Ohio Livestock Care Initiative (2010)

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A Ohio Livestock Care Initiative did not appear on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Ohio as an initiated constitutional amendment following a compromise between initiative supporters and state officials.[1][2][3]

The initial petition was filed January 27, 2010 and approved by the Ohio Attorney General on February 5.[4] It was approved for signature collection circulation on February 16, 2010.[5][6][7]

According to the filed petition the proposed initiative, a countermeasure to Ohio Livestock Care Standards, Issue 2 (2009), required that the Livestock Care Standards Board adopt certain minimum standards.[8][9] If the measure had been approved by voters the board would have had six years to implement the new guidelines, according to the filed petition language.[10]

The measure was supported by the Humane Society of the United States.

On June 30, the state's petition drive deadline, it was announced that Gov. Ted Strickland, the Humane Society and Ohio agricultural leaders reached an agreement. Specifically, the Humane Society agreed to drop their ballot efforts and the state agreed to a number of livestock issues and regulations. Agreed issues included phasing out gestation crates used by the pork industry over the next 15 years and regulations on dog breeding kennels, cockfighting and exotic animals.[11][12][13]

"This agreement moves us forward on all of the components of the proposed ballot measure as well as other important advances for animals, too," said Wayne Pacelle, HSUS president and CEO. of the agreement, Farm Bureau officials said it will leave the industry "less vulnerable to emotional video used to sway public opinion on farm animal care. Farmers, their organizations and allies will not be forced into a multi-million dollar media battle."[14]

However, the Humane Society said planned to keep an eye on the development of the livestock board and the execution of the agreement. Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs confirmed in late August 2010 that the terms of the agreement between Strickland and the Humane Society were being reviewed. "They're in the mix. Will they be passed exactly like they were proposed? No," he said.[15][16]

Text of measure

According to state officials the proposed amendment would have:[17][18]
1. Require the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to establish minimum humane standards for certain farm animals within six years after adoption of the amendment. The minimum standards would:

  • Prohibit a farm owner or operator from tethering or confining any calf raised for veal, pig during pregnancy, or egg-laying hen, on a farm, for all or the majority of a day, in a manner that prevents such animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending his or her limbs, or turning around freely. This prohibition would not apply during certain times set forth in the amendment, including, but not limited to, during veterinary treatment, certain livestock exhibitions, and scientific or agricultural research.
  • Require that the killing of cows and pigs on farms be performed in a humane manner, as set forth in the amendment.
  • Prohibit the killing of cows and pigs on farms by strangulation as a form of euthanasia.
  • Prohibit the transport, sale, or receipt, for use in the human food supply, of any cow or calf too sick or injured to stand and walk.

2. Provide that any farm owner or operator who violates these standards is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 1 year or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.
3. Set forth definitions for certain terms used in the amendment, including, but not limited to: farm, farm owner or operator, fully extending his or her limits, enclosure, and turning around freely.

Background

Livestock Care Standards Board

See also: Ohio Livestock Care Standards, Issue 2 (2009)

The approval Ohio's Issue 2 on the November 3, 2009 ballot created the 13-member Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board for the purpose of establishing standards governing the care of livestock and poultry.[19][20] The Humane Society of the United States opposed Issue 2. A statement on August 28 2009 on their website said:[21][22]

"Why is The Humane Society of the United States opposing Issue 2? While designed to give the appearance of helping farm animals, Issue 2 is little more than a power grab by Ohio’s agribusiness lobby. The industry-dominated “animal care” council proposed by Issue 2 is really intended to thwart meaningful improvements in how the millions of farm animals in Ohio are treated on large factory farms."

