

  105. If you’re liberal leaning – you’re automatically not “reputable”?

    How about not attacking the messenger and addressing the message? Does that mean you deny that antibiotics are routinely added to feed? Are all the Doctors who have expressed concern about the public’s antibiotic resistance due to food ingestion also all liberal yahoos in your book?

    If John Stossel is your idea of today’s trusted Cronkite and your go-to guy, then, yeah, we’re not going to agree on reputable sources.

    And don’t presume to think for the family farmers I buy from. They’re well aware of the lay of the land for farmers in this country. It’s their considered, informed opinion and you could at least respect that.

    Now you can virtually argue with someone else, man-of-many-names. I have to wonder how much you’re getting paid to stay on here and debunk (or attempt to) LOL Good luck with it.

  106. I don’t believe that liberal = unreputable. I believe that any group that calls itself “scientists” without actually being scientists and chooses to allow it’s ideology sway it’s “scientific” assertions is unreputable. I’ll admit that Stossel may be on the other extreme, but he is not the sole critic of this highly influenced group of individuals.

    Look at posts 48, 50, 58, 68 and 74 if you want to see the strong points of the “For Issue 2” argument that are filled with fact and devoid of opinion.

    Then look at the groups cited for the opposition…The Ohio Farmers Union (a group that no farmer would claim representation from), The Union of Concerned Scientists (a group of individuals that are not even required to be scientists by any definition to be a part of) and HSUS (a profit building organization whose name was chosen to confuse uninformed public citizens into thinking they care about animals and not about veganism).

    As stated up above in many posts, HSUS has more money than anyone they would oppose could hope to have. They get it through deception and misinformation and use it to push their agenda. Again, I would recall an early poster of the thread and the citation of the unwanted horses that have resulted from HSUS push to eliminate horse slaughter (why aren’t their $$ being used for these horses now that they are “free”) and the dogfighting in the Carolinas (whom they lobby to have euthanized rather than spend their $$ to find them loving homes). I hate the premise of dogfighting as much as anyone, but if I had the kind of money that HSUS has and truly cared about animals, I’d be looking for homes for them rather than pushing for their death b/c they aren’t cute and cuddly anymore.

    I’ve just about reached my limit of talking to this brick wall. The assertion that I am being paid to stand up for what is right is absurd. On the contrary, as an Ohio farmer I’m far more used to doing what is right at the expense of my own, unpaid time, unlike the profit-generating conglomerate HSUS who wouldn’t spend a penny or a minute on anything that doesn’t push their agenda. I’m simply here to help educate the voters who others would try to decieve.

  107. […] are many articles and blogs posts already written. I found David N. Cassuto blog post at Animal Blawg to mirror my […]

  108. Hmmm…it seems I’ve struck a nerve as now my posts are being deleted at random. As I had stated in my prior post, sift through the comments above and make your decision. Like all responsible farmers, I’ll be voting YES on Issue 2!!

  109. I’m troubled by how some participants in this discussion are using science. The beauty of science is that if it cannot either be replicated, it can be ignored.

    Pigman99 suggests that reputable scientists are not concerned about fecal matter in pigs. To support this, he sends us to an article that concludes “The results from this study indicate that supplement withdrawal and dietary wheat middling inclusion alter pork nutrient content and fecal mineral concentration, but not the oxidative stability of pork.” In short article is entirely irrelevant to our discussion. I’m not ready to dismiss the conclusions of careful work of the Union of Concerned Scientists in order to accept an argument that is unsupported by the only evidence offered.

  110. Likewise (and upon a more close reading), I don’t see how the ad hominem assault on the Union of Concerned Scientists is at all responsible to its scientific claims. As I said above, th e beauty of most science lies it being fully refutable — but only with evidence.

