My Weekly Column: Issue 2

Issue 2 Means Safe, Local, Affordable Food



We’re in the last few weeks ahead of an election, which means many of us are starting to seriously examine the major issues and candidates among which we’ll have to cast our ballots. Voting is one of our most sacred rights as Americans, and one of our most awesome responsibilities. Our nation is in principle ruled by laws and not by men, and as free citizens are liberty is based on that very bedrock. Along with electing the best candidates to fill the various offices of our local, state, and federal governments, we’re occasionally asked to decided issues of great importance, including local ordinances and funding questions, and more often in recent years, statewide ballot Issues. Issue 2 on this year’s ballot is perhaps the most import statewide Issue before us in recent memory.



Issue 2, placed on the ballot by a near unanimous vote of both the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate and the backing of Governor Ted Strickland, will create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. As someone who grew up around farm animals from a very young age, I care a great deal about livestock. I own several cows yet today, and I can tell you that my friends who produce our food care more about their animals than any single group of people on the planet. It is because of these values of compassion, stewardship, and fair-mindedness that farmers asked the legislature to consider creating this Board.



Farmers in states like Florida, Arizona, Colorado, California, and Michigan have been attacked in recent years by radical, out of state animal rights activists bent on taking way your right to eat meat and eggs, drink milk, and wear leather shoes. Claiming to be the “Humane Society” of the United States, HSUS waged war on meat eaters and the farmers who feed us a long time ago. Their wrath and $120 million lobbying/propaganda efforts have now targeted Ohio. Ohio farmers and lawmakers, thankfully, have said enough is enough. Not content to let Washington D.C. based anti-meat activists tell our consumers what they can and can’t eat, they created Issue 2 to ensure Ohioans continue to enjoy safe, local, affordable food.



That, by the way, is what Issue 2 is all about. Ohioans enjoy a steady supply of safe, local food produced by our farming friends and neighbors. Our vibrant livestock production and processing industries employee tens of thousands of our citizens while stocking our grocers’ meat case. The Board created by this ballot Issue will insure that those jobs and those food production system remain in Ohio by setting the standards by which livestock care will be regulated in Ohio. Consisting of local farmers, veterinarians, food safety experts, University experts, consumers’ advocates, and local Humane Society representatives (the actual local Humane Society working to care for lost or neglected animals, not the highly paid political activists who’ve high jacked the “Humane Society” name), this Board will have the responsibility of setting policies regarding what is acceptable animal care practices in this state.



This situation is a great step forward for two reasons. Because Ohio farmers are the best, most responsible, and most compassionate stewards of livestock on the planet, they have a vested interest in insuring that no one mistreats or abuses farm animals. Our first care as cattlemen, as egg producers, as hog farmers, or as dairymen is that our animals are well fed and well treated. If the ideal conditions are met, the animals are most content, and utilize their energy to produce our food. Even so, farmers don’t view animals as mere production machines, but as a God-given gifts and responsibilities to be cared for accordingly. In other words, farmers care about animals because it’s the right thing to do. This Board ensures that anyone with an interest in caring for livestock in Ohio meet that high standard of animal treatment.



Secondly, this Board ensures that you continue to enjoy the right to enjoy these animal products. The radical vegans populating these animal rights organizations believe first and foremost that you shouldn’t have the right to eat meat or eggs, drink milk, or enjoy leather clothes. Secondly, they believe that animals should have every comparable right we as humans enjoy. While that statement sounds ludicrous to you and I, to these extremists it is a guiding vision; a society where no meat is consumed, and where your rights are no more than the rights of each chicken.



The opponents of this Issue will attempt to convince you that this is an effort of “Big Ag” to make a “Power Grab” in our state’s legal system. The truth of the matter is that grabbing power is the agenda of HSUS and their radical allies in forcing livestock farmers out of business in states like Florida, California, and Michigan. They want to grab the power of choice from you, the voter, and keep it in their back pocket.



This issue is not about agriculture protecting its own selfish interests, but about farmers protecting your rights as consumers. This issue is not about big farmers making some legislative power play; I’m as small a livestock farmer as they come and I passionately support this effort. This Issue is about farmers protecting their livestock by ensuring that those who neglect and mistreat their animals will be held accountable, and its about farmers protecting your rights as Americans to decide to eat meat and use livestock-derived products.



Issue 2 is about safe, local, affordable food, and you can’t afford not to support the effort.



Im a farmer, and I strongly encourage you to Vote Yes on Issue 2.