Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Consumer Choice Under Attack

More than agriculture, it's a consumer issue
Korre Boyer is the Organization Director for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation. Additionally, Boyer operates a beef farm with his wife and three children in Lucas, Ohio.

The Humane Society of the United States, or HSUS as commonly referred to, is an organization that has recently set its eye on Ohio agriculture. To really understand what this means for Ohio, we must look at some of the other states that HSUS has targeted. Most recently, California has fallen victim to untruthful propaganda and misleading information in the form of what was called Proposition 2. Proposition 2 basically outlawed the use of several modern animal agriculture practices. These are gestation crates for female pigs, veal stalls for calves, and cages for laying hens. I will admit that the terminology of these individual housing units may not paint a pretty picture in one's mind but they do serve many purposes for livestock and humans alike.

Individual housing units for livestock are a critical production method for livestock not only in California and Ohio, but across our country. They provide 1) a safe work environment for farm operators to work around animals; 2) operators to more closely monitor an individual animal's health and dietary needs; 3) protect animals from injuring one another; and 4) control the spread of disease. Without such practices, it would be a challenge for America's farmers to produce the safe, healthy, and affordable food supply for the world. Let's not overlook the fact that the world relies heavily on the U.S. to fulfill their food needs. In today's global markets our ability to feed the masses is one of our strongest assets.

I don't want to cloud the issue of food production by saying that individual housing units are the only way Ohioans raise livestock because that would simply be untrue. However, individual housing units are the best way to raise some types of livestock so that the American farmer can meet consumer demand and produce an affordable product.

You may choose to buy "free range" eggs or "organic" foods. These are examples of the product choices you, the consumer, have at the grocery store or local farm market. These choices may be one of the most fundamental rights stripped away by this so-called, "animal welfare" group. By eliminating or blocking the use of fundamental, science-based, modern farming practices, we stand to lose the choice of what we would like to purchase for our families to consume. Read More

There are a lot of choices that consumers should have in this country that are under attack, especially in food production. Since the free market system hasn’t been working in the favor of animal rights activists, they must use the ballot box and propaganda to take away food choices from our consumers. The reason that so many of these issues have passed during elections is that so far there has been very little consequence for consumers to force production changes on farmers and ranchers. That however is about to change. They will soon be feeling the effects of their vote and chances are that they aren’t going to like what they see. There will be reduced choice and higher prices at the grocery store. This isn’t what hard working families that are trying to feed themselves need.

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