When Gov. Ted Strickland was jokingly asked by the press if he had tied everyone’s hands behind their backs to get the bitter rivals on both sides of the animal care debate to reach a negotiated settlement yesterday, Strickland humorously replied, “Well you all know my goal is to negotiate away the need for any elections next fall.”
There was laughter in the room, although his opponent in next fall’s gubernatorial race John Kasich may not have joined in the chuckle if he had been present.
Actually, the governor’s promise to back legislation regulating breeding of domestic animals like dogs and cats, his continued support for legislation to make cock fighting a felony and his support for banning the ownership of exotic wild animals were probably more important than any of compromises on livestock care.
Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, cited eight gains in the settlement. Three of them are mentioned above. Two others involve banning strangulation as way to euthanize animals and banning the transport of downer livestock – both of which are already regulated by the state.
David Martosko, the glib editor of Humanewatch.org, said: “This is an embarrassing defeat for the animal rights movement. HSUS came swaggering into Ohio promising to crush the farmers. In the end, HSUS got practically none of what it was demanding from livestock farmers. HSUS’s press release listing its animal agriculture ‘gains’ is laughable. It’s just a restatement of current law and an acknowledgement of the way livestock practices are already evolving. HSUS spent an enormous amount of its donors’ money to gain a small amount of leverage that could easily evaporate if Governor Strickland isn’t re-elected in November.”
Pacelle did note that the agreement is not legally binding and the organization planned to continue to monitor progress on the animal rights front in Ohio.
The fact that existing laying operations will not have to change their practices (although new battery cage facilities will not be permitted) and that existing hog and veal producers would not have to reinvest in new operations for 15 years is a big victory for farmers and for consumers.
Cock fighters, wild pet owners and puppy producers will face the bulk of the heat on this one and may be asking if anyone got the license number of the bus that just rolled over them