Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HSUS vs. Ohio agriculture

A guest editorial by Stacie Wenig

Believe it or not, each and every resident of not only my state, but our entire country, has some connection to the traditional occupation of farming. Whether they have experienced the hard work and satisfaction of exhibiting a market animal at a county fair, visited a local farm as a part of a school or leadership visit, or simply purchased meat and animal products at our local grocery, each citizen has somehow made a conscious decision to support local agriculturalists.
While many take these luxuries for granted, I consider my community blessed with such strong agriculture supporters, programming, and funding. Personally, I feel quite fortunate to be able to travel only minutes from home to see how my food is produced. Area farmers and livestock producers literally connect the farm gate to the consumer plate, as they provide a healthy and safe food supply for our community.
             The very safety of that food supply is in jeopardy in the Buckeye state. The Humane Society of the United States has made their agenda in Ohio quite clear: slowly erode, and eventually banish, animal agriculture. Much like their most recent campaign in California, Wayne Pacelle and other HSUS officials have promised an Ohio invasion in 2010 if compromises aren’t made on the production of our livestock.
In an effort to protect our largest industry, Ohio farmers, politicians, commodity organizations, and business leaders have joined together in an effort to keep HSUS from controlling our right to local, safe, and efficient production of animal products. Passing in the Ohio House and Senate in July of 2009, a bipartisan resolution was created to put Issue 2 on the ballot. Issue 2, a proposed constitutional amendment, would create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. This board will enable Ohiolivestock and poultry farmers to continue to provide excellent care to their animals, while also protecting our food supply and keeping affordable, locally-raised food available for consumers.
It is more important than ever that we not only spread the word about Issue 2 around Ohio, but educate other agriculturalists in the United States about the potential consequences extreme animal activist groups could create with their unreasonable requests. If these groups had their way, it would almost guarantee higher food costs for consumers, put food safety at risk, increase the amount of food imported to Ohio, cause thousands of family farmers to go out of business, and endanger the overall health and well-being of Ohio's flocks and herds.
 To continue support for Ohio’s largest industry, I spend much of my time educating voters on the importance of Issue 2. As a state, and an industry, must take a stand by voting YES on Issue 2 on November 3. By maintaining excellent care of food animals in our state, Issue 2 will help to ensure the availability of safe, locally-grown, affordable meat, milk and eggs. By passing Issue 2, each voter will also help sustain the viability of Ohio’s agriculture community, including the jobs it provides and the many economic contributions it makes. Issue 2 will protect our local family farms, and will keep animal control where it belongs—right here in Ohio.

For a little background on Stacie click here. 

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