OH farmers preparing for legislative battle with HSUS (AP)‏

Sent: May 20, 2009 3:53:14 PM

Dayton Daily Press (OH)
Humane Society: Give Ohio farm animals some space
By The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

CINCINNATI The Ohio farm lobby and the Humane Society of the United
States are girding for a fight over the confinement of farm animals,
with the Washington-based society saying it is confident voters will
side with animals and farmers saying the group's real goal is to
reduce consumption of animal products.

The Humane Society met with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation leaders, the
Ohio Cattlemen's Association, the Ohio Pork Producers Council and the
Ohio Poultry Association in February to deliver this message: Ohio
farmers must agree to change their animal husbandry practices or have
the practices changed for them via the ballot box.

"When we met with those industry leaders, we suggested we come to a
meeting of the minds with a plan to phase out confinement systems in
the state," Humane Society president Wayne Pacelle said Tuesday. "My
suggestion to agricultural leaders in Ohio was not to squander money
on a campaign that was likely to fail."

The Humane Society has three main initiatives involving farm animals.
It wants to ban gestation crates that allow little movement for sows
giving birth, cages smaller than an 8-inch-by-11-inch sheet of paper
for laying hens, and stalls that prevent veal calves from moving

"We just think that's inhumane and wrong, and that animals raised for
food deserve humane treatment," Pacelle said.

The farm bureau has served notice that it is not going to roll over.

"They make what sound like simple demands regarding animals when in
reality their true goal is to give animals status equal to humans,"
said Jack Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau

The federation sounded a fundraising alarm on its Web site last week.
And in its newsletter, the organization asks if the Humane Society is
making an honest attempt to improve animal care, "or is it part of a
broader effort to disrupt livestock farms, artificially drive up the
cost of animal products and restrict consumer choice?"

Pacelle said public sentiment is on the side of the Humane Society,
which has 11 million members and is the nation's largest
animal-protection organization.

He noted that Maine's governor last week signed legislation banning
crates and cages that cramp breeding pigs and veal calves, beginning
in January 2011. The Humane Society also got easy wins in Oregon and
Colorado, where industry leaders went along with proposed changes. It
also won ballot initiatives in Florida, Arizona and California, where
the public sided with the Humane Society "overwhelmingly, in the 70
percent range," Pacelle said.

"We've done our own polling in Ohio and found it very similar to
California, he said.

He said the society hopes "responsible members of the agriculture
community will realize it's in their best interest" to compromise. "If
we can't reach an accommodation, we'll do what's necessary to qualify
a ballot initiative in fall 2010 election," he said.

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, which has more than 230,000 members
and lobbies for the state's farmers and farming interests,
characterizes the Humane Society as driven by a vegan philosophy that
"often uses images of sad-eyed puppies to solicit donations from
well-meaning individuals."

"We respect their passion for these particular issues," said Keith
Stimpert, the federation's senior vice president of public policy.
"Unfortunately, making these decisions at the ballot box is a very
poor approach."

He said the farm bureau was starting a new Center for Food and Animal
Issues that would focus on "the whole gamut of animals' role in
society." The center will raise money and be the federation's voice in
the public debate on farm animal welfare issues.

On the Net:

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation: http://www.ofbf.org
Humane Society of the United States: http://www.hsus.org

Mac Leod Motto