OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma farmers and ranchers from across the state reiterated their support for State Question 777 (SQ 777), the Right To Farm Amendment and challenge claims from the Oklahoma Stewardship Council—an animal rights front group backed by The Humane Society Of The United States (HSUS).
S.Q. 777, a constitutional amendment, will be on the ballot in November 2016.
Advocates said in a press release Tuesday (November 17) the Right to Farm measure will protect Oklahoma jobs and defend “the hardworking farm and ranch families that drive our rural economy from out-of-state animal-rights groups that have targeted agriculture nationwide. It also protects small and organic farmers and ensures Oklahoma families are able to afford the food they need.”
“Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers are the original environmental stewards,” said Roy Lee Lindsey, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Pork Council. “We care about our land and water and S.Q. 777 protects those resources for future generations.
HSUS is leading and financing the Oklahoma Stewardship Council, an anti-agriculture coalition, in an effort to derail Oklahoma's Right to Farm Amendment, SQ 777.
“The Oklahoma Stewardship Council’s deceptive statement and press conference this week is simply Wayne Pacelle’s way of making good on his threat to double down on Oklahoma when our legislature passed Right To Farm with an overwhelming, bi-partisan majority.”
Wayne Pacelle is the head of HSUS, an international animal rights group pushing through the ballot box what right-to-farm advocates describe as an animal-rights agenda. “HSUS has opposed farming and hunting rights across the country, financing ballot campaigns against dove hunting in Michigan, against egg farmers in California, against farmers and ranchers in North Dakota, and by pushing federal legislation against farmers, ranchers, and hunters,” the right-to-farm release said.
“S.Q. 777 is not only an agriculture choice it is a consumer choice,” said Tom Buchanan, President of Oklahoma Farm Bureau. “Outside groups want to take food off of your plates and clothes out of your closets. Oklahoma agriculture is the lifeblood of the economy of Oklahoma that needs to be protected from outside groups and outside interests.”
“SQ 777 was written to protect Oklahoma’s citizens and family farmers from outside activists like HSUS,” said Joe Neal Hampton, President of Oklahoma Grain and Feed Association. “Contrary to the claim of the Oklahoma Stewardship Council, SQ 777 will not guarantee foreign corporations any new rights.”
The chair of the Oklahoma Stewardship Council is Drew Edmondson who has represented HSUS in its dispute with Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Pruitt had launched an inquiry into possibly deceptive fundraising practices by HSUS.
“Oklahoma agriculture values of stewardship, responsibility and integrity are not held by the Washington D.C.-based HSUS group that is dead-set on deceiving Oklahoma voters,” said Michael Kelsey, Executive Vice President of Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association. “Right to Farm provides for freedom in food choice and security so that Oklahoma families can make their own food buying decisions rather than the government or animal rights groups dictating how their food will be produced.”
“S.Q. 777 will protect our ability to use science based production methods to humanely produce food and fiber,” said Terry Detrick, President of the American Farmers & Ranchers/Oklahoma Farmers Union. “We are in a daily struggle with adverse weather conditions, burdensome regulations and contrary markets.
S.Q. 777 will lend stability to our industry by encouraging younger generations to be involved in agriculture without worrying about outside influences with an anti-agriculture agenda.”
State Question 777 is supported by all of Oklahoma’s leading agriculture groups including; Oklahoma Farm Bureau, American Farmers and Ranchers, Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, Oklahoma Pork Council, Oklahoma Agricultural Cooperative Council, The Poultry Federation, Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association, Oklahoma Grain & Feed Association, Oklahoma Sorghum Association, Oklahoma Cotton Council and family farmers across the state.