A vote in Ohio helped agribusiness owners in their struggle with animal rights activists. The vote to establish a livestock care oversight board has given livestock farmers much-needed ammunition in the attempt to quell animal rights activists’ attempts to dictate how livestock can be housed. The referendum, approved by 64% of Ohio voters, establishes the Livestock Care Standards Board. The governor is required by the referendum to appoint the ten-member panel, of which two appointments are guaranteed to go to the speaker and president of the state Senate.
It’s a pre-emptive move by agriculture industry leaders to maintain control of a hotbed issue in the industry, one that farmers say gives them more control over the costs that could be associated with any necessary animal housing modifications. The livestock board, which will be comprised of livestock farmers and animal care experts, will work toward identifying cost-efficient ways to house animals humanely while not taxing the wallets of the livestock owners with heavy regulatory changes.
Food producers have been hit hard by the push from activists to allow more free-range animal care and no cages. Efforts to suppress opposition by attempting to explain the reason for cages and animal confinement as safety measures for the animals have resulted in more public outcry.
Now Ohio has set what appears a precedent allowing the agriculture industry to devise its own regulations and control its own destiny. At least 24 other states have scheduled similar voting referendums, which caused animal rights groups to come out in droves in opposition to the proposals.
The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation stated the support for the new board formation (known as Issue 2) has been overwhelming. At the moment, there’s little indication from insurers how the new board, and any other state boards that follow Ohio’s lead, will be dealt with from an insurance standpoint. Your livestock business insurance broker is a good source of updated information on the legislation in your state and region and can give you the latest information on how the new board will be handled from an insurance perspective.
So tell us what you think. How will this legislation impact your ag business? Will it ultimately help or hurt the livestock farmer?