Voters reject Proposition 37 and Measure 5

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Voters in California and North Dakota rejected two ballot initiatives that were opposed by agriculture groups.

Californians rejected Proposition 37, that would have mandated genetically modified foods (GM) to be labeled as such, and North Dakota voters rejected Measure 5, the proposal that that would have created a felony penalty for malicious cruelty to a dog, cat or horse.

Proposition 37 was defeated 53 percent to 47 percent, and Measure 5 was defeated 67 percent to 33 percent.

Opposition to Prop 37 came from a host of companies and individuals – many from outside the state – who injected $46 million into defeating the initiative. Those supporting the measure raised $9.2 million.

Supporters of Prop 37 relied on social media and a strong grass-roots campaign in an effort to sway voters to adopt the nation’s first GMO food labeling law. The state-wide battle was a  high-profile fight because it pitted businesses against businesses. Big natural-food companies, celebrity chefs and several organic farmers supported Prop 37, while a variety of traditional farmers and chemical, seed and processed-food firms opposed the measure.

Proposition 37 gained significant exposure outside California, with many new-age food writers and celebrities supporting the measure. People such as The New York Times’ Mark Bittman urged Californians to vote for Prop 37, saying, “even if there were a way to guarantee that food produced with GMO ingredients is not directly bad for you, it remains clear that such food is in general bad for all of us, based on the collateral damage from producing it.”

But such arguments lost steam when local California writers such as The Los Angeles Times Alexandra Le Tellier questioned the science behind some anti-GMO research. “Is it (research) credible?” she asked. “Or is it science for the sake of fulfilling an agenda?” After noting that much of the criticism of GMO foods centered around pesticides, Le Tellier asked, “If the problem is the pesticides, then why isn’t the Proposition 37 labeling initiative about that?”

Supporters of the measure argued that consumers have a right to know what's in their food and that information should be made available on labels. About 60 countries around the world already require such labels, proponents stressed.

Opponents countered that labeling foods would cost families hundreds of dollars a year in higher grocery bills. They also accused the initiative of sowing fear that genetically engineered foods are unsafe.

In North Dakota, veterinarians, animal shelters and others who care for and about animals had found them-selves on opposing sides over Measure 5, which would not have applied to production agriculture or to lawful activities of hunters, trappers, licensed veterinarians or scientific researchers, or to people acting in defense of life or property.

North Dakota and South Dakota are the only states without a felony animal abuse penalty.

“We’re pleased that the North Dakota voters took a closer look at this, and we want to continue now to further the work on animal protection and do it the right way,” Jason Schmidt, a rancher in Kidder County and chairman of North Dakota Animal Stewards, which op-posed Measure 5, told Forum Communications.

Both sides spent heavily to sway voters on Measure 5, with campaign finance reports filed with the North Dakota secretary of state’s office totaling well more than $1 million by last week.

Much of the funding for the measure came from the Humane Society of the United States, which opponents sought to discredit as a radical organization.

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Race Falcon    
Midwest  |  November, 07, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Shameful indeed that people are ignorant to their consumption of GMO poison, shameful indeed.

Ohio  |  November, 07, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Facts to back up your "poison" claim, doubt if you have them

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  November, 07, 2012 at 12:22 PM

What is really shamefull is the ignorant is so ignorant of their ignorance, which race falcon so aptly shows. A genetically modified organism is one that has had its genes modified to produce a different strain from the original. This can be done in OR out of a lab. Maybe race can tell me how many white chickens and white turkeys are out there in the wild running around. Just because it wasn't done in a lab at the cell level doesn't mean it wasn't a genetic modification. How would Prop 37 handled this type of modification?

November, 08, 2012 at 08:39 AM

What would the venn diagram look like between supporters of GMO labeling in food, and supporters of stem cell research or DNA modification research or global warming or evolution? I bet there would be a HUGE overlapping cross-section. Point being that somehow society seems to trust science in virtually every facet of life except for agriculture/food production.

