OH, No, OHIO Vote NO on Issue 2

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Ohio Wins George Orwell Award from Green Blog

There is something really rotten and stinky going on in Ohio. On the Ballot this coming Tuesday is Issue 2, which proposes to set up a permanent livestock board that will tell farmers how they must run their farms. Huge agribusiness groups, even soy producers from around the country are funding the political campaign that will subject farmers to the bureaucratic whims of this board.  If the board says, you must confine your animals, you must use antibiotics in the feed, whatever, the farmers will have to comply or else.

Agribusiness Wants to Seize Power Under the Guise of  “Animal Care Standards”

While consumers are led to believe this board will protect animals and insure their “quality of life.” That is actually a ruse. This measure is not about animal husbandry. It is about control, and who has it.

This is a dangerous situation, since industrial farms will be in control of their competitors through this political power play. If there are farmers using inhumane practices or unacceptable conditions, why not correct them through the already existing membership organizations and peer pressure?  These mega farms would certainly have the money to rectify the situation. No, instead, they want to keep doing what they are doing, and instead, control all their competition.

A “Local” Initiative Fueled by Huge, Vested Outside Interests

A political action committee called Ohioans for Livestock Care is paying for a big marketing push for this ballot initiative. While it sounds like a local campaign, many out of state groups are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into this. Groups like Eli Lilly, a drug manufacturer, the National Pork Producers, Iowa Pork Producers Council, a Soybean Research and Promotion Council out of Minnesota, and the Iowa Soybean Association,  are among the out of state organizations on the PAC contributors list.

Why would soybean producers care about animal welfare?  Because they peddle an animal protein substitute. Any thing that hurts their competition, benefits them.  If burdensome regulations drive meat prices up, soy protein may gain greater acceptance with the consumer, thus market share. Why any livestock producers would team up with them is beyond me. Unless of course, their ultimate aim is also to edge out competition.

More Regulations Invariably Means Less Food Safety, Fewer Options

Big regulations always favor the big producers. They are the only ones who can afford to comply. Marketplace greed certainly makes for strange alliances.

If Issue 2 passes, we can expect traditional farmers to be told that raising cows on pasture is wasteful, unscientific, barbarian. I can imagine them getting called before this board and sanctioned for not raising their chickens in a “sanitary” environment.

In this panel discussion at a recent town hall, the Agribusiness gal claims that research shows there is no difference in quality of the food based on different methods of farming. If so, why is this board necessary?

Here is the video of the town hall, it is well worth watching it to the end, it is around 30 minutes:

I believe it is an attempt to ward off a push for this type of control from a vegan group such as PETA or the U.S. Humane Society. These farmers have decided to implement their own board as a pre-emptive strike.

Ohioans Don’t Be Duped!

Ohio citizens, be forewarned. This measure will crush the local farmers, reduce the variety and diversity of food produced in your state, set up a costly bureaucracy in perpetuity.

If you want to make sure some farms won’t be more “equal than others” as in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, VOTE NO on Issue 2.

At the same time, if you are concerned about animal welfare, find out who the bad actors are (you might start with any Ohio farm that contributed to the PAC) and send letters to the companies and newspaper editors, picket their facilities, ask for the Ohio Health Department to implement regulations already on the books. The other thing you can do is buy directly from a local farm. Check with your local Weston A. Price chapter leader for a humane livestock producer nearest you and patronize him.

Vote with your food budget instead of voting for more government and less freedom for the individual farmer.

This Blogger Awards Ohio a Dubious Distinction

Hartke is Online! hereby gives the State of Ohio it’s George Orwell Award for even putting such a measure on the ballot. The “Unwellie Award” is given to shine the light on bureaucratic nonsense and over reach. It is a dubious award which points out how unhealthy our society is becoming as we give over more and more control to Big Brother.

The best blog to follow who covers this issue is the Journal of Whole Health and Nutrition. See this post by blogger, David Michael on Why 12 Sustainable Farm Organizations are Against Issue 2

See today’s related post,  Jackie Stowers of Manna Storehouse Speaks Out on Issue 2.