  111. Troubled Reader, I think you missed the point of me linking that research. In essence fecal matter (a buzzword for the true culprit, e.coli) is actually present on all food and basically every surface that you will come into contact on a daily basis, save for a highly biosecure facility like an operating room or laboratory. It becomes a problem when lazy practices are used to prevent contamination. There are countless articles about everything from lemons to meat to radishes having e.coli found on them. I would put money on there being a little bit on the toothbrush in your medicine cabinet. Ultimately, the best thing you can do if you are worried about it is routinely wash your hands and your fresh foods and to cook your meat to recommended internal temperatures.

    I shared research that was about fecal minerals (i.e. phosphorous, calcium, copper, etc.) and what scientists in the animal science field are experimenting with to try and minimize the occurance of these minerals. What you are confused by is the claim made by a previous poster making it sound as if the way that pigs are raised is the cause of “fecal matter” (the buzzword you learned a paragraph ago) being in meat. That, is an issue to be directed at your processing plants, not your farmers.

    It’s amazing how far this topic has skewed off course. The one thing that everyone needs to remember is that this topic is about Issue 2 that will be on the ballot in just over a week. It is for the creation of a Board of intelligent individuals in the field of animal agriculture who want to push for change on the Ohio farms that currently aren’t putting their consumer’s interest first. They want to ensure that no matter where our citizens buy their pork, they can be confident that the product is safe and has been produced in a setting conducive to both farmer and animal alike. A YES vote on Issue 2 will help to ensure that we can all continue to enjoy the products we love knowing that they have come from reputable farmers who strive to make safe food to feed their family and neighbors.

    Vote YES on Issue 2!

  112. Thanks for all of the posts. My step father owns a small farm and he says to vote yes. However, I am a conservative and do not like the idea of a board dictating to our farmers and was surprisd that he thougt it was a good idea. Unfortuantely this is about choosing sides. While the HSUS seemingly came to the table with open arms, is there seriously anyone who does not understand what their agenda is? If so, just look at the other states where their propositions passed.

    To me this is a choice between the lesser of 2 evils. ( I believe we should not have EITHER of these proposed “solutions”) We can vote NO and then let the HSUS come in with it’s version of how farms should be run or we can vote YES and take a pre-emptive strike (which is what this is) against allowing yet another overblown emotional feel good organization run things where I (and apparently a lot of farmers) don’t think they should be. Imagine the ads showing a poor calf standing all day in it’s pen. How sad. They will tug at the heartstrings and most people (like me) won’t want to see harm done to these animals and vote with (unlike me) their emotions. The counter ads will all be about supprting the local farmers. So in essence you have a “Save the poor animals” versus “Save agribusiness and/or the local farmers”. The emotions will win and we will have non-sensical demands placed on our farmers.

    While I enthusiastically support NEITHER of these options, the preventative strike where we, at the local level, will have some say, is the better of the 2 options IMHO, thus I will be voting yes.

  113. Issue 2 is an inappropriate use of the Ohio constitution. The Livestock Care Standards Board it implements would have the power to override any act by the Ohio Department of Agriculture or the state legislature, or any other initiative or referendum brought before the Ohio public other than an additional constitutional amendment. In effect, this means that any standard created by the Board is a final decision. The standards the board makes could favor one method of production over another based on the undemocratic decisions of a dozen political appointees. This could mean implementing standards that would make raising food in an organic or sustainable manner excessively expensive or burdensome, driving small farmers out of business and hurting local economies.

    Vote NO on Issue 2 to keep special interests out of the Ohio Constitution.

  114. This is not about animal welfare. This is about large factory farms being able to put stipulations on the industry that the small family farms cannot affor to follow. Here is an example…I buy my milk from the Snowville Creamery. They are a small farm that produce, process and deliver their own milk. They and others like them are starting to take money from the larger “coorperate” companies that are also milk producers. So they must be stopped…issue two in conjunction with cooperate farming will create laws which they will have to follow to put them out of business.

