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Speak Out for Ohio Veal Calves

Story ID:6916
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:various Ohio USA
Year:2011
Person:various
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People of Ohio - please help our veal calves by writing to the Ohio Livestock Care Standard Board to not give into the pressures of the veal industry to keep veal crates and tethers in use indefinitely. This is in direct opposition to the promises the Board made to the people of Ohio that the veal crates would be phased out by 2017. Even Ohio's agricultural leaders - the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Ohio Dairy Producers, and the Ohio Cattlemen's Association agree that allowing tethers and stalls conflicts with their recommendations to outlaw them.

I remember in the summer of 2009 going door to door with leaflets asking the people of Ohio to vote NO on Proposition 2, which, in many of our views, was a thinly disguised attempt by the big CAFO owners to keep Ohio corporate farms under their control. Believe me -that just walking up and down the steps of houses on two long streets -depositing these flyers in places other than the mail box was challenging for this 79 year-old. I had a new profound respect for the mail man or woman who delivers our mail. I was also glad that I had brought with me a cannister of cold water, and I was even more glad when I decided to call it quits even though I had many more flyers to go. In the end all, my efforts were for nil. The people of Ohio passed Proposition 2- probably thinking it was good for the animals and farmers alike.

I thought then that the real winners were the CAFO owners, who by the way, are subsidized with our taxes. Republicans talk about wanting to cut spending. Well, here are my suggestions: Quit subsidizing BIG corporate farms and BIG oil, gas, and coal. It was also disappointing to many of us that they thought the rich needed tax breaks. The country needed that extra money to address our deficit. And now - union busting to save money for taxpayers? Why, we're the ones who need unions in order to pay our taxes!

When I first learned of Proposition 2, I thought - is this the same bill as the compassionate Proposition 2 which California passed? California's "2" sought to phase out battery cages, veal crates, and pig gestation crates. No, Ohio's propostion 2 was not the same, but despite it being passed, because of promises made to Governor Ted Strickland and Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS, the Board agreed to compassionate measures for our farm animals which would take place over a number of years. Among these were the phasing out of veal crates by 2017.

Even though farm rescue groups like Farm Sanctuary were happy with this agreement -many of us just groaned. We thought - SEVEN more years of animal torture for our poor veal calves. But then, we can't fully understand how difficult it was to even get to this point. At least the calves who would be born in 2017 would no longer be crated. But now these veal producers are trying to convince the Board that this humane promise should be taken away, and that tethers and crates should be allowed indefinitely. This would mean that our veal calves will NEVER be free to even walk- let alone frolic one day with other calves- even if in a confined space. At least that before facing the slaughter's knife, they would experience some joy and tenderness. Really, is that too much to ask?

I always gratefully remember Wayne Pacelle's attempt to help us understand what close confinement for animals might mean to them. Last year on the Oprah show which explored the differences between raising animals in CAFOs and in a traditional farm setting, he gave us this example of what it might like to be a chicken among many in a battery cage or a poor calf alone in a tight crate. He asked us to imagine that we are trapped in an elevator with 7 other peole for a full day - standing and unable to move much at all. That thought struck me as horrifying and here these chickens and veal calves are not "stuck" in a confined space for a mere 24 hours. They are stuck for their whole tortured lives untill mercifully killed.

If you agree that the Ohio Livestock Care Standard Board should not reneg on their promise to the people of Ohio that veal crates will be phased out in 2017, please e-mail them at:
livestockstandardsboard@agri.ohio.gov.