The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, the Humane Society of the United States and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland held a news conference
Wednesday evening to make what some would call a surprising announcement about an agreement reached to keep an HSUS initiative off of the upcoming November ballot.
Ohio Farm Bureau’s Executive Vice President Jack Fisher shares why the agreement was reached…
“Ohio agriculture, on the behalf of our farmers and our organizations that make up the Ohioans for Livestock Care, have been looking at what we need to do going forward to maintain a strong climate for Ohio farmers, how do we maintain our commitment to Ohio consumers, to keep locally grown food that’s safe and affordable, looking at the challenges in what a ballot initiative brings forward in terms of cost, both in cash and people’s time and work. When we looked at all these things we started thinking what’s the best way to manage our risk with all these criteria that we’re facing in the industry.”
As for how this new agreement was initiated - Fisher explains…
“Over the last several months when we were aware that Humane Society of the United States was collecting signatures to come back to the ballot, there’s been ongoing communication and dialoged…are there better ways to do this. We forget that it costs Humane Society of the United States a lot of money to do a ballot initiative, as it was. So, everybody thought is there a better way to spend our dollars to get more done on behalf of farmers, and Wayne Pacelle’s constituents.”
Fisher adds that when both parties worked through all of that - both sides agreed there was a better way. Fisher has the agreement details...
“It was thought if we could come to an operating agreement to make a commitment, which we already have, to animal welfare, animal care, and to allow us to continue to stay in business, and make sure that our Ohio farmers are served. Now, Ohio farmers have had to give up some things, too, but, we don’t have to go to the ballot this fall, and we allow the Ohioans for Livestock Care Board, which was approved by voters last fall, to exercise their authority and commitment to fulfill their mission to look at all animal care standards of food producing animals going forward. So, we think this is a governance model that makes sense not only for Ohio, but for all of American agriculture.”
And most importantly to Fisher - prevents a ballot initiative that could have put mandates on the newly formed Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.
Details on the agreement can be found on the Ohio Farm Bureau websit at www dot ofbf dot org (www.ofbf.org).