The Real Issue 2

There is nothing to be done about it now; civilization has ceased to be that
delicate flower which was preserved and painstakingly cultivated in one or two
sheltered areas of soil rich in wild species which may have seemed menacing
because of the vigor of their growth, but which nevertheless made it possible to
vary and revitalize the cultivated stock. Mankind has opted for monoculture; it
is in the process of creating a mass civilization, as beetroot is grown in the
mass. Henceforth, man's daily bill of fare will consist only of this one item.

-Claude Lévi-Strauss, Tristes Tropiques

No, this man did not make jeans, but rather was a fairly famous French anthropologist who was here commenting on the destruction of the Amazon rain forest and the effects of such destruction on the people and ecology of this region. What strikes me as funny (and clearly not in a "ha-ha" sort of way) is just how poignant and applicable this quotation still is today.

Next month in the state of Ohio, voters will be asked to cast a yes or no vote on Issue 2, which would create the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. The creation of this board would require and amendment to the Ohio constitution. On surface, the creation of this Board seems like a good thing, something to support for those of us who promote and support farmers and ranchers who raise their livestock humanely. The fact of the matter is, the Board would grant even more power to factory farms and CAFO's, backed by the support of law, with virtually no oversight.

The idea of driving through the state of Ohio and seeing giant cow, pig, and chicken feedlots surrounded by the already overwhelming miles of commodity corn frankly makes me sick to my stomach. Voting yes on this issue simply gives more power to groups that have too much already, continuing the cycle of environmental pollution and inhumane treatment of livestock, and trampling the family farm.

On Issue 2, I will be voting no to show my support for sustainable agriculture and Ohio family farms. I hope this issue is important enough to you to do the same.

1 comment:

Dennis L Hitzeman said...

It's really hard for a lot of people to understand what is at stake with this issue because both sides are talking about everything but the issue at hand. Your synopsis is a good one, but what people really need to hear is why this is an issue that should matter to them.

From my perspective, Issue 2 would institutionalize in the Constitution of the State of Ohio a method of farming and thinking about farming that cannot be sustained. It is only a matter of time before factory farms and compact feeding operations (CAFOs) can no longer hold back the treat of disease they keep at bay right now by keeping their animals medicated from the moment they arrive. Add into the mix the often deplorable conditions these animals are kept in, and this house of cards will collapse constitutional amendments or not.

I do not come into this debate lightly. As a recently initiated small farmer and cattleman, I understand the effect animal welfare regulations could have, and these are regulations we need to ensure that our food is safe now and for future generations. It is for this reason I will vote against Issue 2.