  115. Remember everyone…this is not for small farms that are using good paractices…Issue 2 is so the factory farms can put us under their rule. No one on the board will have the best interest of animals in mind. This is not about Peta or the Humane Society. They started the talks but were pushed out when this board was created. There are alot of sheep making comments on this board. I am a vegetarian and for animal rights but I am afraid if issue 2 passes then the factory farms win and mom and pop farms fold. You can judge a country by the way it treats it’s animals.

  116. What on earth are you talking about poster #114/115? Rules that will push out the small farmers? That’s absolutely untrue and I’d like to know what type of rules you think are coming? This is about nothing other than ensuring that animals are being treated properly and that their well-being is put at the forefront. It’s been very clear that the public wants to know that they animals they consume are treated well during their time alive on this planet. There is nothing that is going to push out the small farms.

    As an aside…where do you think the large farms come from? They are farms that started as small farms and had the leadership, vision and desire to grow their business and make it their sole source of income, instead of just a hobby. There is noone that better knows the trials of being a small farmer than a large-scale farmer!

    You are right, however, that this is not for the small farms that are using good practices. It’s not for the large farms that are using good practices, either. It’s for the farms (of any size) that are not using good practices because animals deserve good treatment and the consumer demands it. This board is about nothing else, despite all the conspiracy theory you might hear about it, here or anywhere else.

    Vote YES on Issue 2!!

  117. Thanks poster #1, I didn’t need read any futher to decide I will vote YES on issue two. As human beings we have the moral responsiblity to do whats right. I am not a vegetarian, and I believe we should be responsible consumers in all areas of purchase. It is sad that this amendment even needs to be introduced. Greed sometimes needs its boundaries.

  118. @Leslie – If you find poster #1’s comment disturbing and you want accountability from agribusiness, you’ll want to vote NO on Issue 2. The factory farm lobby is responsible for getting Issue 2 on the ballot. Check out http://www.ohioact.org for more information.

  119. What poster #1 suggests is highly against what Issue 2 is about. Poster #1 makes it seem as if the Ohio producers are proposing this ballot so that they can have all the “power.” This is not what Issue 2 is about, despite what the opposition will tell you. Issue 2 is about creating a board to ensure the well-being of animals without subjecting producers to restrictions that would have negative detriment on the industry.

    We need change, but not the kind of change that the radical Washington based activists who’ve never seen the inside of a farm would propose. Voting no on issue 2 would destroy Ohio agricultures attempt at making things right.

    Don’t buy into Hillary’s propoganda…you can see by mousing over her name who’s voice she is projecting. If you want change, want to feel good about the products you are buying, want to know that they are safe, that the animals are being well cared for and don’t want to pay ungodly amounts of money for your food, vote YES on Issue 2!!

  120. What happened is a poll was taken in Ohio. By an overwhelming majority people polled stated that they felt that even animals raised for food should be humanely treated. They should be able to stand up, turn around, and stretch their limbs. This scared the bejeebes out of big ag. They do not want to give the animals any more than they absolutely have to, to keep them alive and producing. If they have to give them more room that means either building on or housing less. Either way it cuts into their profits. Right now we have inspectors, HS workers, etc to keep an eye on how animals are treated. We have inspectors who check on the animal welfare, the quality and safety of the food they are producing and the pollution of the ground, water and air around them. If someone is found in violation they are charged. Evidence is acquired, they are tried before a judge and a jury of their peers, they have a right to council etc. They are found guilty or not guilty.

    Passage of Issue 2 will do away with this concept. Instead a panel of 13 will decide such things. 10 of which are politically appointed. Once added to the constitution it will be very difficult and insanely expensive if not impossible to remove. The issue doesn’t state: How will these 13 be paid? How much? Term limits? Who will check and balance them?

    No other business, and big ag is a business, is safe guarded by the constitution. We allowed the credit card companys to write the credit card laws. How’d that work for us? How’s the banks doing handling the banking laws? WAKE UP PEOPLE.