Iowa  |  November, 08, 2012 at 08:42 AM

Sanity still reigns over junk science. If CA had passed 37 I'd suggest we let them starve.

kansas  |  November, 08, 2012 at 08:58 AM

What is Really Sad about P37 is that it Did Not Pass. I would love to see the price of food, in California, rise by the 15-20% or more it would cost to meet their requirements. And, because of the huge expense of implementing compliance, to see many producer/distributors simple stop selling products to California retailers. Sometimes, the very best thing that can happen (a lesson) is for uninformed and willfully ignorant folks to get what they ask for. The ensuing financial suffering and outrage would have exposed the entire range Organic & Anti-Ag Eco freak movement for what it truely is, and what that means. And this would have been accomplished in a single, unimportant (to me) state. With the Proposal's failure, radical advocates escape responsibility for the inevitable results and can return to screeching their lies about modern agriculture and claim to be victims of shadowy conspiracies by food producers Trying To Kill Them with GMOs, "chemicals" and such. Too bad for us.

Chicago  |  November, 08, 2012 at 09:15 AM

Ignorance is bliss for those uniformed as to GMO products and there effects. GMO’s have never harmed anyone.

CA  |  November, 08, 2012 at 08:45 PM

Michael, since you are so anxious for CAs to pay higher food prices why don't you put YOUR money where YOUR mouth is? I happen to live in CA and DO NOT like what is going on in this state. Just because there are more STUPID CA voters who voted the dems into office doesn't mean that all of us did. There are plenty of right thinking voters here and WE hate what happened Tuesday - both in CA and in WA. Most of us went to bed depressed at the election results and woke up Wednesday equally depressed. And it's not so easy to leave CA when your husband has a job that is totally within the state. Please before you shoot off your mouth know the facts. When the price of food is raised by 15-20% then maybe more of us will have to rely on government handouts just to keep a roof over our heads and food in our stomachs. I've got news for you. YOU will be paying for it.

NC  |  November, 09, 2012 at 04:07 AM

Ellen good choice of words. People should not group idiots with hard working people. There is alot of laws that were passed in some states,that shocked some American people. Glad this failed, hats off to the common sense voters in CA.

Mo  |  November, 09, 2012 at 08:11 AM

The Ingorant will always be afraid of change. Unless, there voting for libs & OB that promise them nirvana.

Mo  |  November, 09, 2012 at 08:14 AM

It suprised me that there's any sanity left in Cal.

Mo  |  November, 09, 2012 at 08:14 AM

It suprised me that there's any sanity left in Cal.

kansas  |  November, 09, 2012 at 09:31 AM

Ellen - I'm sorry for your situation, but I'm not to blame for it and I'm already tired of putting My Money where California's Mouth is. Your Multi-Millionaire Senator's Feinstein & Pelosi have already cost Me a lot and the impending bankruptcy of California under Gov. Moonbeam and your Democratic Legislature is sure to be "covered" by his pals in D.C. at my expense. I do realize that there are many reasonable people in CA, including members of my own family, who feel powerless in the face of Teachers & Other Public Employee Unions standing with Radical Envronmentalists and Animal Rightists. Don't shoot the messenger, because I do sympathize with your sense of being trapped, though a majority of my family (descendants of dust-bowl migrants) have already reverse-migrated back to KS, OK and TX. Problem is, if these radicals continue to promote their insane agenda without the results being exposed somewhere, they will eventually succeed nation-wide in a way that cannot be reversed. This little defeat will not discourage them in any way, and no one will be the wiser. I hope you can soon find a way to escape your Bondage in Cali and, like so many others have, find some freedom from the oppression of unions & radicals in another location. Good Luck and Best Wishes.

Ohio  |  November, 09, 2012 at 07:22 PM

People continue to get sicker, spend more on "Big Pharma" and wonder why they are depressed. Hmm I wonder if the food we are eating is eating us. Hmm maybe the issue should be how much is it really costing us. We who question the GMO issue are told to stay quiet and have it shoved down our throat (pun intended) by business. we are seeing the fruits of it all over the world-death, sickness, depression, infertility, etc. Instead of being willing to pay more for it I will just not buy it. The real cost of good health is surprising- being responsible for your body. Just shoving crap into your body you end up looking like .... Let's be better stewards of what we put in our body.

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