Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vote Yes For State Issue 2

At our October Board meeting, the Board of Directors of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, voted unanimously to endorse State Issue 2.

Issue 2 was placed on the ballot through a bipartisan resolution that passed by an overwhelming majority and has support from Governor Strickland and the Ohio General Assembly. If approved, Issue 2 would create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, made up of 13 Ohioans with broad expertise in animal agriculture. The board will set standards for livestock and poultry care that will take into account such items as best farm management practices for animal well-being; food safety; and local availability and affordability of food. Board members will consider issues in the context of how they impact overall animal health, biosecurity on livestock farms, animal disease prevention and food safety and food production volume and price.

The governor and legislature acted in recognition of the fact that agriculture has undergone dramatic changes in recent years and faces many challenges. New ways of doing things are constantly being developed and it’s important that suggested changes be carefully considered by Ohio experts and supported by science, fact and data.

Special interest groups based in Washington and elsewhere have had some success in other states with emotional campaigns and legislative measures surrounding animal care issues. These groups, with not so hidden agendas of advocating a vegetarian lifestyle for everyone and shutting down large farm operations altogether, pose a significant threat to Ohio agriculture. Ohio has been mentioned as a future target for a similar initiative that passed in California last November.

“Chamber members know better than anyone the value of having people right here in Ohio involved in the critical decisions that impact our businesses,” said Andrew E. Doehrel, President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber. “Issue 2 creates a diverse board representing all interests, including consumers and animal rights advocates, as well as farmers. They will make decisions based on what is best for all Ohioans.”

Agriculture contributes $93 billion annually to Ohio’s economy and has more than 75,000 farms, about half of which have livestock. Additionally, Ohio is home to more than 800 food processing companies and produces more than 200 commercial crops. Of these, Ohio is a leading producer in more than 35 product sectors.

To learn more about State Issue 2, please visit www.OhioLivestockCare.com

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