    I eat meat. Lots of it. I was also raised on a family farm. I hunt a lot of my food. If Peta or the HS try to overstep their bounds in Ohio we can vote them down too. Putting in an evil to potentially stop an evil is stupid. If this panel oversteps theirs our hands are tied.

    This Issue failing will not affect the family farm. If it fails things continue as they are now. If it passes the big ag can decide how many more animals they can fit in a sq foot space. This is Walmart -vs- mom and pop stores. Only differce is Walmart is writing the regulations.


  121. Poster #120 has written an opinion piece, not one of fact. There are currently none of the things happening (inspectors, etc.) happening that the poster claims or we would never have had Buckeye Egg get to the horrible way of producing that it was able to get to.

    What we need is this Board to keep bad “eggs” (pardon the pun), like Buckeye Egg and the Wooster sow farm that was on the news a few years back for inhumane euthanasia techniques, from giving a black eye to the producers who are doing what is right by their animals.

    There are so many people who would like to blame “Big Ag” (as they refer to it) for looking only at the $$ which could not be further from the truth. Large producers were small producers at one point. It’s no different than a small shop in California called Orange County Choppers being very good at what they do and moving their business into the national spotlight. They continue to push for the utmost quality even though they could sell products on their name alone at this point. Large scale farmers are no different. They strive to do what is right on a daily basis, and despite what the nay-sayers would lead voters to believe, they are very willing to spend extra money to accomplish these goals. To ask any business, regardless of size, however, to forget about profits would be ridiculous. Profit is what every industry that has ever been conceived is about. Large scale animal agriculturalists just have the unique challenge of balancing profit with ethics and do not be fooled into believing that the former takes precidence over the latter.

    When the poster says that Peta and HSUS can be voted down when they try to overstep their boundries, she is quite wrong. We’ve already seen what has happened in multiple states before us. They tug at the heartstrings and put on a mask to hide their true face. As has been stated before, emotions are so easy to play on that it’s disgusting the way that organizations like HSUS manipulate the public through false propoganda and nonsense.

    Issue 2 will bring about change. It will give consumers the confidence that they want when they buy animal products and it will do so without trading thier heart’s desires for their wallets contents. Don’t be fooled, Ohians. Vote YES on Issue 2.

  122. Apparently, it is a “fact” that large producers care about small producers and their animals even though it is apparently “feel good mumbo jumbo” to say that the animals should have space to turn around. These are the poster’s own words (this same poster, btw, likes to post under many aliases in order to convey the impression that many people support Issue 2). Big Ag would also have you believe that tail-docking, lacing feed with antibiotics, etc. is what’s good for the animals. That is, of course, nonsense. Voting No on Issue 2 will send Big Ag the message that it doesn’t make the rules and that agriculture need not be cruel.

  123. This is misconscrewed as farm animals only,it isn’t. It is for all animals. My question is how is this going to be paid for and what is the budget?
    What is Ohio’s unemployment rate now? Shouldn’t we be more worried about our factories moving to China a country that killed thousands of our boys in Korea? And try to get industry back in our state instead of spending millions possibly billions of dollars to create jobs for Ted Strickland’s friends and family members? Where does the government control stop?
    Health care for everyone just creates legel theivery for Doctors and this is obsurd.

  124. Anyone who has seen the effects of what HSUS would impose knows what cruel truely is. There is not a practice in effect that is there just because producers want to spend time on it. Anyone who takes time to do a little bit of research will see the advantages of techniques such as tail-docking, individual housing, vaccination (do not be fooled into actually believing that feed is “laced with antibiotics” as that one isn’t even a stretch of truth…it’s just plain false) and treatment.

    Animals that are allowed to freely roam around with one another often end up with deep wounds, injured limbs and far too often, death. I’m sure that they would thank us for that if they could talk. Unless you spend time working with animals on a daily basis, you have no right to assume what is best for them. The science is already doing that for us.