In line with voters' approval in 2009 the Ohio House of Representatives voted 98-0 on March 10, 2010 to establish the Ohio Livestock Standards Board.[23]

Support

The initiative was supported by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). In May 2010, according to reports Chipotle Mexican Grille, a chain of restaurants in the United States and Canada, announced they endorsed HSUS' Ohio initiative.[24][25]

Arguments

  • Karen Minton, state director of HSUS said, "It's time to take action on obvious forms of abuse, such as strangling animals on the farm, dragging downer cows and keeping certain animals in lifelong confinement in cages or crates barely larger than their bodies...Of course, we would welcome the opportunity to work with the livestock board to implement a set of real and minimum standards that will prevent the cruel and inhumane treatment of farm animals, enhance food safety, protect the environment and strengthen Ohio family farms, just as several other states have done..."[26]
  • The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) announced on June 1 that it supported the proposed measure. In a released statement the organization said, "The ASPCA today announced that it is joining the growing list of animal welfare advocates, veterinarians, family farmers and environmental organizations that support a ballot measure requiring the newly created Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to implement minimum care standards aimed at putting an end to cruel factory farming practices."[27]

Opposition

Although, Gov. Ted Strickland supported the 2009 Ohio Livestock Care Standards, Issue 2, he said that he did not support the 2010 initiative. "It is unnecessary, and I will oppose it and I want you to know that we may need to work together once more to make sure that the work that has been accomplished is not undone by many who may be well intentioned but who do not fully understand and appreciate what has already been done to make sure that animals are dealt with in a humane manner," Strickland told Farm Bureau members on February 23rd at the Ohio Farm Bureau's annual Ag Day.[26]

Arguments

  • Republican 2010 gubernatorial candidate John Kasich said he opposed the proposed initiative. Kasich said, "no outsiders ought to come in here and try to destroy our farms" and described the Humane Society’s campaigns in other states as "extremism." [28][29]
  • Ohioans for Livestock Care released a statement that said, "In California, farms already are being courted to leave the state and relocate – taking those jobs and tax benefits with them. In Ohio, a similar result would be devastating to our economy."[31]
  • Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said, "It's pretty remarkable. We haven't even had a chance to write the rules and somebody else is going to tell us what the rules should be."[32]
  • Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine said,"We don't need extreme out-of-state groups coming into Ohio. It just shows the political angle of the Humane Society."[32]
  • Lake County Farm Bureau President Russell Rettger said he did not support the proposed measure. "To me, everybody's been covered by the issue approved last year. We took the leap before the other states got on board. Now it's going to take time for this new program to get going," he said.[33]

Path to the ballot

See also: Ohio signature requirements

On June 30, the state's petition drive deadline, it was announced that Gov. Ted Strickland, the Humane Society and Ohio agricultural leaders reached an agreement. Specifically, the Humane Society agreed to drop their ballot efforts and the state agreed to a number of livestock issues and regulations. Agreed issues included phasing out gestation crates used by the pork industry over the next 15 years and regulations on dog breeding kennels, cockfighting and exotic animals.[11][34]

To qualify the proposed initiative for the November 2010 ballot, supporters were required to collect a minimum of 402,275 valid signatures across at least 44 of 88 counties by June 30.[20][35] On February 16, the measure was cleared for circulation. Additionally, in February, the Humane Society of the United States, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, was approved by the Ohio Ballot Board to help circulate the petitions.[36] According to late June reports, supporters had collected more than 400,000 signatures.[37]

Petition circulation lawsuit

According to state initiative laws, Ohio prohibits non-residents from circulating initiative petitions. As such, the Humane Society of the United States filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Columbus, Ohio. HSUS asked for the state law to be ruled unconstitutional. Ohioans for Humane Farms argued that the Ohio Secretary of State had already announced that the Ohio law was in fact unconstitutional. The decision referred to a requirement for candidates running for political office. The filed lawsuit was said to be a "housekeeping measure" to clarify the laws as they apply to initiatives.[38]

Harassment complaints

In late June 2010, days away from the petition drive deadline Ohians for Humane Farms, supporters of the proposed measure, said petition circulators were intimidated and harassed by "members of the Ohio Farm Bureau and their factory farm operatives." According to reports, spokesman Jon Benedict said the Farm Bureau used a "a small army of paid operatives" to "confuse and bully citizens and create an atmosphere of fear." In response to the complaints the Farm Bureau argues that there was no harassement and "no attempt to confuse." The Farm Bureau admitted to hiring six people to "observe and document" petition circulators. Additionally the bureau noted that they were also conducting a petition drive, however, they said it was not in support of a ballot measure but instead to support the current Livestock Care Standards Board.[39]

See also

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Related measures

Approveda Ohio Livestock Care Standards, Issue 2 (2009)

