Three voices on Ohio's "Issue 2." Don't be lulled into thinking this is anything like California's Proposition 2. The issues are polls apart. California's Proposition 2 is a compassionate endeavor. Ohio's is not. Please read the remarks of 3 voices: HSUS Dean Vickers whose letter to the editor appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (09/23/09), the incredible comment re it from someone who claims to be in animal rights, and my letter to the PD which was just sent this day - (9/25).
Dean Vickers' Letter - VOTE NO ON OHIO ISSUE 2
"At the same time that a growing movement is bolstering local, more sustainable farms, Ohio's Big Ag interests are pushing a measure to thwart meaningful reform of the state's factory farms ("Local-food advocates point out hidden costs in groceries," Sunday).
In November, Ohioans will vote on Issue 2, which is little more than a Big Ag power grab designed to benefit massive factory farms, not family farms. The Humane Society of the United States, the Ohio Farmers Union, the Ohio
Environmental Stewardship Alliance and the Ohio Sierra Club, as well as editorial boards of Ohio's major newspapers, oppose Issue 2.
Issue 2 would probably enshrine the ag lobby's favored oversight system into the state's Constitution. Surely, Ohioans and the state's farm animals deserve better than a blatant handout to factory farms."
In my opinion, Vickers states the case simply and well. I than read with incredulity the comment of Summer Kelley -mostly because she says she is a proponent of "animals rights" and "fair treatment." (I guess fair treatment
should have sent up red flags.) We are not looking for "fair" treatment - whatever that means. We are looking for HUMANE TREATMENT.
You decide whether or not her self-assessment of being an animal rights proponent holds up to scrutiny:
"Mr. Vickers, I can't help but point out that while you took a shot at "Ohio's Big Ag interests," HSUS is even worse -- "Big Washington interest." Your organization has no business dictating to the people who know Ohio's industry best. What your organization has proposed will almost certainly put FAMILY FARMS OUT OF BUSINESSES through more mandates and restrictions that many small farms couldn't possible meet.
Issue 2 is SUPPORTED by the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Ohio Pork Producers Council, the Ohio Poultry Association, the Ohio Dairy Producers Association, the Ohio Cattlemen's Association, the Ohio Soybean Association
and the Ohio Corn Growers Association. Our farmers themselves support Issue 2. I personally am not a farmer, and I am actually a proponent of animals rights and fair treatment. However, I fully support keeping control over this
industry within the hands of Ohioans. And mandates (or lack thereof) on our #1 industry will come from farmers in Ohio, NOT from a special interest group."
Really, my mouth dropped when I read this from a purported "animal rights" person. I hope we don't have any more like her in the movement. For anyone who knows anything about CAFOs (Confined Animal Farm Operations) to believe that animals are being fairly treated is either very obtuse or woefully ignorant. And then calling HSUS "A Big Washington Interest" without any clarification and justifying remarks made me doubt that anything she says has much credibility. She also mentioned the names of Big Ag who support Issue 2. That's hardly a surprise and should
send up more red flags. Certainly, they want control over farming interests - but the question remains - will it be good for our farm animals? It certainly hasn't been thus far.
I knew that I had to respond in some way and here is my letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer editor:
I was very happy that Dean Vickers of HSUS reminded Ohioans in his letter to the editor (9/23/09) to vote NO on Issue 2, which he describes as a big power grab by big Agricultural interests designed to benefit massive factary farms- not family farms. How sad that we in Ohio do not have legislators as those in California who introduced Proposition 2 which would require reforms in the way their farm animals are raised and treated. The compassionate people of California agreed and approved Proposition 2 in November. What joy for the people who REALLY care about animal suffering!
Is it by coincidence that the Ohio legislature has called their bill Issue 2? But oh such a great difference. The California legislature's bill sought to help the cruelly confined farm animals which Big Ag claim is humane. I would like the proponents of these CAFOs (Confined Animal Farm Operations) to try to imagine what it is like to be confined in gestation crates where pigs can't even turn around. What about the poor cows in huge dairy factory farms where they have no life of their own- simply reduced to milking machines. There is no interaction with bulls; they are never out grazing in a meadow any more; and their boy calves are wrested from them from birth. Please God, I pray that the horrible veal crates of the past are not still being used where these little calves cannot even turn around for the months they are confined before slaughter.
If you want this cruelty to remain - vote yes on Issue 2. If you do not want a power grab by Big Ag then vote NO on Issue 2.
I hope that Ohioans will not disappoint this November as they did some years ago when the issue of protecting the Mourning Dove was voted down. Those who wanted to take pot shots at these peaceful birds of the sky flooded the TV airwaves with an inane warning that people who want to protect the Mourning Dove will succeed in depriving Ohioans of eating meat. Sound off the wall to you? It did to me. Were they saying that hunters could no longer enjoy the succulent "meat" of this relatively tiny bird? I really don't know - but it worked. Maybe Ohio has more than its share of hunters and rifle enthusiasts. Whatever - the peaceful Mourning Dove is no longer protected in Ohio.
Ohioans - I hope we are more intelligent today. People like Dean Vickers have no vested interests in Ohio except to help make it a more humane and caring state. I thank him, HSUS, as well as Farm Sanctuary who has also written on this subject asking Ohioans to Vote NO on Issue 2. A yes vote will only benefit Big Ag and will do nothing to change the horrible conditions of our farm animals in the large, airless factory farms where they really don't have a life. They merely subsist for our gastronomical pleasures, though -thankfully many of us don't either eat
their flesh or their products. I wonder if Kelley is one of us?