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays blog carnival on Kitchen Renegade, click this link to learn what else you can do to support sustainable small farms.


  1. Kimberly Hartke says:

    Another reason soy producers may want this to pass, is that soy is a large component in animal feed. Perhaps they want their influence to be part of the feed requirements instituted by this animal care (and feeding) board.

    As for me and my house, we want the right to buy from soy-free farmers. If soy is not the natural diet of these animals, we prefer it not added to their feed.


  2. Stanley Fishman says:

    I could just see this board, which will be full of members with ties to the soy industry, requiring that all livestock be fed soy, for it ‘s supposed health benefits. Processed soy feed was never the natural feed of any animal.

    This reminds me of the forced feeding of Soy to prisoners in Illinois, and the insidious introduction of Soy Products into the schools. It appears that the Soy industry is no longer content to try to convince consumers and farmers to use their products by marketing, but is now turning to govenrment coertion.
    Nobody should be forced to feed soy to their livestock.
    I also want the right to soy free meat.

  3. Kyle Sharp says:

    Where do people come up with hog wash like this. That’s what this is, pure hog wash. No, I’m not talking about Issue 2, which is a necessary measure to ensure that livestock agriculture, of all sizes and shapes, can continue to be viable in the state of Ohio. Instead, I’m referring to the hog wash that is presented on this page as reasons to oppose the measure.

    The notion that the creature of this board is “big brother” trying to get you is conspiracy theory at its worst when, in reality, the only big brother out to get Ohio is the Humane Society of the United States and their eventual push to end the raising of animals that produce meat, milk and eggs, period. They don’t care how it’s done or who does it, they want us all to be vegans. So, they start with banning the practices that will have the biggest impact on livestock farms and consumers, and, eventually, they’ll work their way down to the smallest, most sustainable or whatever you want to call your farm, until livestock agriculture in the state is no more. Just let them get their foot in the door and look out. For a prime example, just check out what is taking place in California after the passage of Proposition 2 in that state last year, which, if you don’t know, is vastly different from Issue 2 proposed in Ohio.

    The idea that this issue helps large versus small farms is quite frustrating to me, because the reality is, if an Ohio farm is raising animals or animal products for human consumption, this board is an attempt to help them stay in business, as long as they are good managers of their operation. Because the true opponent here is not big versus little farms, but Ohio agriculture, as a whole, regardless of the farm size, attempting to maintain control over how food is produced in our state, versus turning that power over to out-of-state activists. In reality, if this board is approved, it will be the large farms with more at stake, because the animal housing and care practices that are most likely to come under scrutiny are those employed by the largest operations. Why? Because those are the ones most consumers don’t associate with their traditional view of what a farm should be, and hence are the ones some consumers have concerns about. I don’t see what this board might do that would somehow harm smaller farms. The idea the board would force the use of antibiotics, soy-based diets, housing measures, etc., simply makes no sense from a political, economical, consumer preference or pretty much any other stand point. But if something of that nature would come up, all citizens would have the ability to voice their concerns to the members of the board. The board, which by the way, will be appointed by the governor (9 members) and general assembly (2 members) with the other two being the state director of agriculture and the state veterinarian. Nobody at this point has any idea who will be appointed to the board, and everyone can make their suggestions and voice their opinion to the governor and their legislators as to who their choices might be. Certainly “big ag,” nor any other segment of Ohio agriculture, won’t be hand-picking people for the board. Can they suggest people, sure, but so can anyone else.

    Had to share some of my thoughts. Certainly won’t be popular with some on this forum, but so be it. If you want to see a viable animal agriculture segment continue to exist in the state of Ohio, then vote YES on issue two. If you want to see it slowly torn apart and eventually become extinct, then vote NO. Then, we can all get our meat, milk and eggs from Mexico, China or some other foreign source of cheap food. Doesn’t that sound like a much better alternative?

  4. Stanley Fishman says:

    The objections to Ohio proposition 2 are not “hogwash,” but common sense, grounded in reality and experience.