    Unfortunately, there are producers who would choose to not follow the rules to gain an unfair, financial advantage (think of it as HSUS, only insteading saying they care about animals when they really only care about veganism, they actually don’t care about the animals at all). These are the producers who give honest, hard-working farmers doing the right thing a bad name and place that soapbox under the feet of HSUS so that they can preach their shadowed agenda. If you want those producers to go away, do not be fooled into thinking that HSUS is your savior. Issue 2 is what you want. Vote YES on Issue 2!!

    P.S. Thank you David for not randomly deleting any more of my posts than you already have. I appreciate the opportunity to [kind of] present my case in a fair manner.

  125. Poster #123, I shudder to think of how you will react if HSUS gets it’s way and you have to pay double or triple the current amount for your food. It’s a reality, but it doesn’t matter to them. They make tragically large salaries off of deception so food is but a small portion of their salary. Your friends and mine who make less than $9 an hour will be the ones who would pay. Vote YES on Issue 2!!

  126. And there you have it folks: anyone who thinks the animals would thank us for having their tails cut off and living their short unhappy lives in isolation should support Issue 2. Anyone who has had enough of factory farm’s warped and dangerous reality should vote against.
    And as an aside — the only post I deleted instructed readers not to read the other comments and to just vote for Issue 2. Those types of posts encourage ignorance and are not tolerated.

  127. Then that was no post of mine. I’ve had 3 that have disappeared. Let me ask you…do you suppose an animal would prefer to have it’s tail chewed off by another, while it is none the wiser due to the decreased nerves in the tail that leave it oblivious to the damage being caused? I’m not so sure that the ensuing infection that results would be something I’d want either. But god forbid the people who dedicate their lives to learning what is best for an animal be allowed to make the decisions instead of a wealthy lobbyist in Washington D.C. who has never seen a farm animal. God forbid we leave it to the professionals who show up every day and work with their backs and their hearts instead of with manipulation and backdoor dealings.

    The only warped and dangerous thinking in this debate comes from the uninformed, heart-string tugging, know-it-alls who convince through deception and emotion. And didn’t you give up on my “histrionics” long ago, professor?

  128. Your only post (and it was yours) that was deleted advised readers not to bother reading other comments and to just vote yes. That’s sloganeering, not discussion. And when you actually dedicate your life to animal welfare rather than the welfare of your factory farm, then we can have a more productive discussion about what’s best for the animals. In the meanwhile, perhaps you can tell me why the family farmers whose interests you claim align with yours don’t feel the need to maim their animals. Is it because they just don’t understand the science?
    And yes, I did stop replying to you a while back. I changed my mind. Didn’t you mention how tired you were of this “brick wall”

  129. I may be tired of it, but I’ll continue to push for what is right and never just roll over and allow a group of individuals with questionable ideals tell me what’s best for my animals. And it seems that 2/3 of Ohioans would agree 🙂

  130. The wrong side of an election is better than the wrong side of history. I wouldn’t get too comfortable were I you …

  131. I’ll never be comfortable. No matter how much good we try to do, there will always be some nut sitting behind a desk in an office thinking he knows better. I’ll just continue to give my sows the care they deserve and you and your friends can continue to think up a new bait and switch plan.

  132. It is easy to see that the majority of you did not truly read the issue itself…It passed. Now you will see many small farms going bankrupt….Do you really think this is about treating animals better? No it was not. Why then would the humane society appose it? You have been duped. Good luck. Some of you have seen this…the rest are Sheep. This was shoved through by big agribusinesses that care nothing for animals…and once they set the laws there is nothing you can do. Way to go Ohio…I voted no…I’m a vegetarian for animal rights…a yes vote was not for animals.

  133. What would large producers stand to gain from running small farms out of business? This isn’t Wal-Mart, people. This is about agricultural leaders recognizing that there is a problem and making steps to correct it before extremists make it impossible for increasingly difficult for all farms to exist. That’s what they want…a vegan world.

