Published on: 10:37AM Dec 18, 2009
I don’t even remember a time when the farmers, ranchers, and the broad ag industry were threatened more than we are today.
We have a new and energized corps of critics out there that want to tell us how to do our job. The state and federal governments are being pushed to pass laws and regulations to deny us our property rights and ability to compete globally in food production.
Today, I want to concentrate on the challenge to animal agriculture.
Issue number one – horse slaughter. In the past three years we have stood and watched our market for unwanted horses stolen from us. Horses are personal property. Now we have to ship them to Mexico or Canada to get anything. The shipping cost eats up most of the value. There is a strong demand for horse meat in Europe and Asia but we aren’t allowed to process and ship there. Now we have unwanted horses roaming public land and even on the roads.
The Humane Society of the U.S. succeeded in passing Proposition 2 in California which will destroy the California egg industry. They already took gestation crates away from the few Florida pig farmers.
With the help of the new generation of people that are far removed from the farm, the animal rights crowd are aiming to not just reform how we care for our animals but to destroy animal agriculture. That is their ultimate goal.
The whole ag industry needs to form a united front to challenge our enemies and build support for our cause. We have an impressive case to make. Ag is one of the few industries in the country that every year runs a trade surplus. We deliver to our citizens the most reasonably priced food in the world. Millions of jobs are at stake. We don’t want to raise our pigs and chickens and cattle in some other country.
One encouraging development was the passage of a referendum creating a “Livestock Standards Board” in the state of Ohio. The Standards Board can set standards to prevent out-of-state activist groups from dictating how food is produced in Ohio. The Board members will include the State Director of Agriculture, family farmers, veterinarians, a representative from a local humane society, and consumers. We hope this successful effort may serve as a model for other states to follow.
Commercial agriculture production is under assault like I have never seen before. We need to come together and protect this great industry.
Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.