Ohio Livestock Care Standards, Issue 2 (2009)
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According to the final ballot language, Issue 2 would:
- Require the state to create the Livestock Care Standards Board to prescribe standards for animal care and well-being that endeavor to maintain food safety, encourage locally grown and raised food, and protect Ohio farms and families.
- Authorize this bipartisan board of thirteen members to consider factors that include, but are not limited to, agricultural best management practices for such care and well-being, biosecurity, disease prevention, animal morbidity and mortality data, food safety practices, and the protection of local, affordable food supplies for consumers when establishing and implementing standards.
- Provide that the board shall be comprised of thirteen Ohio residents including representatives of Ohio family farms, farming organizations, food safety experts, veterinarians, consumers, the dean of the agriculture department at an Ohio college or university and a county humane society representative.
- Authorize the Ohio department that regulates agriculture to administer and enforce the standards established by the board, subject to the authority of the General Assembly.
A "yes" vote approves the amendment, while a "no" vote is a rejection of the amendment. A majority vote is required before the amendment is adopted.
- See also: Amending the Ohio Constitution
| Text of Section 1:
SupportGovernor Ted Strickland backs Issue 2, which doesn’t state guidelines for animal safety standards, but does implement a 13 member board that would then set animal protection procedures. Other supporters of the issue include The Ohio Farm Bureau, who argue that the measure offers an outline that would enable safety procedures to effectively ensure the care of livestock animals.
According to the Farm Bureau, if the measure were enacted, the board could consult with animal behaviorists, scientists and veterinarians while scheming their plan to develop standards. The group believes these standards would help prevent disease and other food issues.
According to bureau lobbyist Keith Stimpert: "We're going to assemble a panel of knowledgeable people. It's important to take a very thoughtful approach to the issue."
Other company owners said they are afraid that their industry would disappear if not protected by Issue 2. Dave and Troy Ernest, owners of their father-son operation, County Line Pork, Inc., support the measure due to fears that animal rights groups would hurt their industry if they gained control. The Ernests, who own their 1,200 sow operation on Ohio’s State Route 81, west of the Hardin-Allen County Line, point to California’s egg industry as evidence. They state that California's egg industry will soon be eliminated after animal rights groups campaigned for and saw passage of Proposition 2, outlawing certain kinds of crates for animals. According to Dave Ernest, “"They have a lot of money and a lot of power. If we don't do something, we will see these groups...come in.”
On September 9, 2009, Ohio Livestock Care, a political action committee who supports the measure, released a compiled list of 20 reasons to vote for ballot Issue 2.
Among the 20 reasons were:
- Ohio farmers strongly support the proposal to create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board because it will ensure animal care is top of mind for all farmers and keep regulatory control of Ohio's farms where it belongs--in the state
- It allows the people of Ohio to vote for an Ohio solution to animal care issues -- one that puts the decision making for livestock care and local food production in the hands of Ohio consumers and Ohio experts in farming, animal well-being and food safety.
- It is important that changes suggested for the entire agriculture community be carefully considered by Ohio experts and supported by science, fact and data.
- Through Issue 2 farmers are taking an unprecedented lead in the nation. Being responsive to the consumers they serve, Ohio farmers are taking a proactive stance to provide for informed, responsible decisions about food and animal care issues in the state through creation of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.
Click here to view all 20 reasons listed by Ohio Livestock Care.
Ohio Against Constitutional Takeover Coalition, stated their opposition to Issue 2 in a debate during a monthly meeting of the Women’s Democratic Caucus:
- Their opposition is based on their belief that the a constitutional amendment should not allow big agribusiness to control or influence the Ohio Constitution.
- Natalie Kee, spokeswoman for the group during the debate, stated that group was put together by the request of Food and Water Watch, based out of Washington D.C., and is supported by Ohio Farmer’s Union and the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association and the Ohio Sierra Club.
- According to Kee: “Yes, there is an animal welfare component to the issue that’s a big part of the debate but there’s also another component. There are already boards in existence that are not in the Constitution that regulate farmers — the Ohio Department of Agriculture and executive orders from the Governor — there are a lot of other ways to do it.”
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Maureen O’Connor displayed her disagreement with the measure in a speech given to the Hancock County Republican Party on October 15, 2009 at a dinner held at the University of Findlay. In her address, O’Connor stated:
- The amendment is an “inappropriate use” of a constitutional amendment.
- Issues such as animal rights should be decided by state lawmakers.
- According to O’Connor: “Policy needs to evolve as our society changes.” Approximately 75 people attended the dinner, including many county leaders.
