Friday, June 26, 2009

Ag Needs Activists

Thursday, June 25, 2009
(I hope) there’s an ag activist in all of us
by Susan Crowell

My friend Callie and her husband, Sam, never thought they’d be on first-name basis with folks at the Ohio EPA. But they and their neighbors also never thought they’d be battling a poorly managed construction debris landfill sited on a former strip-mining operation near their farms and homes.

Their multi-year fight counts as a win for the little guy, as nuisance odors and numerous operating violations finally caused the director of the Ohio EPA to deny the landfill an operating permit, effectively closing the facility.

“I never thought I’d become an activist,” Callie told me, “but when something hits close to home …”

I thought of Callie this week as we learned the Ohio legislature will be deciding whether or not to put an initiative on the November ballot, amending the Ohio Constitution to create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.(Update, the Ohio House approved the resolution June 24 by a vote of 84-13.)

As I’ve written before, I want to be very clear: Responsible animal care is essential to the success of any livestock farm. Irresponsible care and abuse should not be tolerated within the ag community. But, as I’ve also written before, the goal of HSUS is not responsible livestock care. “… the reduction of meat consumption is one of the best things we can do for the planet… ” Pacelle wrote in his blog June 19. Read More

My twitter friend Susan Crowell makes a great point here that I have also tried to share with you. Just because a proposal from a Washington DC based animal rights lobbying group sounds good on the surface, that doesn’t mean the welfare of the livestock in question will be improved. While HSUS’s confinement bans may make an uninformed consumer feel better, the truth of the matter is that it might not make the animal more comfortable. These decisions should be made by a group of professionals that represent a variety of interests from their own state so that the best outcome can be achieved. That’s exactly what Ohio has decided to and they deserve our support.

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