HSUS Petitions for Counter Amendment

Buckeye Farm Beat

The legislature has yet to pass enabling rules for Issue 2 and already HSUS has taken steps to circumvent the new Livestock Care Standards Board.

Published on: February 2, 2010

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 family farms."


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.

The petition 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.