Thursday, October 29, 2009

MORE OPPOSITION TO ISSUE 2

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 4:30 PM

The Ohio Environmental Council is urging a no vote on Issue 2:

The OEC, an environmental conservation organization, is engaging on Issue 2 because of the threat to air and water quality that come from common industrial agriculture practices that pack livestock and poultry into confined spaces. These high-density practices are sometimes associated with: unhealthy air vented from crowded animal feeding facilities; water pollution from massive amounts of animal waste, which sometimes is over-applied to farm fields; and the misuse of antibiotics and other pharmaceutical drugs, which routinely are added to animal feed even though the animals are not ill.

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… The wording of Issue 2 can potentially block new air, water, and food standards in the name of “affordable food supplies.” More rigorous environmental protections, such as increased distance set-backs between animal waste lagoons and stream and ground water sources, keeping pharmaceuticals out of waste water, air pollution controls to collect dust and particulate matter, come with a price tag. That could be enough reason for the politically-appointed livestock board established by Issue 2 to block such standards in the name of “affordability.”

… Issue 2’s vague language can lead to the adoption of food labels that restrict consumers from learning about the presence and possible human health affects of antibiotics and synthetic hormones in food products. Last year, the Ohio Department of Agriculture sided with Monsanto Corp. and other industry groups to thwart an effort by local dairy producers and processors to simply label as “RBST-free” any milk or dairy products produced or sold in Ohio without this synthetic hormone.

… Livestock confinement standards could be established by a law adopted by the legislature, just as the state of Michigan did earlier this month. This would allow a full public process and could provide for environmental issues to be part of the discussion.

… An estimated 70 percent of all U.S antibiotics and related drugs are used in animal agriculture even though the animals are not ill. When bacteria are exposed to antibiotics, the bacteria resistant to these drugs live to reproduce. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has declared antibiotic resistance to be one of its top concerns.

And let's not overlook who's really behind all this, ’cause it ain't Ol' Farmer Brown: "Campaign finance reports filed last week with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office reveal that more than $1.2 million of the $4 million in campaign cash raised by the pro-Issue 2 campaign has come from out-of-state pharmaceutical and animal agriculture groups, including Ely Lily Corp., the Arizona Pork Council, the Texas Turkey Federation, and the Hawaii Cattlemen's Council." — Frank Lewis

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