The HSUS didn’t have such luck in Ohio. They were in shock last November when voters passed Issue 2 and formed the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. What were they going to do? They couldn’t enforce their ridiculous regulations if Ohio farmers and representatives were in charge of their own agriculture. As an act of retaliation, they formed the “Ohioans for Humane Farms” group, a clever guise for the HSUS to convince unsuspecting voters to get an HSUS rep on the Care Standards Board to enforce their practices.
They didn’t understand, however, that Ohioans had said a firm “No!” to the HSUS last year. They had so much trouble collecting the signatures necessary for their petition that they resorted to paying out-of-state signature collectors 7 cents per signature. These collectors would use any method known to man to get signatures they needed. They would not let potential signers read anything but the name of the group on the petition until after they had signed it. An article recently appeared in the Daily Record that one of the collectors threatened a man for wanting to know what petition he was signing.
Now, HSUS managed to collect the signatures they needed – or, at least, that’s what they say. They did decide not to send in the petition; instead, they submitted a rather self-congratulatory press release saying that they got everything they wanted. This included a gradual phase-out of veal crates by 2017. Any veal farmers out there? The American Veal Association already announced the phase-out of veal crates by – you guessed it – 2017.
In addition, HSUS is “crowing” over their success in enforcing a moratorium on permits for farmers who want to build new chicken farms. However, in the present economy, do you know of anyone who wants to buy new equipment for a new farm? In fact, that’s one of the main reasons that farmers were trying to fight this bill – if it passed, they would have to spend money that they don’t have to buy new equipment.
Bottom line: In both of these situations, HSUS got what they wanted…sort of. The changes that they wanted to make are being made, but it had nothing to do with their proposed regulations – instead, it is a show of how real agricultural associations can take control of their own respective industries and make a change for the better, without outside “help”.
Livestock farmers, rejoice! We get to regulate our own agriculture, without the influence of out-of-state activists. However, before we let out a victory cry, bear in mind that the HSUS can pull out those signatures any time they want to put a new bill on the ballot if they want to. If that bill were to pass, our lives would change drastically. Everybody involved in the agriculture field – from producers, to processors, to veterinarians, researchers, and creditors – would lose their jobs. Not only would livestock and crop farming change, but the lives of the American citizen in general would. Do you understand the term veganism? It’s a step past vegetarian – no animal products at all. Meat? Milk? Eggs? Gone. This is the HSUS’s ideal, and slowly but surely, they’re getting their way.
There just isn’t any way that we can deny it any longer. Ohio farmers, and farmers across the U.S., are under attack by these extremists. They have a seemingly bottomless supply of all the resources a group needs to make change – money, power, and influence. We, the farmers and representatives of agriculture, have one thing they don’t – the truth. If we want to save our industry and livelihood, it’s time that we learn what we’re up against, and learn how to combat organizations like the HSUS in a civil, sophisticated way. If we can’t do this, and do it fast, then we’re fighting a meaningless battle.
Can we do it? I think so. But it’s going to take all of us, united and educated, to win this one.