In this week’s column, I discuss the launch of an initiative to protect Ohio family farmers by creating the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, a governmental coalition that will make decisions regarding on-farm care of livestock and poultry.
Yesterday the Ohio House passed its version of the Joint Resolution by a wide margin, 83-13, and today the Senate passed the companion resolution unanimously. This will place the issue before Ohio voters this Fall.
While radical activists from HSUS and Farm Sanctuary position this issue as a “power grab” by “Big Ag,” small farmers like myself (I own around a dozen Shorthorn cows) are very much in favor of this move.
While I am a small-government Conservative, this issue transcends political control. As out of state political organizations, led by HSUS, attempt to remove food choice from consumers, Ohio needs to codify the rights of farmers to feed our citizens. In what is perhaps the most important vote the legislature will make this year, Ohio’s General Assembly did the right thing, joining Governor Ted Strickland in supporting this effort.
The focus will now shift to consumer education. While the radical lobbyists at HSUS are threatening a $10 million war next year to take away your choice to eat meat and eggs, Ohio lawmakers did the right thing in placing this issue before the voters. HSUS’ indictment of this issue as a “power grab” undermines the very ballot initiative system they used themselves in California to put family farms out of business. The hypocrisy of this criticism is blatant, and laughable.
By creating this Livestock Care Standards Board, Ohio will take a leading role, as it did with Livestock Environmental Permitting a decade ago, in setting the definitive standard on the right way to balance the rights and needs of food producers and consumers. We know that the public overwhelmingly supports and trusts the farmers who feed our needs, and this Board will keep the decisions about that balance in the state, and out of the hands of well-funded radical activists from the Coasts.
Here in flyover country, we still value the rights of consumers, and those rights include the right to consume meat, drink milk, eat eggs, and wear leather shoes. While radical vegans at HSUS and PETA want to strip that right from you bit by bit, you have the opportunity to stand up and say “no thank you.” This November, vote for farmers, vote for your rights, and vote to create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.