Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Victory for the Ohio ag community: HSUS abandons ballot initiative

The far-left animal rights group HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) today abandoned its plan to put forth a proposed constitutional amendment on November's ballot. Instead, HSUS and the Ohio Farm Federation struck a deal on animal care standards in which HSUS will forego any ballot initiatives for the forseeable future.

HSUS has succeeded in passing initiatives in other states, but were certain to get crushed by the well-organized agricultural community here in Ohio. Today was the final day to submit ballot issues to the Secretary of State.

You can read the details of the compromise agreement here.

Update: Below is a portion of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation News Release:

Agreement Validates Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board

COLUMBUS, Ohio (OFBF) - The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) has announced its support for the agreement announced today between the Ohioans for Livestock Care coalition and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

The agreement validates Ohio voters’ decision last fall to pass State Issue 2, which established the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board as the appropriate venue for defining acceptable farm animal care practices.

“One of animal agriculture’s most vocal critics has agreed that the Livestock Care Standards Board is the proper authority to handle difficult questions about farm animal care,” said Jack Fisher, OFBF executive vice president. “This is truly a milestone and confirms Ohio ’s position as a national leader in farm animal care.”

OFBF cited additional reasons for supporting the agreement. Farmers now have certainty for an extended period of time regarding housing regulations. The livestock industry will be less vulnerable to emotional video used to sway public opinion on farm animal care. Farmers, their organizations and allies will not be forced into a multi-million dollar media battle.

Importantly, the agreement helps farmers live up to the promises they made during the Issue 2 campaign. “We will be able to continue producing safe, local, affordable food for Ohio ’s consumers,” Fisher explained. He added that the provisions of the agreement will protect jobs throughout the food industry.

Fisher complimented the Ohio agricultural organizations that have led the Ohioans for Livestock Care coalition. Farmer-leaders of Ohio’s beef, corn, dairy, pork, poultry and soybean organizations along with Farm Bureau “have been united in their commitment to do what’s best for farmers and consumers,” according to Fisher. Their unanimous acceptance of this agreement signals continued unity among all the groups.

“When farmers proposed the Care Board, we envisioned veterinarians, farmers, consumer advocates, animal specialists and other Ohioans making informed, transparent decisions on farm animal care issues,” Fisher said. “With this agreement, we have assured that the Board will have ample time to prove its value.”

1 comment:

  1. This is only a temporary victory, or a concession by the HSUS for possibly not fulfilling enough signatures need by the 7/1 deadline to get it on the fall ballot. But with the below stipulation that was agreed upon, they can come back whenever they feel to put an initiative on the ballot. It is like a "Get out of Jail Free" clause.

    "10) The HSUS will not submit a constitutional amendment on animal welfare in 2010 to the Ohio Secretary of State. Failure to implement the provisions related to wild and dangerous animals or the reforms recommended to the OLCSB by December 31, 2010 could void the agreement and allow the HSUS to pursue a ballot initiative whenever it
    chooses. However, if the terms of this agreement are met and implemented to the satisfaction of all parties, the agreement will extend to January 1, 2014. At that time the agreement shall be extended through January 1, 2017, and subsequently through January 1, 2020, if the terms continue to be met, and no party shall reasonably withhold its
    consent to the extensions. Any future pursuit of a ballot initiative by HSUS could nullify the limitation on gestation crate or battery cage facilities until and unless other lawful prohibitions come to exist."

    I don't disagree that this is good that we have them out of our hair for the time being, but I am sure with what they are asking the agriculture community to do with the layer houses and the gestation crates they will be back. The chickens and sows are put into crates and cages for their own protection. A possible blow to our local economy is the limitation on expansion to facilities. I know for a fact that as close as we are to Indiana, most people wishing to expand will travel there. Indiana for the time being has less regulation and even the Governor has said he is a "friend of Agriculture." This leads to moving money out of our community into to those.


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