The Animal Agriculture Alliance says the agriculture industry must learn from the disappointing outcome in Ohio where agriculture groups came to an agreement with the Humane Society of the United States. If the Ohio ag industry meets certain HSUS-backed guidelines - then the HSUS will not pursue a ballot initiative in Ohio this fall. Those guidelines include a ban on new gestation stalls; a ban on transportation of non-ambulatory cows for slaughter; and a moratorium on conventional cage housing for poultry.
The Alliance says Ohio's agricultural leadership has succumbed to pressures from HSUS - and the only group to benefit from this agreement is HSUS. They say farmers and ranchers should consider this a final wake-up call. They note HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle has made it clear that the agreement is not legally binding, leaving the future uncertain. Though the fight over the ballot initiative would have been costly, AAA says it would have sent a strong message to HSUS that the ag community is united and committed to protecting the rights of farmers and ranchers to produce a plentiful, affordable and nutritious food supply while using science-based standards to ensure animal well-being.
Instead the Alliance says Ohio consumers will face increased prices for local produce. They say the state's family farms will be hurt the most if they don't have the capital to invest in the conversion to alternative production systems. No one understands animal care better than farmers and ranchers the Alliance says which is why the majority of producers follow nationally-recognized animal welfare guidelines. According to AAA, the ag industry has evolved over the past 100 years to improve animal welfare and meet increased food demand. The alliance believes reverting to 1950s style practices wouldn't be beneficial to the animals or the consumers.