“Right to Farm” Issue Heats Up

Babara Hoberock reported on Sunday at the Tulsa World Online that, “The fight over a state [Oklahoma] question to enshrine the rights of farmers and ranchers in the state constitution is heating up.

“State Question 777 is called ‘Right to Farm’ by supporters and ‘Right to Harm’ by critics. Lawmakers put it on the ballot, where it will appear Nov. 8.”

The article noted that, “If passed, the measure ‘would provide the most far reaching constitutional protections for agricultural operations of any state,’ according to the legal analysis prepared by the Indian and Environmental Law Group, in Ada.”

Ms. Hoberock also indicated that, “Also supporting the measure are the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association and Oklahoma Pork Council.

“Michael Kelsey, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association, said the measure is needed to prevent out-of-state special-interest groups from dictating animal welfare practices. Many have cited the efforts of the Humane Society of the United States, which opposes the measure.

“Supporters of the measure say other states have passed laws dictating cage sizes for animals, such as sows and chickens, which caused prices to increase.”

The article added that, “Kelsey and [Roy Lee Lindsey, Oklahoma Pork Council executive director] framed the issue as one of consumer choice. Consumers should be the ones who decide whether they will pay more for cage-free eggs, Lindsey said.”

Recall that “right to farm” issues have also surfaced in Nebraska, Missouri and North Dakota.

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