    If their crazy ideas were put into practice, the large farms would be forced to change sound practices leading to increased cost (a silent avenue toward pushing for veganism through elimination of animal agriculture). Do you think that the small, niche market farmers can compete when their product costs the same amount as food created at small farms? They have the advantage of their niche market and do a lot of things to deserve that right (except for the total whack-jobs who would prefer their animals lie near death and suffer than to use man-made interventions that would improve their suffering). Anyone who says that the small farm will suffer under Issue 2 has things seriously backwards. They will only suffer if HSUS gets it’s way.

    Be prepared for change. This Board will bring about the changes that the consumer demands without crippling the industry. Awesome job on passing a sensible initiative, Ohio!

  134. What? are you serious? What would the factory farms stand to run small farms out of business? Listen to yourself. They will corner the market…It’s about money…The following is the words of a dairy farmer where I buy my milk.

    “I believe that the principles of democracy imply that citizen consumers have a right and even a responsibility to know and influence how their food is produced, processed, labeled, inspected, regulated, and subsidized. I see a “yes” vote on Issue 2 as relinquishing that right and abdicating that responsibility. It is on this basis that I will work to defeat Issue 2.
    I strongly believe in free and open markets, and consumer choice. I believe this is sufficient to guide our agriculture and its production methods. My own experience with government intervention and standards as well as political appointees not responsible to the electorate, is that they are promptly swayed and influenced by powerful corporate forces. Those forces tend to control the market place and limit consumer choices. This is fundamentally undemocratic.
    I have been conflicted about Snowville Creamery taking a stand on Issue 2. I do not believe in restricting farmers’ choice to confine dairy cows. That should be their choice in practicing the dairy model they prefer. I do believe in consumer’s right to choose to purchase their food based on the production method(s) used by farmers.
    Rather than establish the Livestock Care Standards Board proposed in Issue 2, I believe having real truth in labeling that would permit consumer to differentiate how their food is produced and processed. This is a better way to make the livestock production methods transparent to consumers while giving them clear choices.
    I am concerned the Board would further agribusiness policy, without public discussion or recourse. For instance, I expect the Board would have the authority and inclination to require statewide implementation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) which small farmers generally abhor.
    Having seen a photo in the Farm Bureau’s Our Ohio magazine of a Holstein cow with a sign around its neck saying “I live in a comfortable, well-ventilated barn which protects me from weather and disease,” I wonder if Snowville Creamery is being criticized for promoting farm fresh milk from outdoor pasture-grazing cows “exposed to weather and disease”. Perhaps the Issue 2 Livestock Care Standards Board would require us to confine our cows?
    We at Snowville Creamery believe that a “no” vote on Issue 2 will allow Ohio citizens to maintain their right to choose how their food is produced.”

  135. Yep, they’re all crazy vegans and they all want you to stop maiming, torturing and keeping the animals in tiny boxes. Radical DC activists, all.

  136. By the way Stone…there are no “wack-jobs that want animals to lie near death.” OH wait, yes there are..they are factory farms that push downer cows toward slaughter houses with forklifts and then sell the meat to school…egg producers that keep hens in small cages until they are too old or sick to lay then grind them into chicken mccnuggets…they are veal producers that keep young calves in sling so that their feet never touch and muscles never develop…expect to see more of this and less of cows and chickens in field…Do some research and you will see. This issue 2 will set regulations that will cause a huge back lash. It will protect Huge agribuiness. I am not a Vegan I grew up raising animals for consumption…(chickens and cows) I worked on farms…I wouldn’t eat one bit of produce that comes from a factory farm.

  137. My time here is done. YOu will never open to an opinion. Please visit a coorperate farm and see for yourself. I do not believe you understand what you are defending. I have been there and it is not pretty. I started life as a meat eater. If the suffering I have witnessed is the price …no thank you.