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Articles

External links

Supporters

Additional reading

Editorials

References

  1. NBC4i,"Agreement Keeps Livestock Care Amendment Off Ballot," July 1, 2010
  2. HudsonHubTimes.com,"Humane Society abandons state animal welfare issue," July 6, 2010
  3. Fulton County Expositor,"Farm Bureau: State deal made with HSUS product of leverage," July 9, 2010
  4. Legal Newsline,"Ohio attorney general OKs farm animal rights measure," February 5, 2010
  5. This Dish is Vegetarian,"Ohioans for Humane Farms to collect signatures for anti-cruelty ballot measure," February 17, 2010
  6. Feedstuffs,"Board okays HSUS to carry petition," February 18, 2010
  7. Stock and Land,"US animal standards fight restarts in Ohio," March 21, 2010
  8. The Columbus Dispatch,"Issue 2 countermeasure in works," February 2, 2010
  9. Farm Sanctuary,"Ohioans for Humane Farms Petitions to Put Measure on November Ballot Protecting Animal Welfare, Food Safety, Family Farmers and the Environment," February 1, 2010
  10. Farm and Dairy,"Proposed constitutional amendment moves forward," February 5, 2010
  11. 11.0 11.1 Business First of Columbus,"Livestock issue not going to ballot," June 30, 2010
  12. Cincinnati.com,"Animal rights measure off ballot," June 30, 2010
  13. The Columbus Dispatch,"Deal on animal care means no fall ballot issue," June 30, 2010
  14. Norwalk Reflector,"Ohio farmers laud livestock care accord," June 25, 2010
  15. The Columbus Dispatch,"Livestock-care board may ignore pact that prevented vote," August 24, 2010
  16. The Columbus Dispatch,"Animal deal not a lock," August 25, 2010
  17. Ohio Attorney General,"Ohio Livestock Care Initiative full text," retrieved February 2, 2010
  18. Cattle Network,"Ohio May See A Second Proposed Constitutional Amendment On Farm Animal Welfare," February 2, 2010
  19. The Columbus Dispatch,"Casinos aren't only ballot issue," November 1, 2009
  20. 20.0 20.1 The Daily Record,"Humane group after animal care amendment," February 1, 2010
  21. Humane Society of the United States, "November 3, 2009: Vote NO on Ohio's Issue 2", August 28, 2009
  22. DVM Newsmagazine,"HSUS backs new livestock reform initiative in Ohio," February 1, 2010
  23. The Columbus Dispatch,"Ohio may get to vote again on livestock standards," March 11, 2010
  24. Cattle Network,"Chipotle Supports HSUS’ Role In Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board," May 14, 2010
  25. Ohio Country Journal,"Chipotle announces support of HSUS," May 11, 2010
  26. 26.0 26.1 The Daily Record,"Strickland says possible constitutional amendment on farming 'unnecessary'," February 24, 2010
  27. This Dish is Vegetarian,"ASPCA announces support of Ohioans for Humane Farms minimum standards ballot initiative," June 2, 2010
  28. Feed Stuffs,"Ohio candidates oppose HSUS plan," February 25, 2010
  29. The Press,"Gubernatorial candidates oppose ballot measure," February 26, 2010
  30. Cincinnati Enquirer,"Animal rights ballot drive starts Saturday," March 5, 2010
  31. WCPO,"Animal Rights Group Starts Petition Drive," March 11, 2010
  32. 32.0 32.1 Cattle Network,"Ohio Gov. Denounces HSUS Ballot Plan," March 3, 2010
  33. The News-Herald,"Cruelty cases highlighted as board aims for ballot," June 10, 2010
  34. Farm and Dairy,"Compromise reached: HSUS will not be heading to the ballot this November," June 30, 2010
  35. WhizNews,"Putting Amendment on November Ballot," February 2, 2010
  36. Business First of Columbus,"Humane Society gets OK to collect signatures," February 17, 2010
  37. Marietta Times,"Farm ballot issue: Views vary on Ohio’s constitutional amendment," June 23, 2010
  38. Feedstuffs,"HSUS runs into problem with Ohio petition," May 5, 2010
  39. The Columbus Dispatch,"Petition gatherers claiming fouls," June 26, 2010