Please visit http://www.yesonproposition204.com/index.shtml to learn about Prop 204, make sure to check out the photos at http://www.yesonproposition204.com/gallery.shtml and please respond to the Tuscon Citizen opinion piece below.
The page http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/lettertoeditor.php?id=28545 takes letters to the editor particularly on that issue.
Please also send a letter to your local paper. If you have any difficulty finding the correct address for a letter to the editor, don't hesitate to ask me for help. And I am always happy to edit letters.
Yours and the animals',
Here is the Tuscon Citizen piece:
Guest Opinion Jim Klinker
Prop. 204 is extreme yet simple hogwash
Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines hogwash as swill, slop, nonsense and balderdash.
Arizonans will recognize it as the new term of art on Arizona's political landscape.
It can be seen along the state's roadways and heard on local airwaves. And voters can expect to see and hear a lot of it through Election Day.
That's because "hogwash" best describes Proposition 204, an initiative pushed by out-of-state animal rights activists to ban common practices used by livestock producers to house breeding pigs and veal calves (though no veal production is in Arizona).
Proposition 204 would subject farmers to as much as $20,000 in fines and six months in jail.
The primary funders of the initiative, who operate in Washington, D.C., New York and California, take issue with the way Arizona farmers care for their breeding sows, whose offspring are used to produce fresh pork products for your family.
The large pork producer in Arizona I have visited, being targeted by the animal rights radicals, keeps its breeding pigs in specially designed barns that protect the animals from illness, injuries and extreme weather while allowing fresh air and sunlight in.
These sows receive nutritious diets of corn, soybeans and vitamins, have free access to fresh water and are cared for under close veterinary supervision.
The animals are kept safe from predators and protected from the aggression that often exists among sows housed in group pens.
They also are spared the competition for food that occurs when animals are kept in groups.
Housed in individual stalls, sows are able to move forward and back, lie on their sides and fully extend their limbs.
These sows are tended to daily by highly trained farm employees certified in science-based programs designed to ensure animals are treated well and kept comfortable.
Employees are able to effectively monitor the animals' condition and ensure they get enough to eat and receive prompt medical attention when needed.
Ultimately, animals that are treated humanely are productive animals, which benefits the farmers who raise them and consumers who demand safe, wholesome and affordable pork.
The way this Arizona farm and its employees care for their breeding pigs is supported by university studies, distinguished veterinary organizations and swine experts.
That Arizona farmers and ranchers take great care of their livestock should be a comfort to the activists who claim to speak for the animals. But it's not.
To the out-of-state activists, raising animals in any environment for production of food is inhumane, and nothing will change their minds.
Their mission is to go state by state, armed with ballot measures, legislation and litigation to ban common farming practices, end meat production and, ultimately, force their vegan agenda down the throats of American consumers.
The activists may choose not to consume meat, cheese, eggs and milk, among other animal products. But Arizona consumers should be free to make their own choices.
We're in the midst of an election season, and some of the most militant of the animal rights crowd have brought their agenda to Arizona.
Beware. By targeting one farmer, they disparage all honest, hardworking farmers and ranchers who are dedicated to treating their animals humanely and compassionately.
They'll try to stir fear in the hearts and minds of voters and, between now and Election Day, the truth be damned.
Arizona voters can expect to hear a lot from the initiative's backers, who have gained moral support from the ultra-radical PETA.
But voters should remember that what the activists are really offering is simply hogwash.
About the author
Jim Klinker is executive secretary of the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation and chairman of the Campaign for Arizona Farmers & Ranchers.
(END OF TUSCON CITIZEN OP-ED BY KLINKER)
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Date: Tue Oct 10 14:03:45 2006