Ohioans for Humane Farms Petitions to Put Measure on November Ballot Protecting Animal Welfare, Food Safety, Family Farmers and the Environment

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Erin Williams, The HSUS, 301-721-6446, ewilliams@humanesociety.org

Meredith Turner, Farm Sanctuary, 646-369-6212, mturner@farmsanctuary.org

Ohioans for Humane Farms Petitions to Put Measure on November Ballot Protecting Animal Welfare, Food Safety, Family Farmers and the Environment

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohioans for Humane
Farms submitted a petition-including signatures from Ohio voters in 48
counties, demonstrating broad and regionally diverse support-to
Ohio's Attorney General in support of placing an anti-cruelty measure on
the statewide November ballot. The proposed measure would allow voters to
require the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board to adopt certain minimum
standards that will prevent the cruel and inhumane treatment of farm animals,
enhance food safety, protect the environment and strengthen Ohio family farms.

Utilizing a large volunteer base, the group will seek
to collect more than 600,000 signatures of registered Ohio voters upon approval
of the petition forms by the Secretary of State. The ballot measure is backed
by The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, Ohio SPCA,
Toledo Area Humane Society, Geauga Humane Society, Ohio League of Humane
Voters, Center for Food Safety, United Farm Workers, Consumer Federation of
America, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and a growing list of
organizations.

This measure will allow Ohio voters to provide
guidance to the newly enacted Livestock Board and set certain minimum humane
standards that will prevent cruel factory farming practices in Ohio, including:

  • Extreme
    confinement in tiny cages for months on end:
    Tens of thousands of
    veal calves, 170,000 breeding pigs, and approximately 27 million egg-laying
    hens in Ohio are confined in cages and crates so restrictive the animals can
    barely move an inch for virtually their whole lives. Many don't even have
    enough room to stretch their limbs or turn around.
  • Allowing
    "downer cows"
    to enter
    the human food chain:
    Allowing sick and injured animals into the
    food supply threatens public health and food safety. Cows too sick or injured
    to stand or walk on their own to slaughter should be humanely euthanized, not inhumanely
    dragged or pushed while being shocked and beaten onto the kill floor to be used
    for human consumption.
  • Inhumane
    methods of euthanasia for sick and injured animals:
    In Ohio, a
    factory farmer was videotaped killing sick pigs by hanging them execution-style
    from a tractor, leaving them to writhe in the air for minutes on end. He was
    acquitted of cruelty for the hangings, a verdict Ohio's agribusiness
    community hailed as a "huge victory," because Ohio has no law
    specifically requiring humane farm animal euthanasia methods.

The Board would have six years to implement these
minimum standards, allowing producers ample time to transition to more humane
systems. If the measure is enacted, Ohioans for Humane Farms hopes that the
Livestock Board would immediately adopt minimum standards that address
euthanasia and downer animals.

"We wouldn't cram our pets into cages
barely larger than their bodies for their entire lives, and we shouldn't
subject farm animals to this inhumane and unacceptable confinement
either," stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "All
animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food."

"Mahatma Gandhi said you can judge a nation by
the way it treats its animals. As a veterinarian, I am duty-bound to protect
the human-animal bond, and by supporting this measure, we as a state and nation
will be improving the lives of animals," states Cleveland veterinarian
Brian Forsgren, DVM.

"Ohioans oppose cruelty and believe that all
animals, including farm animals, deserve to be protected," said Gene
Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary. "In November, Ohioans will have the
opportunity to make their voices heard and phase out some of the worst factory
farm abuses."

Michigan recently became the latest state to adopt
reforms, providing farm animals with more space to turn around and extend their
limbs, passing a measure in its state legislature in 2009 very similar in form
to the Ohio proposal. Similar laws also have been enacted in Arizona,
California, Colorado, Florida, Maine and Oregon.

The HSUS has more than 400,000 Ohio supporters. Farm
Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization.

Facts

 

  • In March 2009, HBO documentary Death
    on a Factory Farm
    revealed appalling
    mistreatment of pigs on an Ohio factory farm, including immobilization inside
    tiny crates and the killing of pigs by hanging them execution-style.
  • Across Ohio, crated calves are
    tethered by the neck and can barely move, pigs in severe confinement bite the
    metal bars of their crates, and hens can get trapped and even impaled in their
    wire cages. There is overwhelming science
    demonstrating that such extreme confinement is detrimental to the
    animals' welfare.
  • Caging animals in high
    densities leads to higher concentrations of animal waste and air and water pollution,
    as well as a greater risk of disease transmission such as Salmonella.
###

Farm Sanctuary is the nation's leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, Farm Sanctuary has worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the "food animal" industry through research and investigations, legal and institutional reforms, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Farm Sanctuary shelters in Watkins Glen, N.Y., and Orland, Calif., provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming.

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