Several Arizona farm and ranch organizations have formed a coalition to defeat an out-of-state animal activists-supported initiative headed for the Arizona General Election ballot on Nov. 7. If passed by voters, Arizona hog and veal producers would be required by law to increase stall sizes for hogs and veal calves. Currently no veal industry exist in the state.

Under the initiative called Proposition (Prop) 204, hog and veal producers who fail to make the changes could face up to six months in prison and a $20,000 fine if the proposal passes. Prop 204 was launched by the out-of-state groups Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States.

“Just plain and simple - the proposal is hogwash,” said Jim Klinker, chair of the agriculture-based Coalition for Arizona Farmers and Ranchers (CAFR) that developed the simplistic ‘hogwash’ message. The coalition consists of the Arizona Pork Council, Arizona Cattlemen’s Association, United Dairymen of Arizona and the Arizona Farm Bureau. Klinker is Farm Bureau’s executive secretary.

Klinker said the issue is not about stall size. Arizona hogs are raised humanely in a safe, clean environment and are fed a nutritious diet of corn, soybeans and supplements. The real issue is about out-of-state animal activists trying to force their anti-meat, pro-vegetarian and pro-vegan lifestyle on every Arizonan, he noted. The activists’ goal is to knock off the small hog-producing states like Arizona and Florida and work to derail hog and veal production in larger livestock production states, said Klinker.

“You can bet your bottom dollar they’re headed for other states,” said Arizona Pork Council Executive Director Tom Miller. The animal activists want the scalps of Florida and Arizona on their belt, he noted. “Once they get four or five scalps on the belt, the activists are headed to the Midwest.” He said the groups profess to support small family farms and oppose larger operations.

e-mail: cblake@farmpress.com