Back when my wife and I were dating, we would try to go to one new restaurant a month to expand our culinary horizons. Sometimes the new places were great. Sometimes they were not so great. Either way, it made for a fun date back in the days when we had time for such things.
But, after two children and seven years of marriage, those horizon-expanding trips to fine dining establishments have been exchanged for ordering pizza and trips to Bob Evans (for special occasions). Biscuits anyone?
Since we rarely get the chance to re-live our tradition of trying new restaurants these days, when we do, we want to make the most of it. When such an occasion presents itself we inevitably face a tough decision -- so many places to try and so little time.
Of course, every new restaurant makes its own pitch for being the best around and it can be challenging to make the right choice. For help in these crucial matters, we rely on the sound advice of trusted friends to make recommendations from the places they have been. We know who to listen to when it comes to places to eat and we heed their sound advice, since we have so little time to try new restaurants on our own.
With the election coming up, many voters will be similarly seeking the advice of those in the know on how to cast their ballots on the issues. There is so much rhetoric out there from every side of every issue that it can be difficult to sort through to find the facts that will guide your vote. With more information to sort through than ever before, it is often prudent to see how respected leaders and organizations are planning to vote. After all, these are the folks who have the time and resources to get the facts of the issue to form an opinion.
In the case of Issue 2, which puts in place the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, you have undoubtedly heard arguments from both sides. If passed, Issue 2 will establish a 13-member board of Ohioans to set standards for livestock and poultry care to enhance food safety, local availability and affordability of food, and farm management practices for animal well being. So, what are people in the know saying about how to vote on Issue 2?
A handful of groups oppose Issue 2. Most notable on this list is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HSUS opposes Issue 2 because the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board would stand directly in the way of efforts to get their own measures into the state constitution in 2010 to further their anti-meat agenda in Ohio. HSUS is also opposed to the production and consumption of any meat in the U.S., favoring vegan diets and equal treatment for humans and animals.
In sharp contrast, Issue 2 boasts the broad support of more than 1,000 Ohio endorsements from the Governor to the farmer down the road. More than 30 statewide organizations support Issue 2 including most agricultural groups, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Rural Electric Cooperatives, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, and the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association. Nationally, the American Humane Association (the group that helps cats and dogs) endorses Issue 2. Nearly every state legislator, Republicans and Democrats, also supports Issue 2 along with an extensive list of local leaders from around the state.
The important vote on Issue 2 will shape the future of agriculture and consumer choice in Ohio. If it fails, we leave the door open to let out-of-state activist groups like HSUS tell us how to eat and run our businesses. If Issue 2 passes, a board of appointed Ohioans subject to the state legislature will determine the standards for animal care in the context of their impact on animal health, farm biosecurity, disease prevention, food safety and food production.
But don’t just listen to me. Anyone who likes to try new restaurants knows that decisions about our food should not be taken lightly. Take some time to research this important issue and consult the leaders in your community that understand the ramifications of Issue 2 on Ohio’s future. Ask them while passing on the street, after a meeting, or at the local Bob Evans. Enjoy a delicious biscuit and vote “yes” on Issue 2.
To see the list of endorsements for Issue 2, visit, www.safelocalohiofood.org.
Matt Reese writes for Ohio’s Country Journal and lives in Baltimore, Ohio. For questions or comments, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.