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Ohio FB prepares for round 2 with HSUS
Home The News Ohio FB prepares for round 2 with HSUS

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Ohio livestock industry is preparing itself for another challenge from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Last year the livestock industry in Ohio responded to an informal challenge from HSUS by creating the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

The purpose of the new board is to re-invent the partnership farmers have with consumers and provide transparency, validation, and credibility of standards set for livestock production, according to Jack Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio voters last year approved the livestock care board by a vote of 64 percent to 36 percent and since then one farmer, two veterinarians, a food safety specialist, a member of a local Humane Society, two consumers, two representatives of state farm organizations, and one college administrator were selected to serve on the board.

“The (livestock care) board is a good cross-section of Ohio,” said Fisher, who this week was a keynote speaker at the American Farm Bureau Federation public relations conference in Madison. “Their job is to get permission for us to feed the world.”

The livestock care board received bi-partisan support in Ohio and was supported by the American Humane Association.

However, the board is not supported by HSUS. In fact, HSUS is in the process of collecting signatures to put an initiative on the ballot in November that would override the livestock board’s authority by establishing language that would phase out the use of gestation stalls, battery cages, and veal crates in Ohio.

“It’s a way to short-circuit what was put in place,” Fisher said of the potential ballot initiative. HSUS must collect 402,275 signatures of registered voters by June 30.

“If it’s on the ballot this fall we’re committed to another campaign to defeat it,” Fisher said.

If the ag industry is able to prevail it likely will be a costly battle. The ag industry last year spent about $5 million on the Ohioans for Livestock Care Campaign, which was supported by Illinois Farm Bureau.

“We expect this to be a very expensive campaign,” Fisher said of the potential ballot initiative. “Last year it was as fairly civil campaign. We’re anticipating this one could get pretty ugly.”

Fisher believes if the ballot initiative is approved HSUS will attempt to sway voters’ opinions by launching a negative campaign against conventional agriculture that could include graphic images of the mistreatment of animals.

For More Info Contact:
John Hawkins, News Service Director
Phone 309 557-2237      Fax (800) 640-1995      E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
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First Posting 25-03-2010 06:51:39 RoyRogers59