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Ohioans - Vote No on Issue 2

Story ID:5385
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various Ohio usa
Person:Dean Vickers
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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 -

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 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?

As I finished my first draft, I took a break and looked at the incoming e-mails.
What a delightful surprise. I had told my friends that I couldn't respond to
Kelley's comment which had riled me because I kept getting an invalid login
message. I was using the same login as always. However, I think this was
providential because my friend from Alabama who is a prolific writer and
someone who is REALLY committed to animal concerns was able to log on.
Here is her excellent reply to Kelley:

Posted by Earthling3 on Sept. 25, 2009:

"Summerkelley-Obviously, you have bought into the scare tactics of the animal
exploiters who you so foolishly support and praise, which denies millions of
animals the simple right to live before they are brutally slaughtered. Before
that- they merely exist in misery, torment, and force- fed chemical steroid growth
hormones, consigned to factory farms, never to touch or feel the earth, nurture
their young or know one moment of a natural life - all for the profit of all the
animal exploitors you list in your comment. People like you who profess to be
a proponent of animal rights and fair treatment are hopelessly useless in fighting
for humane and compassionate treatment of animals. Furthermore, you must also
be terribly ignorant of the true extent of suffering inflicted upon every creature
imprisoned in industrial animal production/transport/slaughter. "Family Farms"
you say? You must be kidding. These are giant factories wherein animals are
nothing more than commodities whose treatment and welfare are the last issue
on the minds of profit-driven animal enterprises you defend."

Thank you so much Sandra. You are indeed a true voice for the voiceless. I also
believe that the Ohioans who will say NO to Issue 2 in November belong to this
same august group as well.