Issue 2 Passes: Agribusiness Rewrites Ohio's Constitution

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Kate Fried
(202) 683-4905
kfried@fwwatch.org

Issue 2 Passes: Agribusiness Rewrites Ohio's Constitution

Statement of Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter

WASHINGTON - “The Farm Bureau-sponsored campaign to change Ohio’s constitution and
give industrialized agriculture control over livestock issues succeeded
with the passage of ballot Issue 2. Consumers, small family farmers and
the neighbors of large, industrialized animal operations are the
losers.”

“The grassroots coalition opposing Issue 2, Ohio
Against Constitutional Takeover (Ohio ACT), faced a David and Goliath
battle. Outspent by a factor of 40 to 1, the coalition faced-off
against an entrenched, well-financed and powerful industry.”

“Ohioans
for Livestock Care Political Action Committee (PAC), a coalition
representing major corporate agribusiness, and headed by a Farm Bureau
staff member, spent over $4 million on Issue 2. Concerned that the
filthy and inhumane practices of large-scale animal operations could be
regulated under state law in the future, the ballot initiative changed
the state’s constitution to protect agribusiness.

“Most
Ohioans who voted in favor of Issue 2 would be shocked to know that the
newly created entity, the Livestock Care Standards Board, clears the
way for factory-style animal operations to self-regulate.”

“Under
the leadership of the Farm Bureau, agribusiness cynically lied to Ohio
voters. They claimed to be protecting small farmers and consumers, but
the real beneficiaries are the large monopolistic corporations that
control meat production. By pouring millions of dollars into a media
campaign misrepresenting the goals of Issue 2, the industry essentially
“bought” the right to regulate itself and to circumvent the Ohio
constitution.

“The Farm Bureau and their allies were so afraid
of the truth that they attempted to use their financial clout to
silence their opponents’ criticisms and suppress their constitutional
right to freedom of speech. They pressured radio stations to drop Food
& Water Watch’s ad opposing Issue 2.  They filed complaints with
the state election commission in an attempt to intimidate us.  

“The
whole country is now watching Ohio to see what the new Livestock Care
Standards Board will do with its power. Food & Water Watch, and its
Ohio ACT allies, will closely monitor this board, redoubling our
efforts to get the state legislature and governor to rein in large
corporate agribusiness.”

 

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Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.

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