Ag groups in Ohio are the latest exemplars of how common sense and proactive measures can take the bite out of anti-agriculture activists.
Proposition 2, a state constitutional amendment voted on in last week’s Ohio election, creates the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. In effect, it should keep regulations for animal care in the state under the jurisdiction of livestock experts. Apparently, it will also serve as a barrier against anti-livestock activist groups like the Humane Society of the U.S., which makes a living from forcing arcane restrictions upon producers.
“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,” says a statement issued after the election by the Ohioans for Livestock Care Political Action Committee. “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…”
Earlier this year, Oklahoma producers lobbied for and won passage of a law also aimed at making livestock regulations the responsibility of livestock producers and those who represent them. The legislation known as the livestock preemption bill was signed into law by Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry in May. It takes animal welfare authority out of the hands of local government, and state government for that matter.
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture (ODA) now has full authority to establish and enforce animal welfare regulations. That means if animal rights activists decide to attack livestock industries or producers in the state, they’ll have to reckon with ODA, with the full weight of state authority behind it.
“We don’t want an outside group coming into Oklahoma mandating how we care for livestock,” explains Mike Spradling, Oklahoma Farm Bureau president. “Our producers have learned through experience and training the proper animal husbandry and they have every intention to care for animals in the best possible way.”