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Ohio Proposes New Animal Welfare Standards

Ohio Proposes New Animal Welfare Standards

The Humane Society of the United States is trying to get Ohio residents on board with a ballot measure to increase regulation of the way livestock are treated on farms. HSUS is working with local groups to gather signatures to get the issue on the November ballot.

There is a lot of tension in Ohio between groups like the HSUS and governing bodies like the Ohio Farm Bureau who think the HSUS is doing more meddling than working for change.

The ballot measure — should it pass — would prohibit actions such as confining animals like laying hens, veal calves and breeding sows to crates so small they cannot move. It would also prohibit the dragging of injured or dying animals to killing floors to be slaughtered, and would institute standards for humane methods of euthanasia for animals.

As a Vegan, people often expect me to be gung-ho for measures like the ones being pushed by the HSUS. But while I of course support any measure that alleviates suffering from an animal, I also cannot begin to think any methods of confining and killing animals to be acceptable, and others as not. Throwing my full support behind a measure like this one sends the message that I think killing animals under some circumstances is acceptable, and I simply do not.

But the bigger issue here is an economic one. Farmers don’t confine animals to the tiniest quarters possible because they are malevolent; they do it to save money. The truth is that raising animals is expensive, and factory-like conditions for the animals is one of a very few things that makes the endeavor financially viable for farmers. If all farmers were compelled to provide animals with living conditions that would be seen as “acceptable” by most Americans, their costs would skyrocket. But before you think I’m defending cattle farmers, let me say that I think that it’s a good thing if their prices skyrocket.

We live in a capitalist country, so people are always going to be moved more quickly by their wallets than by their consciences. The farming of animals has been propped up financially for years by factory-farming conditions which save costs while putting animals through cruel treatment, not to mention subsidies granted by the US Department of Agriculture, which keep consumers from having to feel the real cost of the meat they buy.

While I may not agree with the message the Humane Society is conveying — that some ways of farming animals are okay — I do think that any measure that forces farmers and consumers to consider the enormous cost of animal agriculture is a step in the right direction. If the environmental cost and the personal cost of animal agriculture aren’t motivation enough, perhaps some market pressures can finally work in our favor.

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206 comments

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1:09PM PDT on Aug 1, 2010

This was a thought provoking article. Thanks.

11:35PM PDT on Jul 9, 2010

Thanks. Great article.

9:51AM PDT on Jun 30, 2010

Great post, I think it´s never acceptable to abuse and kill animals, under any circumstances, but, let´s face it: unfortunately killing animals for food won´t be going away anytime soon, so we definately should at least try to alleviate the suffering.
And just to make it clear, I´m a vegan and do not condone killing animals for food and if I had it my way it would stop now, but I´m also all for reducing the abuse and suffering that DOES go on every day in factory farms. Little progress is better than no progress at all...

6:55AM PDT on Jun 25, 2010

TY Moertl M., interjecting common sense comment of truth, remove the labels, truth is truth. In a world of free will, sadly often abused, but even if not diversity in opinion will exist. I am personally opposed to consuming "menu animals", though I am realistic in knowing others have np with it, the issue is one of inhumane and yes, inexusibale cruel treatment in the name of financial gain, having no regard for those who feel everything that one of human species does.

12:10AM PDT on Jun 25, 2010

I am no vegan and have no intention of ever wanting to be one!
I support HSUS wholeheartedly, although I do not know what the abbreviation stands for.
Reading through the article I get a good idea though!
I just wish these articles would not be written by vegans!
It is meateaters too, that support more humane ways of handling livestock!

9:35PM PDT on Jun 24, 2010

Thank you for opening peoples eyes about factory farms and the intentions of the HSUS. As a vegetarian I agree with you, I do not believe that there is any humane way of killing animals. I believe that animals were put on this world to help the environment and to enjoy their own lives freely, NOT to be eaten by us humans!!

11:57PM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

thanks for the post

9:21PM PDT on Jun 23, 2010

It's about time. Apparently Ohio has had a really bad record when it comes to abuse of animals--look at the expose of the Conklin Dairy Farm. Yes, laws are needed but laws without loopholes, laws that carry punishment for breaking them, and police/agencies that will actually enforce the laws. So often laws fail because they lack the full components needed.

5:21AM PDT on Jun 20, 2010

In NO way can factory farming methods be defended or farmers excused for their part in this wide spread abusive system, no matter how they try and justify their actions. Tension exists only because farmers have been caught out practicing disgusting and cruel farming methods and they are under scrutiny. Perhaps if this industry cannot survive in it's present form without subsidy from councils, governments or governing bodies, then it deserves to fail, to be replaced by something better and much more humane. Menu animals are a fact of life, but cruelty doesn't have to be. We can choose to rise above such baseness.

7:00AM PDT on Jun 19, 2010

To Mac McDaniel
Vegan yes or no, it is our moral duty to help aleviate the life of animals in all conditions. There should not even be the least hesitation like I can read in your text. The smallest amelioration should get our support. Money is no excuse. People could spend more on food and less for amusement.
The farmers are not malevolent ? They know that their animals suffer....!!!!

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