HSUS and farmers discuss ballot initiatives
Michigan agribusiness leaders are discussing compromises to pending state legislation dealing with standards for farm animals in an effort to avoid a ballot initiative from animal-rights advocates.
Michigan swine and poultry industry leaders met with the Humane Society of the United States Thursday to discuss changes to Michigan House bills 5127 and 5128, which were introduced to the house last month.
The two bills, which would codify current farm animal industry standards, are being opposed by the animal-activist group because they fail to address animal-confinement issues.
The ballot initiative being pursued by the Humane Society of the United states would be identical to one passed in California last year, providing caged animals with more space to stand up, lie down, turn around freely and fully extend their limbs.
Farmers and agribusiness leaders say that such provisions would drive up production costs and result in a loss of business for Michigan producers.
``Our industry is such that it is very capital-intensive and any drastic change may not seem like much to the public or to the Humane Society,'' said Tim Vande Bunte, president of Martin-based Konos Inc., the third largest egg producer in the state.
Vande Bunte said Thursday's meeting continued a dialogue between a handful of agribusiness leaders and their representatives and Peter Ruddell, a lobbyist for the Humane Society of the United States.
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