Last year, Ohio voters voted by a nearly 2-to-1 margin to amend its state constitution and create a Livestock Care Standards Board, made up of veterinarians and agriculture experts, to set animal care standards for the state.

veal-cows-featured.jpgOhioans for Humane Farms, a state ballot committee sponsored by the the Humane Society of the United States, is now launching what many in the ag industry are calling a “counterattack” against the ballot measure, which animal rights groups vehemently opposed in November.

The group has filed a petition, with signatures from voters in 48 local

counties, to Ohio’s Secretary of State to get an anti-cruelty measure

on the statewide ballot in November.

If accepted onto the ballot, the voters

will have the option of requiring the new Ohio Livestock Care Standards

Board to adopt specific minimum standards that, according to the group,

would “prevent the cruel and inhumane treatment of farm animals,

enhance food safety, protect the environment, and strengthen Ohio family


Groups like the Humane Society view the animal care board, which will be made up of experts appointed by the governor and legislature, as a roadblock to fair and humane animal handling regulations.

The Humane Society also believes that the handling regulations have significant food safety implications.

“Cramming tens of thousands of animals into tiny changes fosters the

spread of animal diseases that may affect people,” said the group,

pointing out that a recent American Journal of Epidemiology report

showed that eggs from confined cages are 250 percent more likely to contract


“We wouldn’t cram our pets into cages barely larger than their bodies for their entire lives, and we shouldn’t subject farm animals to this inhumane and unacceptable confinement either,” stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society. “All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food.”

The Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) came out against the petition, stating that animal handling issues should be addressed in the legislature.

“The OVMA believes all reasonable efforts to enhance animal well-being and care should be reviewed and considered with the utmost diligence. Doing so requires a proper and thorough examination of what science does and doesn’t tell us about the aspects of animal welfare under consideration,” the group said.

“While we respect the right of the citizens of the state to express their wishes regarding important matters, the complex nature of the science and values in animal housing systems is such that we have recommended now, as well as last year, that livestock welfare standards be addressed through legislative and not constitutional ballot mediums.”

Michigan was the latest state to adopt similar reforms–voters approved a measure to mandate that farm animals have more space to turn around and extend their limbs.

Pictured:  One million calves are raised for veal annually in the United States–intensively confined in individual stalls so small they can’t turn around during their entire 16- to 18-week lives before slaughter. Widely known for their inherent cruelty, veal crates are being phased out in Europe–yet remain in use throughout the United States.  Humane Society of the United States.

  • Paul Fortin

    Suggesting that we should leave animal cruelty questions up to a bunch of politicians in the legislature whose campaigns are highly subsidized by the animal industries that are the prime abusers of animals in factory farms is a sick joke. One has to wonder where the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association gets much of its business from.

  • The Veterinary Associations and Boards in every state are so against any benefit for animals, as well as blatantly stand up for cruelty for animals in every form. What hypocrites – only interested in money, fees – turn away poor people with injured/sick animals. No better than the human’s medical profession.

  • john649

    You GO Ohioans!!! This so called ‘Ag Board is the biggest joke but the last laugh will be when the PEOPLE by democracy out vote them!!! The problem is that they must don’t get it -people REALLY dont like to see animals beings abuse…….

  • ST

    It is hilarious that the so-called OVM came out against it saying animal handling issues should be left to the legislature. You didn’t hear them come out against the constitutional amendment that was Issue 2 in November 2009 that was exlusively about “animal handling issues.” Anyone who is paying attention can so through their veneer. They should get a new board or new leadership so they can be a legitimate professional organization.

  • Barbara Haines

    You people need to wake up. The ‘Ohioans for Humane Farms’ is funded by a $450K gift from HSUS, and their purpose is to force the state of Ohio to do what’s being proposed in Vermont: require that an HSUS representative be on site at every packing and slaughterhouse, and anywhere ‘blood is let or animals are killed’.
    Considering that the mission of HSUS is to destroy American agriculture (and not just factory farms like the claim), Ohio implemented their Livestock Standards Board in a move to try and keep HSUS out of AG in the state.
    This ‘voters referendum’ is HSUS’s attempt to steamroll their agenda like they did with Prop. 2 in California.
    Or, as HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle himself has stated:
    “We have no ethical obligation to preserve the different breeds of livestock produced through selective breeding …One generation and out. We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.” – Animal People News (May 1, 1993)

  • Isabella Miram

    I have seen many farms in California that make my heart hurt and my anger rise. Little calfs in cages without room to turn around. No green meadows under the huffs .. unlike their commercials about ‘Happy Cows’ they are not happy and neither should we be.