Animal rights groups believe that the statewide issue does not protect livestock as much as the language states, citing that the industry would house animals in cramped and unsafe cages and barns. Also among concerns is that the industry, by placing this measure on the ballot in hopes of enactment, is attempting to stop animal rights groups from getting their own measure on the ballot, therefore preventing a more animal-protective initiative.
Skindell also stated that The Humane Society of the United States posted their beliefs on their website on August 28 2009 by stating:
"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."
On October 27, 2009, opponents of Issue 2 held a news conference, stating they were the "little guys" in a debate that places them against the government and factory megafarms. According to Warren Taylor, owner of Snowville Creamery in Pomeroy in Meigs County stated that creation of a Livestock Standards Board if Issue 2 is passed is "government intervention" that is unwelcomed among small family farms. Taylor stated: "We, as the little guys, are constantly under pressure. We are concerned about our very survival. Issue 2 could regulate me out of business." The coalition Ohio Against Constitutional Takeover held the news conference that featured director of ProgressOhio, Brian Rothenburg, who commented on "government takeover" and the group's arguments against it:"It will be the fox guarding the henhouse. It is wrong for Ohioans."
Media editorial positions
- Main article: Endorsements of Ohio ballot measures, 2009
Editorial boards in support
- The Mansfield News Journal is in support of Issue 2. The board argues that the measure should be approved in order to reduce problems with Ohio farmers. "Proponents of the issue are trying to get in front of planned ballot initiatives by animal rights groups to strictly control or ban cages and crates used to house livestock and chickens. Farmers fear these misguided measures could financially kill small livestock or egg operations. Although the passage of State Issue 2 would not prevent future ballot measures from outside interests, it would create an in-state regulatory body that understands farming and livestock care. Voters should not hesitate to pass this measure as a means of maintaining control over the food supply," said the board.
Editorial boards opposed
- The Toledo Free Press does not support Issue 2. "The idea of trying to protect farm animals and to protect us as consumers on face value is a good thing. While the intentions of Issue 2 may be to do that, it’s the lack of clear guidelines in how Issue 2 would make that happen that has given us pause," writes Editor in Chief Michael Miller. 
- The Plain Dealer is opposed to Issue 2. The board said,"What's not needed is radical change, written into the state Constitution either by the farm lobby or by animal-rights groups unconcerned whether they end up driving farmers out of business. Ohioans who vote 'no' on Issue 2 on Nov. 3 should be prepared to vote 'no' again, should the Humane Society seek its own ballot measure in a future election."
- Visalia Times-Delta,"Don Curlee: Buckeye state blocks intrusion," November 23, 2009
- The Plain Dealer,"Get last-minute info on issues and polling places for Election Day Tuesday," November 2, 2009
- Toledo Blade,"Ballot question calls for board to regulate livestock operations," November 1, 2009
- The Community Common,"Three Issues Face Ohio Voters In Upcoming Election," October 30, 2009
- Akron Beacon Journal,"WILLARD: State Issue 2 creates odd alliances," October 24, 2009
- The Plain Dealer,"Ohio Issue 2: Big Ag takes on the Humane Society of the U.S. over farm-animal treatment," October 23, 2009
- The Madison Press,"Issue 2: Is it right for Ohio?," October 20, 2009
- The Madison Press,"Analysis of Issue 2," October 19, 2009
- The Crescent-News,"Issue 2 touted as a high stakes, pre-emptive strike," October 18, 2009
- Farm & Dairy, "Senate, House pass livestock care ballot initiative", June 25, 2009
- The Columbus Dispatch,"Casinos aren't only ballot issue," November 1, 2009
- Secretary of State, "Live Unofficial Election Results"
- Ohio Secretary of State,"2 Proposed Constitutional Amendment," retrieved October 19, 2009
- 128th General Assembly, "Text of Issue"
- The Ada Herald, "Correction about Issue Two", October 9, 2009
- Ohio's Country Journal, "TWENTY REASONS TO VOTE YES FOR STATE ISSUE 2", September 9, 2009
- Mansfield News Journal, "Issue 2 debate featured at Democratic Caucus", October 13, 2009
- The Courier, "Justice O'Connor critical of Issue 2", October 16, 2009
- Cincinnati.com, "Animal rights fight heads to voters", September 20, 2009
- Humane Society of the United States, "November 3, 2009: Vote NO on Ohio's Issue 2", August 28, 2009
- The Columbus Dispatch, "Amendment favors agribusiness forces, would be bad for small farmers, they say", October 28, 2009
- Mansfield News Journal,"Editorial: Vote no on state issue 1; vote yes on issue 2," October 17, 2009
- Toledo Free Press "Election endorsements: issues and offices", October 30th, 2009
- The Plain Dealer,"Vote no on Issue 2: Farm animal care is a matter for statutory law, not the Ohio Constitution: An editorial," October 15, 2009