Vote NO on Question 3!

 

BAD FOR MAINE ANIMALS, ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC SAFETY

Due to the passage of L.D. 95 by the Maine legislature, this November, Mainers will vote on Question 3 to amend the state constitution to include a “right to food.”   On the surface, the ballot question seems innocuous, but the vague language of the proposed amendment has the potential to create legal challenges to local statutes that address animal neglect/cruelty, environmental protection, wildlife conservation, as well as public health and safety.

During the legislative process, many voiced concerns about the proposed language of this amendment (detailed concerns included below). At the public hearing, the Maine State Director for HSUS proposed amended language that would have kept the intent of the of the “Right to Food” initiative intact, while ensuring adherence to existing and future animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental protection standards.  The proposed amendment was not considered by the legislative committee, nor were the concerns of other stakeholders addressed prior to passage by the Maine legislature.

MFOA fully supports the concept of food security for all citizens.  However, the ambiguous language of the proposed “Right to Food” constitutional amendment does little to achieve this goal.  Additionally, as written, this proposal fails to require adherence to state laws and municipal ordinances that protect animals, the environment and public safety,while exercising the right to “grow” or “harvest” food of one’s own choosing.   As constitutional laws preempt state laws and local ordinances, we are deeply concerned by this omission.  As a result, MFOA stands in opposition to Question 3.

It is now up to us, advocates and citizens, to defeat this poorly-crafted, over-reaching, unnecessary and potentially dangerous constitutional amendment.  Please read on to see how you can take action

MAINE STAKEHOLDER CONCERNS RE: “RIGHT TO FOODAMENDMENT

Maine Friends of Animals:

Portland Press Herald 10/23/21

As a former Maine state legislator, I have witnessed how the wrong language in a bill can kill it before it even gets started. Although often unintended, amendments can’t undo the wrong. The bill is deemed unworthy of consideration, when if properly written might have met a different fate.

That is the conundrum we now find ourselves with Question 3. Its vague language raises more questions than it answers, and begets “a solution looking for a problem.” This is not just any bill, but one that would create a constitutional amendment.

A constitutional amendment is serious legislative business addressing an important public issue. The Right to Food Amendment, well-meaning as it may be, it is important to note that no other state in the country has felt a need for such an amendment. This forum does not provide enough space to address numerous animal welfare concerns that may arise as, if passed, this amendment plays its way through the court system that will ultimately and unfortunately have to define it.

This proposed constitutional amendment is not only unnecessary, it is flawed, vague, inadequately considered the unintended consequences, misleading even in its title, and provides no sense of need, especially to amend our state constitution. Question 3 should be defeated.

Robert Fisk, Jr.
Maine Friends of Animals
President and Executive Director
Falmouth

Maine Veterinary Medical Association:

The intention of the amendment is unclear, except to be designed to opening the door to all manner of animal abuse and neglect in the name of food. …MVMA members work tirelessly to ensure Mainers have access to safe food, and that the animals involved in that process are well cared for, properly treated, and healthy themselves. A constitutional amendment worded in this vague manner only impedes those goals.”

Humane Society of the United States:

“We do not think it is the intent of this proposal to allow food producers and and/or hunters, trappers, and fisherman be exempt from animal welfare and cruelty laws, but as currently written that would likely be the case as the current list of limitations fails to include any reference to such laws. …The inclusion of the terms “raise,” “harvest,” and “of their own choosing” could also result in a constitutional right for the consumption of species that are not viewed as food animals, such as cats and dogs or some wildlife species.”

Animal Rights Maine:

“Codifying hunting, farming, and fishing rights in our Constitution would render all future efforts to improve our relevant state laws a Constitutional matter, with much higher thresholds to meet to pass improvements into law.”

Maine Municipal Association:

“If passed by the body and the voters in November, it will be for the courts to decide whether a municipal ordinance for phosphorous mitigation, urban livestock farming restrictions, local pesticide ordinances or restrictions on timber harvesting, shoreland zoning setbacks are too restrictive to allow an individual to grow food or save seeds.

 

Speak up for humane treatment of animals.  No to Right to Food.

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  1. Vote “NO” on Question 3 in November.  Ask fellow animal lovers and environmentalists to do the same.
  2. Take a picture of your animal family member(s) with a “No on 3” poster.  Post the picture on your social media accounts with the tag “#NoOn3Maine”.  Encourage others to do the same.
  3. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to educate other citizens of the potential unintended consequences of Question 3.
  4. Contact your legislators to ask that they take a public stand against this vague and dangerous constitutional amendment.  Although the time for legislative intervention has passed, our representatives and senators have the power to educate and influence their constituents. Please request that they do so.
    Find your Senator
    Find your House Representative
  5. Share this alert via email and on social media.

    Please take a stand!  We have made steady progress to protect Maine animals,but there is much more to accomplish.  We must not go backwards and need to safeguard a path forward for improved animal protection in Maine.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Reference materials

Editorials

Letters to the Editor

News articles

 

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