To no one’s surprise the Humane Society of the United
States announced yesterday (Feb. 1) that
they have gathered 1,700 signatures and filed them with the office of the Ohio
Attorney General. The petition submitted by Ohioans for Humane Farms is the
first step to placing an “anti-cruelty” referendum on the Ohio
ballot in November.
The measure would require that the Ohio Livestock Care
Standards Board adopt "certain minimum standards that will prevent the
cruel and inhumane treatment of farm animals, enhance food safety, protect the
environment and strengthen Ohio
Robert Boggs, director of the Ohio Department of
Agriculture, was not surprised by the action. “We welcome the opportunity to
talk with HSUS especially with regards to how Ohio
law will be implemented to assure a safe food supply, a locally produced food
supply and reasonably-priced food. That’s what the voters of Ohio
approved when they passed the constitutional amendment last fall.”
Implementing legislation for the amendment which created the
Livestock Care Standards Board is currently being considered by the Ohio
legislature. Boggs says he would have liked to have been further along with the
new board, but understands that the process deserves careful consideration.
“We owe it to the citizens of this state who voted
overwhelmingly in favor of this measure. It’s our responsibility to make the
process as thorough as possible. This is one of the most important issues we
have faced in many years,” Boggs says.
The proposal came as no surprise to Joe Cornely, spokesman for the Ohio Farm
Bureau Federation either. Cornely told the Columbus Dispatch the organization will
oppose the measure if it gets on the ballot.
"To us, this is one step in what we believe an extremist movement to
remove meat, milk and eggs from our plates," Cornely is quoted as saying.
In particular the initiative calls for an end to “extreme confinement in
tiny cages for months on end,” “allowing downer cow to enter the human food
chain” and “inhumane methods of euthanasia for sick and injured animals.”
The standards board would have six years to implement the proposed standards.
However, HSUS is calling for the board to immediately adopt standards that
address euthanasia and downer animals.
was signed by individuals from 48 counties. It is supported by the Geauga Humane Society and the Toledo Area Humane Society. To be placed on the ballot the
measure will need 402,275 valid signatures of registered Ohio
voters from at least 44 of 88 counties.
In a press release Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS, equated food
animals to pets saying, "We wouldn't cram our pets into cages barely
larger than their bodies for their entire lives, and we shouldn't subject farm
animals to this inhumane and unacceptable confinement either. All animals
deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food."
Still no surprises. The fight for the future of Ohio’s
livestock and feed grain infrastructure has just begun.