Ohio needs a livestock care standards board – but establishing it through a constitutional amendment is
the wrong way to create it. And for that reason Ohio voters should defeat state Issue 2 on Tuesday.
On the surface, the proposed board seems like the right thing for the state to do. But this is one time
when the devil is not in the details, the devil is in the motives that brought it to the vote of the
people. Such an issue should be done for the benefit of the livestock and not for the benefit of
organizations and businesses trying to launch a pre-emptive strike against national animal rights
organizations putting their measure before the voters.
A livestock care standards board should be created in the sunshine of public debate in the Ohio General
Committees of the Ohio House and Senate would hold hearings to learn the pros and cons of different
suggestions on how to best create a livestock care standards board. Establishing the board through the
legislative process would also allow interested parties to lobby their elected officials about what they
want to see, and not see, in such a board.
Hopefully the board that evolves through this process will become a sounding board for all points of view
to be found in Ohio’s agricultural "community." Agribusiness is indeed business – whether it’s
a small farm or a large operation. All sizes of farms must make a profit to survive. No "side"
in the Issue 2 debate should have a controlling interest on a livestock care standards board. Decisions
should be made by compromises, not by power plays orchestrated before board meetings.
Established in statute and not through a constitutional amendment, the board would join several hundred
already officially-established boards and commissions in the state that, for the most part, do an
excellent job of monitoring and governing narrowly-defined areas of different industries and
And like the other boards and commissions, the time may come when some changes are needed in the board or
its rules and regulations. The necessary changes can be relatively easily made – if the board is not set
in constitutional cement.
The first step in creating an effective livestock care standards board is to defeat Issue 2 on Tuesday.
– David C. Miller, Editor