Remember Proposition 2 in California, where voters approved a new law that improved the standards under which farm animals are confined? Similar scenarios have popped up in Michigan, Arizona, Florida, Maine, Colorado and Oregon, but Ohio had other plans. Instead of ensuring that their collective voices will be heard on issues pertaining to the treatment of livestock, this week voters in Ohio opted for a constitutional measure that will place the decision making power with a 13-member board instead. The board, according to Alan Johnson of The Columbus Dispatch, “would have far-reaching powers to set standards for livestock and poultry care, food safety, supply and availability, disease prevention, farm management and animal well-being. It would have minimal legislative oversight.”
Critics question what place the board has in the Ohio Constitution, along with only two other boards: the Board of Education and the Board of Workers Compensation. They also point to the hastiness of the issue’s navigation through the legislature — immediately following the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) announcement to move forward in the state with a ballot initiative to set minimum space allotments for confined animals.