  138. Todd, I agree with many of the things that you say. I do not believe that confinement is wrong and I also do not believe that anyone should be forced to confine animals if they choose to raise animals for the niche market. The examples that you site where downed animals have been pushed to slaughter by machinery are the exact types of systems that I have cited at least 10 times throughout this post as being the target of the Board.

    This Board was not conceived to force free range animals indoors nor was it conceived to push small farmers out. Small farmers target an entirely different market than large scale producers. It’s like saying that the salary cap in the NFL was created to destroy the National Badminton League…two totally different players. The Board is much like the NFL salary cap, however, in that it will ensure that producers are playing by the rules and that the black eyes that you and I both have commented on are put to a stop.

    In response to the Holstein cow picture that you reference, understand that it is not a slam on your field grazing operation. It is an informational ad aimed at those not familiar with the industry to very simply describe the purpose of keeping cows indoors. You are very confused as to what this Board is about and are even led to believe that the passing of the Issue has now put your Creamery in danger. That is simply untrue. I’ve said this multiple times and I’ll say it once more…thie Board was not created to hurt Ohio farmers, it was created to protect them. While our agricultural leaders know that change is necessary (not change to pure large-scale, change away from cruelty and abuse) we are not about to lay down and let radical activists who have stepped foot into an honest producers facility to see what actually happens there.

    As far as the “whack-jobs,” I can assure you that the term “organic” sounds wonderful but is, in actuality, the absolute opposite. Animals lie near death b/c their owners have tied their own hands and decided to not use medication to treat them in the same manner that they would treat their own children when they are sick. Do you think that “organic” food costs more b/c it’s better? Come on, man…you have to be smarter than that. It costs more b/c they lose far more animals to poor husbandry. When a large-scale producer starts with 100 animals, he ends with 94 (a good producer, of course) while an “organic” producer starts with 100 and ends with 68 meaning that the consumer will pay more money to compensate for the animals that have died and/or suffered so that those remaining 68 can be considered “organic” and cater to the niche market. You say that I am confused as to what I defend…but I wonder the same of yourself.

    Do not accuse me of not being open minded. I am nothing if I’m not open minded. I understand your fear but it is unfounded. You have fallen prey to the propaganda that would lead you to believe that large producers are evil.

    As an aside, though I am 100% behind Issue 2, I would love nothing more than for the practice of raising calves for veal to go away. While pigs are housed individually for their own well-being, veal calves are housed inhumanely to intentionally keep their muscles undeveloped. Add that to the list of things that we agree on.

    If this Board does not live up to it’s claims and push for the proper treatment of animals, I will happily eat my words and become a voice against it. I am confident, however, that this Board will do what it is designed to do. I’ve been accused of not being concerned with animal welfare many times above and nothing could be further from the truth. I spend every day working with my pigs and educating my teams on what it takes to be a good farmer. I will continue to do so, so that my company can be the shining example of how to raise pigs in a humane manner. I don’t need to visit a corporate farm, Todd. I spend 24 days of every month in them, raising animals in a safe environment to feed my family, friends and neighbors.

    Finally, David…for someone who blamed me for a post full of sloganeering in lieu of discussion, I find it quite interesting that you have no qualms about making a post that is pure sarcasm and not constructive in any way. I’d expect more from an accomplished professor and author. My posts have not yet dipped to pure personal attack, as yours have on more than one occasion. I feel it reasonable to ask that your “discussion” board remain a discussion board and not be turned into a “I’ll take my ball and go home” atmosphere.

  139. Trust me, I am well informed about the lies of organic labeling. You are not debating with a city slicker that thinks all animals are cute and cuddly. I grew up around farming and none of them functioned the way factory farms do. By the way, my uncle was a pig farmer and his pigs roamed free. They don’t need to be prtected from each other. I worked with him on several occasions. I can see from your post that you are part of the problem and not the solution. I gather from your words that you work in a factory farm. That is why you support this issue. My last question is why would farmers support this issue if it truly was in favor of animals? It just would cause them to spend money. It’s the reverse effect. Because they support it tells me that it is bull. If I was a famer I would have voted against a issue that made regulations that I have to follow. Enough said.

