Monday, October 19, 2009

Issue 2 Overview

By Craig Reck

The Debate
General Election in the state of Ohio is less than a month away. From now until November 3, different politicians and special interest groups will sway voters' minds. Here's a brief look at the different organizations involved with Issue 2.

The Issue

If passed, Issue 2 will create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The board of 10 governor-appointed officials will oversee animal treatment and establish standards for farmers throughout the state of Ohio.

The Humane Society of the United States is possibly the strongest opponent of Issue 2. The HSUS is not just worried about the well-being of abandoned pets. This national organization is focused on the humane treatment of animals throughout the U.S.

The HSUS worries that the regulations made from Issue 2 would favor large, commerical businesses while smaller, family farms would struggle. The organization believes that "big agriculture" is more concerned with attaining power than the humane treatment of livestock. The HSUS has it's own idea for livestock regulations.

The Ohio Environmental Council is also opposed to Issue 2, but not quite as vehemently. The OEC believes that standards need to be established, but a constitutional amendment is not the way to do it. If agricultural change happens in the state of Ohio, the OEC wants it done differently.

J.B. King of King Family Farms speaks on farming regulations

Local farmers are generally opposed to the issue, as well. A recurring problem among those farmers Athens MidDay interviewed is the need for a regulatory board. J.B. King of King Family Farms says, "We all, as farmers, should know what's right and wrong...there shouldn't be any issue." Considering the power the General Assembley's veto power over the regulatory board, Marjie Shews of Shews' Orchard says, "If that's true, is the board any good at all? I'm not sure."

Marjie Shew of Shew's Orchards discusses the regulatory board

The Ohio Farmer's Bureau is the biggest proponent of Issue 2. The bureau believes that it is time for a change in the state's agricultural workings. The regulations implemented by the issue would ensure the safety and treatment of caged livestock while improving the quality of foods produced. Regarding smaller farms, the bureau says that local produce is still offered in grocery stores.

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland lends his name to Issue 2 support. He has supported the bill since June and recently rallied for it in Columbus. But the governor is not the only public figure speaking out for Issue 2. Ohio State University President Gordon Gee publicly endorses it, as well.

Know the Issue
Regardless of who supports or opposes the proposed Constitutional amendment, the facts are what's important. Here is a copy of the final text version of the issue. Make sure to be well informed when arriving at the polls on November 3.

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