Monday, August 22, 2011

Call It the Anti-HSUS Amendment

Here’s a switch: The North Dakota Farm Bureau is pushing a state constitutional amendment that would ban laws restricting the use of modern agriculture practices, including gestation stalls and battery cages.

The amendment is a clear reaction to efforts by the Humane Society of the United States to enact laws banning specific industry practices. For example, two years ago California enacted Assembly Bill 1437, ending the sale of eggs from facilities using battery cages. A year earlier, HSUS was successful in passing California Proposition 2, which makes it a criminal offense to confine hens in cages, pigs in gestation stalls and calves in veal crates.

The North Dakota Farm Bureau’s amendment would add two sentences to the state constitution: “The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices.”

Said NDFB President Eric Aasmundstad, “We are looking to prevent damage from being done to the industry to prevent it from thriving … It’s that simple … There are groups that would have it otherwise.” NDFB has been cleared by the state to begin gathering the needed 27,000 signatures to put its amendment on the ballot in 2012.

NPPC agrees with the American Veterinary Medical Association on sow housing. The AVMA supports housing that minimizes aggression between sows, protects them from environmental extremes, reduces exposure to hazards, provides access to food and water and facilitates observation by caretakers. The AVMA notes that gestation stalls meet all these criteria.

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