Monday, November 2, 2009

Ohio voters, please vote NO on Issue 2

Dear friends and Ohio voters:

Even if you're not a vegetarian or vegan, hopefully food safety is an issue that's important to you.  Please read below (or read the original post here) to learn more about Issue 2 and why you should vote "no."

1. Issue 2 seeks to stop animal welfare improvements. Agribusiness interests are trying to change the Ohio constitution so they can continue cruel and inhumane practices on factory farms—confining animals in tiny cages and crates so small they can’t even turn around. Issue 2 proposes an industry-dominated power grab to protect the status quo: hens crammed into cages so tightly they can’t even spread their wings, breeding pigs confined in tiny barren crates and calves chained by their necks inside veal crates. We wouldn’t force our pets to live in filthy, cramped cages for their whole lives, and we shouldn’t force farm animals to either. All animals, including those raised for food, deserve humane treatment.

2. Issue 2 threatens our food safety and health. Factory farmers have put our health at risk by recklessly telling us that it’s okay to keep animals in overcrowded, inhumane conditions. Cramming tens of thousands of animals into tiny cages fosters the spread of animal diseases that may affect people. For example, the American Journal of Epidemiology reported that people who eat eggs from hens confined in cages are 250% more likely to contract Salmonella. The extreme confinement of animals is also a major factor in the emergence of diseases like H5N1 and H1N1 (bird and swine flu). Passing Issue 2 would be bad for animals—and bad for us.

3. Issue 2 favors large factory farms, not Ohio’s family famers. Family farmers and groups like the Ohio Farmers Union and Family Farm Defenders oppose Issue 2 because they know that food quality and safety are enhanced by better farming practices. Increasingly, they are supplying mainstream retailers like Safeway and Burger King. Factory farms cut corners and drive family farmers out of business when they put profits ahead of animal welfare and our health.

4. Issue 2 threatens Ohio’s environment. The American Public Health Association has called for a moratorium on new factory farms because of the devastating effects these operations can have on surrounding communities. Factory farms often spread waste on the ground untreated—contaminating our waterways, lakes, groundwater, soil, and air. By helping keep the worst animal confinement practices in Ohio, Issue 2 threatens our precious natural resources—that’s why the Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance and Ohio Sierra Club oppose it.

5. Issue 2 sets Ohio backwards, while other states are moving forward. Seven states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, and Oregon—have banned the use of inhumane confinement devices for farm animals. In the European Union, veal crates are illegal, as are barren battery cages (effective 2012) and gestation crates (effective 2013). Rather than make advances to help farmers, consumers, and animal welfare, Issue 2 will ensure that Ohio lags behind other states and public opinion when it comes to the treatment of farm animals and movement away from the worst factory farming practices.

6. Issue 2 is opposed by leading organizations and experts. Issue 2 is opposed by The Humane Society of the United States, the Capital Area Humane Society, the Cleveland Animal Protective League, the Toledo Area Humane Society, the Ohio Farmers Union, the Ohio Environmental Stewardship Alliance, Progress Ohio, League of Women Voters of Ohio, Center for Food Safety, the Ohio Sierra Club, Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association, the Columbus Dispatch, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Dayton Daily News.

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