Issue 2 would decide who regulates animal care in Ohio's biggest business
Sunday, September 6, 2009 3:59 AM
By Alan Johnson
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
JOHNSTOWN, Ohio -- Jim Heimerl is among relatively few people in Ohio who know what State Issue 2 is about.
That's because Heimerl, 52, has a 2,500-acre, family-owned hog and cattle farm outside of Johnstown. He says his farm would be severely affected if a livestock-standards constitutional amendment is not approved in the Nov. 3 election.
Heimerl said he fears more-restrictive animal-care standards advocated by the Humane Society of the United States could be enacted, crippling agriculture, Ohio's No. 1 industry.
"I've become very involved in this," he said during an interview last week at his farm in rural Licking County, 23 miles from Downtown Columbus. "I've been in this business for 30 years. This is about our livelihood, my family's livelihood."
Issue 2 would set up the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The governor and legislature would appoint members, including family farmers, veterinarians, a food-safety expert, a representative of a local humane society, members of statewide farm organizations, the dean of an Ohio agriculture college and two consumers. The state agriculture director would lead the panel.
While Issue 2 might sound banal, even boring to Ohioans not involved in agriculture, it's far from that. Behind the scenes, it's a high-stakes, big-bucks financial battle that showed a flash of political intrigue this year when the Ohio General Assembly acted at lightning speed to put the issue on the ballot. Read More
Ohio family farmers have worked hard to put together Issue 2. In order for them to stay in business they must be afforded some sort of protection from Washington DC lobbyist groups swooping in and putting them out of business. In farming and ranching, you need to plan for several years down the road and this will allow them to do that. The passage of this bill by the citizens of Ohio will tell Wayne Pacelle and his anti-animal agriculture group to quit trying to put family farmers out of business.