Â© by Laura Allen, Executive Director, Animal Law Coalition
Update Nov. 4, 2009:Â Â The unofficial results showÂ 63.65% of Ohio voters (1,958,646 people) voted yesÂ for Issue 2, while 36.35% or 1,118,484 voters, voted no.
It’s probably no surprise this power grab by large agri-business succeeded.Â Â
Ohio Against Constitutional Takeover (Ohio ACT) reports that 2/3 of the more than $4 million raised by Issue 2 proponents came from large agribusiness donors. 94% of the funding came from agribusiness trade organizations, factory farms and business and organizations that profit from factory farming.Â United Egg Producers in Georgia, National Pork Producers Council and Pioneer Hi-Breed, both Iowa organizations, account for 10% of the total funding. Â Â
For more on what Issue 2 will mean for Ohioans and the farm animals in that state, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.
What Is Issue 2?Â
At the state fair this summer, Ohio Farm Bureau’s Joe Cornely said that supporting Issue 2 this November was important to "defend …our industry". But I think voting no on Issue 2 is critical to defend our freedom and the free market system.
A yes vote on Issue 2Â would amend the Ohio constitution and create a 13 member Ohio Farm Care Standards Board that alone would have the authority to "establish standards governing the care and well-being of livestock and poultry".Â Â This Board alone would decide for Ohioans, "agricultural best management practices" and handling of such issues as biosecurity, disease prevention, food safety practices, and the protection of food supplies.
Agri-business, factory farms, not voters or their legislators nor even prosecutors or judges, would decide whether the treatmentÂ of farm animals is appropriate.Â Â Â
What it means for Ohio is that an industry weighted Board not selected by voters will decide what we eat, how food is produced, including factory farming methods, antibiotics and other drugs or chemicals used, genetic modifications, and cloning;Â treatment of animals, and the safety and quality of the food supply. To say it’s putting the fox in charge of the hen house is only part of the problem.
The industrialists that will control this Board are unlikely to do anything other than make sure their food products are produced as profitably as possible. It would be as if we had put oil and gas companies in charge of all of our energy decisions in the 1970s. We would not have had development of other sources of power or conservation measures like the Clean Air Act. It would be as if we had decided to give automobile manufacturers power over our transportation choices. There would have been no talk of light rails, trains, and other modes of transportation. The safety measures consumers have insisted on despite strong opposition from industry – even seat belts – would not exist.
We don’t know what the future might hold for choices when it comes to food and how it is produced. We know our choices are sure to evolve depending on the environment, advances in health care, green technologies, sustainable farming. Do we really want our food choices, food safety and how food is produced, the treatment of animals, to be dictated for decades to come by an industry committed to profitability from the factory farming and to the use of antibiotics and other drugs and chemicals in food production?Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Watch this video and the one below!Â Â Â Â