The prior generation always advised, “Be careful what you ask for because you may just get it.” That sage advice could have a rather drastic outcome if the public referenda on livestock management and animal welfare continue to pass. The outcome may be voters rhetorically asking themselves, “What in Sam Hill have we done to ourselves?”

Food-production practices are gaining more interest from consumers. They want to meet the farmer who raised the head of cabbage they are going to buy at the Saturday farmers’ market. They want to know what medication was given to the cow that produced their milk. And, they want to know why the dairy calf in that picture from the fundraising group is all alone and looking so sad. As a result of the growing consumer interest in telling farmers and livestock producers how to conduct their business, there has been an increase in the number of referenda that have been proposed, voted upon, and passed which will impact livestock production in the U.S.

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