I know I should vote in every election, but in general election years it sometimes it takes more to get me to the polls. This year I had an extra incentive with an issue close to home - Ohio's Issue 2.
The proposed amendment sets up 13-member board to be chaired by the Ohio agriculture commissioner. It will have 10 additional members appointed by the governor, with approval of the Ohio Senate, who will include a farmer, a practicing veterinarian, the state veterinarian, two members representing statewide farm organizations, a dean of an Ohio agriculture college or university, a food safety specialist, a member representing county humane societies and two members of the public representing Ohio consumers. It will also have two additional farmers, one appointed by the speaker of the Ohio House and one named by the president of the Ohio Senate.
I grew up on a farm, but now live in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. Most of my friends have little or no knowledge about agriculture. This was the first time I had several of my non-agriculture friends seek my opinion on how to vote on Issue 2.
For me the vote was an easy yes. Yes to have people who actually know something about production agriculture make decisions impacting their operations.
But as the discussions over dinner with my husband went, is this really going to make a difference?
Ohio voters approved the measure nearly 2 to 1 in favor of the livestock standards board. The idea behind the whole campaign was to fend of outside animal activist interests such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) from imposing their standards on Ohio such as they successfully did in California.
John Lumpe, president of the Ohioans for Livestock Care Political Action Committee (PAC), said, “Ohioans have spoken and clearly understand that a board of experts is the appropriate entity to make decisions on behalf of animal agriculture and food production in our state. Passage of Issue 2 is a win for everyone who acknowledges the essential relationship between excellent farm animal care and a safe, affordable, locally grown food supply. Voters agree with Ohio’s farm community and our diverse base of supporters - decisions about food and farming should be made in Ohio, by Ohioans."
But a statement from HSUS president and CEO Wayne Parcelle, said, they viewed Issue 2 not "as a poisonous package, but rather an empty one."
He said HSUS spent nearly no money against Issue 2 in order to "reserve its energy and resources" for an effort to promote their agenda.
And their agenda is to phase out the "extreme confinement of animals in veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages."
HSUS is becoming a powerful force to reckon with. I'm happy Ohioans came behind this livestock standards board. But it is a long road ahead in whether we can fend off HSUS' assumed next fight against farmers' rights.
What do you think? Is this fight over?