Washington, D.C. — “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.”