In the upcoming 2009 November election here in Ohio, we will be voting on an issue relating to the care and welfare of livestock animals. The actual ballot language can be found at The Ohio Ballot Board, Issue 2. It is not long; it is worth reading. And here is a nice unbiased breakdown of the bill.
There are many articles and blogs posts already written. I found David N. Cassuto blog post at Animal Blawg to mirror my thoughts.
I dislike the idea of more government and bureaucracy involved with our food production. Mainly because, much like the USDA, this board will be made up of large producers and they will do little to actually help animal welfare, food safety or family farms.
Personally, one of my biggest beefs with this proposal is the use, or misuse of the term family farm. In 2004 the USDA stated that 98% of all farms in the United States are family farms. I guess my idea of what a family farm is needs to change. Here in this article from the Columbus Dispatch, Jim Heimerl calls himself a family farmer, but at 2,500 acres and producing 100,000 pigs per year. Jim, you may have a family and you may have a farm, but that’s no family farm in my mind. I know a number of family farmers here in Ohio who are farming fewer than 100 acres (I’d like to think of myself as one … maybe next year). I’ve been to their farms and seen how they raise their animals. Small family farmers raise their animals using sustainable practices because it is more economical.
This is my grandpa. He was a family farmer, so was my other grandpa, and all my uncles from my mom’s side of the family. Don’t for a second be fooled by the language in this issue regarding family farmers.