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The HSUS Urges Ohio Lawmakers to Oppose Big Ag Constitutional Power Grab

The Humane Society of the United States

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization with 11 million supporters, including more than 400,000 in Ohio, issued the following statement:

"Big Agribusiness' attempt to amend Ohio's constitution by creating an industry-dominated council to oversee farm animal treatment is poor policy and an attempt to thwart meaningful reform. This proposed council is a blatant attempt to stall efforts to halt inhumane confinement practices for veal calves, pigs and other animals on factory farms — systems that are so restrictive that the animals are often prevented from engaging in basic movements such as turning around and extending their limbs.

"We have been asking the Ohio Farm Bureau to engage in serious dialogue on these issues for months, but not only have they refused to respond to our initial proposal, but they now want to enshrine their favored oversight system into the state constitution. 

"In addition, given the state's enormous budgetary problems, paying for a constitutionally-authorized commission regarding the treatment of farm animals seems like a poor use of taxpayer funds.

"It's a special interest power grab that is designed to circumvent the input of all Ohioans into the process and divert attention from serious reform. Ohio legislators and Governor Strickland should see through this bait-and-switch maneuver, and we urge them not to stand in the way of a serious look at factory farming practices in Ohio. All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food.

"Ohio leaders should instead insist that the Ohio Farm Bureau and other agribusiness groups come to the table with HSUS and other animal protection and environmental advocates, to work cooperatively on phasing out certain abusive and unsustainable practices. If Ohio agribusiness groups do not agree to some restrictions, The HSUS is prepared to launch a statewide ballot initiative campaign for November 2010 to ensure that animals on factory farms are given enough room to turn around and extend their limbs."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.