Ohio Issue 2 Could Prevent Puppy Mill Regulation

puppy millUpdate Nov. 4, 2009: The unofficial results show 63.65% of Ohio voters (1,958,646 people) voted yes 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. 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. : United Egg Producers in Georgia, National Pork Producers Council and Pioneer Hi-Breed, both Iowa organizations, account for 10% of the total funding.   

For more on what Issue 2 will mean for Ohioans and the farm animals in that state, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below.

veal calvesUpdate Sept. 1: The Ohio Ballot Board has approved placement of Issue 2 on the ballot this November.

Issue 2 is basically the resolution passed this year by the Ohio legislature that calls on voters to amend Article XIV of the Ohio Constitution. 

The resolution now called Issue 2, requires the creation of a "Livestock Care Standards Board" that will alone have the authority to decide standards for care and treatment of livestock and "poultry" in Ohio. The Board would have sole authority in Ohio 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."

The 13 member Board, not voters or citizens or even their elected legislators, would determine issues including "agricultural best management practices for …care and well-being [of animals], biosecurity, disease prevention, animal morbidity and mortality data, food safety practices, and the protection of local, affordable food supplies for consumers…"

The Board would be weighted with industry representatives. It would be made up on 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. "[F]amily farms" is undefined.

It would mean agri-business would not be held accountable in Ohio for cruel treatment of farm animals. If the resolution is approved this November 3, 2009 by voters, it will be impossible to use ballot initiatives to pass anti-cruelty measures in Ohio for farm animals. Factory farm cruelty is likely to continue unabated in Ohio. It would mean loss of choice and freedom for Ohioans in the future on a range of issues. 

Ohio puppy millAlso, there is no reason to think Issue 2 won’t be said to apply to dogs and prevent regulation of commerical dog breeders or puppy mills. The words "livestock" and "animal" are left undefined in Issue 2. In Ohio dogs are  "subject to like restraints as other livestock." ORC Ann. 955.03  

The sense of Issue 2 is food-related, but there is a big catchall that states this Board  shall "prescribe standards for animal care and well-being that endeavor to …. protect Ohio farms and families." Really broad, undefined authority that could be easily construed to include dogs and thus prevent regulation of puppy mills.  

Issue 2 will be on the ballot in November. Ohio voters will decide whether to place all decisions regarding the care and treatment of farm animals and dog in the hands of an agriculture industry board. A no vote means disapproval of this proposed amendment.    

Other states moving to stop cruel factory farm practices

Maine joined Colorado and Arizona in banning these cruel practices for pregnant sows and veal calves.  California with its successful Prop 2 will ban cruel confinement for egg laying hens as well. Michigan just passed a bill like Prop 2. Oregon and Florida ban cruel confinement of pregnant sows.

For more on the cruelty of these practices, go here.  Bills that would end these abuses are pending in New York and Massachusetts.

3 thoughts on “Ohio Issue 2 Could Prevent Puppy Mill Regulation”

  1. Issue 2 is not defined enough to be a change in the Ohio Constitution. There are too many loop holes that will allow abuse by both sides. The devil is in the details.

  2. I just found out about Issue 2 and searched online for some account of what it really means. I don’t like the sound of this – the pitch is that farmers are trying to head off “out of state” animal rights activists from legislating new standards for animal care.
    Now, why the heck do you need to amend the state constitution for that? Surely if a majority of Ohio voters don’t want what some out-of-state group is pushing, the voters can just not support such a change. This sounds like a fishy manouever to preempt all legislation at the state level. Unelected boards vs. the state legilature – who do you think will listen to what you want? Who will be willing to act if people come to see a specific practice as inhumane?

    I encourage voters to learn a little bit about CAFOs – confined animal feedlot operations. These are nothing like the traditional family farm where people know and care for each of their animals personally. One author who covers this well – along with a lot more about our food system overall – is Michael Pollan. I read his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. He also wrote In Defense of Food and several others.

    – Jim Prall
    CWRU class of 1980

  3. Prop 2 in OHio?? Farm animals to be let out of their tiny cages?? Jane Velez-Mitchell-TV Host of “Issues” on CNN’s Headline News Show will cover this story nationally tonight on her show. Be sure to watch! The more viewers she has, the better chance she can continue covering this important story. We did it in CA. Go OH and Go JANE!! (4pm PST or 7pm EST on Headline News Channel)

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