    This proposition gives virtually unlimited power to an appointed board, who can force any farmer to do anything they say is necessary in regard to livestock, with NO right of appeal.

    They would have the power to force farmers to use antibiotics.

    They would have the power to force the confining of chickens.

    They would have the power to force farmers and ranchers to use soyfeed.

    They would have the power to force all farmers to use Big Ag’s methods.

    It is naive to think that Big Ag would not control the board. They have the political clout to get appointed to positons of power in agriculture, and they use it. For example, President Obama appointed Michael Taylor as Food Safety Czar. This is the same Michael Taylor who was the chief lobbyist for Monsanto. A number of organic associations begged President Obama not to make that appointment, but he did so anyway. That is the power of Big Ag,
    Not a conspiracy theory, but reality. Why would Ohio be any different?

    The various agricultural boards and agencies here in California are full of appointees with ties to Big Ag, and they spend most of their time harassing small farmers while letting Big Ag do whatever it wants.

    The use of California Proposition 2 as a reason to vote for Ohio Proposition 2 makes no sense.

    California Proposition 2 requires that calves raised for veal, egg laying chickens, and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely,

    That is All that it does. Exceptions are made for transport, slaughter, and other circumstances.What is wrong with that? How does that turn us all into vegans?

    I live in a part of California that has a number of small farms and ranches. I have gotten to know a number of these farmers and ranchers at farmers markets. These include folks who raise chickens, eggs, cattle, and pigs. Not one of them, not one has been harmed by California proposition 2. Of course, these are all small farmers and ranchers.

    I am no vegan. I eat meat at least twice a day, and consume large quantities of milk, cheese, butter and eggs.

    Finally, you have to ask why Big Ag is financing this Proposition. It is reasonable to assume that they are doing so in order to protect their methods and enforce their way of farming on everybody else. This is not a conspiracy theory, because they wrote the proposition to give absolute power to an appointed board, and they wrote the proposition so there could be no appeal from the decisions of that board. Why make such a power grab if they don’t intend to use it?

    Farmers in Ohio would be at the total mercy of this board when it comes to livestock. Freedom and common sense demand that this proposition be defeated.

    Kimberly, you were right to give the George Orwell award to this oppressive proposition.

  5. Scott Kreaman says:

    interesting, I read something else from the Catholic church


    Also, it must mean that 95% of my farmer friends are bad actors then, as they gave money to support this board. Your take is interesting, as you assume everyone is out to get the small farmer, not so!

  6. Gina Malewicz says:

    Kyle Sharp:
    This is not about a conspiracy theory, this is not about everyone becoming vegans. I eat alot of meat & eggs and if this Issue passes, I will NOT be able to buy from my neighboring farmers, because they will not be able to keep up with the rules & regulations that this board will impose on them. Look at where the money is coming from to back this. Worst of all, this board will be not be voted in by the people! It is completely unconstitutional.

  7. Stanley Fishman says:

    The main argument being made to support issue 2 is that it will stop the horrible Petan and Vegan activists from “destroying the Ohio livestock industry, just like they did in California, with Proosition 2.”

    Well , I live in California, and I can tell you that all Proposition 2 does is require that certain farm animals be confined in such a way that they can stand up, lie down, fully extend their limbs, and turn around.

    That is all it does.

    In other words, Should Ohio voters give absolute power over every aspect of raising livestock to an appointed board, whose decisions cannot be appealed, to prevent the possibility that someday they may be asked to allow farm animals to stand up , lie down, fully extend their limbs, and turn around?

    If this sounds ridiculous, well, it is.

    Yet that is the main argument being used to justify Issue 2.

    I remember the campaign Big Ag financed against Proposition 2. They filled the airwaves with ads claiming that no eggs would be raised in California if Prop 2 passed, that all our eggs would come from Mexico. Well you can go into any grocery store in California today, and find that the shelves are full of eggs raised in California.

    Many Ohio farmers and farning organization oppose Issue 2, as do most of the major newspapers in the state.


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