  140. I support this issue not b/c of “factory farming” or whatever negative label a person wants to attach to it. I support this issue b/c we need to make a change. There are many farms out there that are truly abusive to animals. These are the farms that give a bad name to farmers who run their business in a respectable manner. Unfortunately, they also open the door for people behind a desk in Washington to question every aspect of modern agriculture as a means of pushing their vegan agenda. I’ve got nothing against vegetarians, vegans, small producers, large producers or the concern that the public has. I have problems with liars and animal abusers (not to mention the aformentioned crooked “non-profit” organizations) and feel that they need to change. Any farmer who is doing the right thing and wants to know that his fellow farmers are doing the right thing as well, should certainly support this Board. Do not accuse me of supporting it b/c it will somehow favor my farm…I support it b/c it is what is right for the animals. If spending a few more dollars to know that animals are being cared for properly is not in your agenda, then you sir are the problem.

    How many pigs did your uncle have? I guarnatee that he never fed as many people in his entire career than what we feed in a year. And that isn’t wrong, either. There are more mouths to feed today than there ever has been. Contrary to David’s belief, those mouths don’t want to eat soy based diets. They want meat.

    Bigger does not mean worse…it means that ambition and knowledge have come together to form progress. It’s the foolhardy that automatically equate big with bad. I am very happy that you grew up around farming…so did the producers who have grown their operation from 30 head to 30,000. Are they all doing it as humanely as possible? No way. That is what this Board will push to change.

    If you fear regulations then you have something to hide. This Board shows that Ohio agriculture is ready to open it’s doors and show that it does not. I am ready to see the voluntary PQA Plus be replaced with a true audit system that caters to the well-being of the animals. Nothing would make me happier, even though it would cost me money, time and effort…3 things that I often feel I have no more of to give. But what is right, is right. I expect that all farmers who claim to be caretakers of animals fit this category and this Board will push to ensure that they do.

    Thank you, Ohio, for recognizing that agriculture needs to change but that it should’t be subjected to the whims of a 3-piece suit in Washington D.C. We are a proactive group and this is a step in the right direction.

  141. We shall see…I hope you are right but fear you are not.

  142. I hope I am right as well. I want animals to be treated humanely but do not feel that the means to which the activists would push are reasonable in a world with 6 billion people, too many of which already go hungry.

  143. It takes 7.3 pounds of grain to produce a pound of pork. You can feed a lot of humans with the grain that is wasted on animals. Why not let them graze and knock that grain ration way down?

  144. People don’t want to eat grain. They want to eat meat. That is something that will never change, no matter what certain people might think.

  145. I dont think people who are hungry and starving care if it’s meat or grain. You said, “too many people go hungry” not people who can afford to eat well. What producer do you work for and is there anywhere on the net that I can view pictures of your farming practces?

  146. While I cannot argue with your assertion that the hungry folks of the world would gladly eat grain rather than go hungry, it does not change the fact that people will not stop eating meat. The HSUS model of “make it too costly to produce animal products and everyone will give up and become a vegan” is foolish and propogated by misinformation. We need to be able to raise safe, affordable food with safeguards in place to protect that animals that are being mistreated. Todd, please contact me at dunfeeja@yahoo.com to discuss further.

  147. Everyone should do a little research of their own on how your food is raised today. The “people going hungry” statement is a farce. Big Ag Farms aren’t raising animals for charity folks. Aside from Issue 2 the bigger issue is how healthy are these animals when they are prepared to be eaten….I would vote not healthy enough to let my DOG eat! Do your research…

  148. […] Ohio’s Issue 2 « Animal Blawg […]

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