Adams: Let’s move to the state of Ohio. There they are proposing coming up with a livestock care standards board that would be comprised of experts in livestock and poultry care, including family farmers, veterinarians, one of whom would probably be the state veterinarian, a food safety expert, a representative of a local humane society, two members from statewide farm organizations, the dean of an Ohio agriculture college and members representing Ohio consumers. That is what being proposed. You have come out criticizing that particular idea. Why would you be against that?
Pacelle: Because one has to understand the genesis of the idea in order to see it in its proper context. I went to Columbus, Ohio and sat down with the leaders of almost all the major animal agriculture commodity groups including the Farm Bureau. The pork producers, cattlemen’s association, poultry folks were there. We had most of the major players at the table and said we would like to engage in a discussion about how we address these issues. We said obviously you know about Prop 2 and it would be our interest in achieving the same set of reforms that California voters approved and some of the same reforms that Arizona and Florida voters approved but we’re willing to talk to you before we go down that road.
We were kindly treated at the meeting where we talked and the folks listened and we were told that they were going to get back to us but we didn’t hear anything back from them. It was all monologue on our side. They proceeded to essentially develop a campaign and to push this constitutional amendment to amend Ohio’s constitution to create an all powerful body to set standards. So to have 12 or 13 people set the rules for the millions of people in Ohio who are food consumers. We don’t think that is the way to go. We could have sat down and negotiated that. We could have had some other terms and could have been more balanced but as it’s currently constructed it’s clearly designed to thwart the ballot initiative.
Adams: But it has to go to the voters. They would have to approve it. Isn’t that the same as you would have to do with a ballot initiative like you did in California?
Pacelle: Well yes that’s true, but again it’s designed to prevent this initiative from taking effect. It’s clearly a blocking maneuver. I really don’t think that it changes the equation at all. You have the same people kind of making decisions now in the realm of agriculture with no checks on intensive confinement and no reasonable humane transport or slaughter standards. You essentially have the same people controlling it. You could have minority representation of a local humane society which truly may have no familiarity with agriculture. Say what you want about HSUS but we have professional animal scientists, we have a good amount of experience with the agriculture issues. We have two departments devoted to that issue.