Ohioans will vote Tuesday on a measure to amend the state constitution and create a board of political appointees that will set standards for the treatment of farm animals. The problem, as this Mother Jones article spells out, is that any such board would be outside the normal rule-making process, immune from public comment, and is bound to be dominated by big agriculture interests, who have been the prime movers in getting this measure on the ballot.
The opposition–a loose coalition of small farmers, animal welfare groups, and even some small-government conservatives–argues that the measure would create a permanent place for special interests in the state constitution. Moreover, any measures to improve the conditions of farmed animals (like last year’s Proposition 2 in California) would have to amend the state constitution. Here’s a summary of their arguments. It’s very difficult to see this measure as anything but an attempt by a powerful and influential industry to insulate itself from pressure for reform.