Issue 2 sounds innocuous enough: It would amend Ohio's constitution to create a statewide board to develop standards for livestock care and safety.

But opponents see something more nefarious: an attempt to stop animal rights groups from getting their own statewide ballot initiative that would be far more protective of animals.

The question of how to care for cows and chickens is not something Ohioans usually vote on. But it's part of a national fight over animal rights.

In California, voters last year approved a proposition supported by the Humane Society allowing criminal charges against farmers for confining certain animals in a way that prevents them from turning around, standing up or lying down. Similar measures were approved by voters in Arizona and Florida.

The issue - placed on the Nov. 3 ballot by a joint resolution of the state legislature - may keep groups such as the Humane Society of the United States from proposing a ballot issue that would increase regulation over the livestock industry, according to legislators.

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