A compromise reached between Ohio agricultural groups and the Humane Society of the United States will head off a HSUS ballot initiative this fall. The HSUS is known for creating ballot initiatives to enact stricter animal-welfare standards.

Jack Fisher, executive vice president of the Ohio Farm Bureau, denies the compromise was in any way an admission by ag groups that they couldn’t defeat the HSUS this fall.

“Our coalition was big and growing and we were in a position to do the ballot initiative this fall, and from our perspective we thought we could win if it came to that,” Fisher told AgriTalk radio.

But, in the end, the compromise was all about managing resources, including dollars, people time and political goodwill, he said.

“We wanted to maintain agricultural unity,” he said.

In addition:

  • “We have a governance model in place (for animal-welfare issues) -- our Livestock Care Standards Board. We wanted to protect the integrity and authority of that governance model.”
  • “We wanted to maintain the best business climate we could for our Ohio farmers.”
  • “We wanted to maintain bi-partisan political support.”
  • “And, we didn’t lose sight of the fact we’re about a partnership between farmers and our consumers,” he said.

Finally, he said, a campaign this fall might have exposed consumers to a continuing barrage of animal-abuse video, as HSUS was making its case for stricter reforms.

To hear the AgriTalk interview with Fisher, click here.

According to Andy Vance of the Buckey Ag Network, Ohio farmers are split over whether an agreement with HSUS on a ballot initiative is a good compromise. Hear more from Vance.

HSUS did not get much of anything in the agreement with Ohio ag groups according to David Martosko of Humane Watch. Listen to more from Martosko.

And, for more details on the compromise itself, click here.

Source: AgriTalk radio