Today’s Election Day!

Actually, I should make that “Vote AND Die” — since we’re all gonna die eventually anyway and you might as well vote while you’re still alive.

Here’s how I’m voting:

No on Issue 1

No on Issue 2 — see attached letter below

Yes on Issue 3 — “would permit gambling casinos in the state’s four biggest cities –Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo — with their gross revenues taxed at a rate of 33 percent” — I hear rumors that the TV ads telling us to vote no were largely funded by casino owners in other states like West Virginia — but that’s not the only reason I’m voting yes.

Yes to the Elyria School District renewal

Yes to Sunday sales

Jay Grunda for Elyria Municipal Court Judge

Any others I’m not sure on — I’ll play the odds and vote Democrat.

Back to Issue 2 – here’s a letter that was forwarded to me via e-mail:

 

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                                                                                                October 23, 2009

 

Dear Friends of Marshy Meadows Farm,

 

We here at Marshy Meadows Farm are committed to developing and being part of a local, sustainable food system that provides quality food, using ethical and environmentally sound practices. We ask you to Vote No on Issue 2 on November 3. The following is a letter from our writer-in-residence, Dan, which has been sent to many local newspapers.

 

 

Issue 2 is not about animal welfare. It is not about protecting farms or food safety or local food or keeping consumer food costs down. It is a corporate Trojan Horse meant to neutralize the Ohio Legislature, solidify corporate control of agriculture and protect corporate profits. I have been surprised by the number of well-meaning and usually well informed people who have been taken in by this agribusiness gambit. They have been made to fear the influence of such “deep-pocketed” entities as the Humane Society United States, as if the relatively meager resources of animal rights groups could possibly approach the amount spent on lobbyists, campaign contributions and advocacy advertising expended by corporations such as Tyson Foods, Con Agra, ADM and Cargill.

 

According to the Ohio Ecological Food and Farming Association and Ohio Farmers Union—groups that actually represent the interests of small,family-owned farms—Issue 2 would create a 13 member Livestock Care Standards Board that could be stacked with Big Ag supporters by those with the most money to influence its makeup, the very corporate interests who have shaped and pushed this Amendment to the Constitution of the State of Ohio. The regulations produced by this Board would have the force of law, without public or legislative input or recourse short of another constitutional amendment. The Board would rule Ohio agriculture by fiat, its power unimpeded by public protest, legislative action,or Ohio Department of Agriculture dissent.

 

Issue 2 proponents have argued that the ballot measure would “keep control right here in Ohio,”implying that radical entities outside our state want shape our laws. But the care given to livestock in Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO’s) is already of concern to Ohio farmers and consumers. At these “farms,” 5,000 hogs or 3,000 cattle or 500,000chickens are crowded together in conditions so prone to disease that they are given prophylactic antibiotics in their feed. (Which scientists believe has led to antibiotic resistant populations of bacteria that threaten human health)These operations rarely have enough land to properly use the thousands of tons of manure produced, and are often a source of surface and ground water pollution. Carcass disposal on such huge farms is also problematic, and also a potential human health threat. These are among the hidden costs of “affordable food” produced by these supposedly more efficient mega-farms.

 

The livestock care practices recently outlawed in California (swine gestation crates, veal calf crates, and egg laying battery cages) make countless Ohio citizens uneasy and are abhorred by many. Market forces are shifting, and evermore consumers want meat, eggs and milk from animals they know are treated humanely. The phenomenal increase in the sales of organic livestock products is due in part to the livestock care rules written into the organic standards.

 

At Marshy Meadows Farm, we take pride in the care we provideour beef animals. They are out on pasture during the warm months, and even during the winter have access to the outdoors. They respond to this care with excellent health. However, there is no doubt that our small operation (about100 head) has a higher cost of production than a beef feed lot. We charge a higher price than a discount store that sells meats from CAFO’s. This Board would have the power to drop any remaining barriers to CAFO’s in Ohio, cementing their unhealthy competitive advantages over real family farms and effectively regulating prices, driving small farmers out of the market.

 

Small farmers and consumers in Ohio do not need the specious protection ofa Livestock Care Standards Board given unchecked power by constitutional mandate. Neither should we fear “shadowy” radical influences from outside the state. The collective wisdom of our citizens, the moderating power of ourelected representatives and the democratic process that has served the state since 1803 are sufficient. The power to speak to issues such as farm animal care should not be stripped from the elected representatives of the state and handed over to a small body easily shaped by greedy corporate interests.

 

Help support Ohio’s small farmers. Vote No on Issue 2.

 

Marge and Mardy Townsend and Daniel Bell

Marshy Meadows Farm

7490 Noble Road

Windsor, Ohio  44099

440.272.5174

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