Oklahoma Right-to-Farm Legislation About More Than Agricultural Practices

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.

KOMUnews / flickr

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemeyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.

Oklahoma voters have at least a year before seeing ads for and against state questions on the ballot in November 2016. But you might want to get used to hearing this phrase now: right-to-farm.

It’s a divisive national issue that’s made its way to the Sooner State, one that puts agriculture at odds with environmentalists and animal rights advocates.

In Missouri, it was a fight between two sides that loathe each other. The right-to-farm amendment narrowly passed there in 2014, and not until after a recount. Part of Missouri’s constitution now reads like this: “The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state.”

That sounds innocent, but the language is broad. There is plenty of room for allegations like the one suggested by former Missouri lawmaker Wes Shoemyer.

“There will be challenges of anything you can think of in the court system,” Shoemyer says. “Whether folks in the middle of the cities, say they’ve got a little patch of ground and decide they want to farm. Can they raise hogs and cattle right in their own backyard?”

Now Shoemyer works with the Humane Society of the United States, a main funder of the right-to-farm opposition in Missouri, and enemy of Farm Bureaus across the country who’ve pushed similar amendments in Indiana, North Dakota, and here in Oklahoma.

Next stop, Oklahoma

A bill proposed by Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, would, if passed by voters, change Oklahoma’s constitution to say something very similar to Missouri’s. It adds: “The legislature shall pass no law that abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest.”

John Collison with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau questions why the Humane Society is so concerned about agriculture. He says farmers are can be trusted to protect animals and the environment.

“We’re the ones that raise millions and millions of animals every single day, and take care of them,” he says. “They’re our livelihood. We’re not going to treat our business badly.”

But Cynthia Armstrong with the Oklahoma chapter of the Humane Society says many farmers resist animal-related regulations because they’re doing “the bidding of corporate agriculture.”

“They want to do business the way they want to do it, without regard to environmental concerns, animal welfare,” she says. “They don’t want any of that getting in their way.”

Agriculture isn’t all

Humane Society accuses Farm Bureau of being in the pocket of big ag. Farm Bureau, for its part, says it’s obligated to protect farmers from Humane Society-backed anti-GMO laws and chicken-caging regulations, like ones on the books in California and Oregon.

But the right-to-farm fight in Oklahoma is about more than agricultural practices. Rep. Biggs didn’t respond to StateImpact’s interview requests, but said as much when presenting House Joint Resolution 1012 in committee.

“Unfortunately we have an outside who has seen fit to kind of attack agriculture here in Oklahoma, go as far as to sue the attorney general who’s looking to protect us, to stop him from doing some of his actions,” Biggs told the House Rules Committee.

He’s referring to a lawsuit Humane Society filed against Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, accusing him of harassment. Pruitt is investigating the Humane Society over fundraising allegations stemming from the 2013 Moore tornado, an ongoing court battle unrelated to farmers’ rights that seems to have fueled some of the animosity between both sides.

Complicating matters is the fact that Oklahoma already has a right-to-farm law on the books, which outlaws so-called nuisance lawsuits against farmers and ranchers from nearby residents over issues like noise, odors and pollution. All 50 states have some form of right-to-farm law, and the American Legislative Exchange Council — better known as ALEC — has been working to strengthen them.

But statutes are easy to change. The State Constitution isn’t. Donnie Condit, D-McAlester, was the only ‘no’ vote on Oklahoma’s right-to-farm amendment proposal when it was heard in committee.

“Forever’s a long time,” Condit says. “Ten, 15 years from now, if we vote this in and the Legislature comes up with a crisis with agriculture, their hands are tied.”

Condit says he’s received hundreds of emails urging him to vote “no.”

“I don’t know if I got any to say vote yes,” he says.

From Farm to Constitution

StateImpact asked a few Oklahoma farmers about what they think of right-to-farm, and couldn’t find any that were even aware of the issue — or the bill.

It’s not clear what a right-to-farm amendment would mean for Oklahoma, but North Dakota in 2012 became the first state to amend its constitution to include one. North Dakota State University Agricultural law professor David Saxowsky says that in the three years since it was added, the right-to-farm amendment has yet to be challenged.

“I don’t think anybody was on the verge of introducing any laws that would be struck down by this amendment,” he says.

Clarification: The audio version of this story says Wes Shoemyer now works for the Humane Society of the U.S. Actually, he serves on HSUS’ Missouri Agriculture Council, an unpaid position. A more correct statement would be that Shoemyer works WITH the Humane Society of the U.S. We apologize for any confusion.

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership among Oklahoma’s public radio stations and relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.


  • KaD

    What most people don’t know about the ‘Humane Society’ is they have the same radical animal rights agenda as PETA-NO human animal interaction whatsoever is their goal. No meat, no fur or leather, no pets. The HSUS operates NO shelters, contributes only 1% of the donations to shelters, has hedge funds outside the US, and their president admitted he ‘doesn’t even like animals’. http://www.humanewatch.org http://www.petakillsanimals.com

    • terryward


    • Janice Waltzer Curtis

      Where do you get your brain washed?

    • James Atkinson

      That you would cite the above two links indicates you need to educate yourself more about this issue. Both those sources are front groups to corporate lobbying, humane watch is Berman propaganda- just google and find out. HSUS is not supposed to give money to shelters. That is not their mission. They never say they do-again, look it up. Pruitt got sued because he is harassing HSUS. He took phony Berman propaganda (the ridiculous survey you cited) and used it as the basis of a state invrstgation-outrageous abuse of state police power. Again, look it it up-I did. I went to downtown and pulled the legal brief Pruitt used tax dollars to hire a law firm to write. You need to check this stuff out better.

    • James Atkinson

      Here yo go, KaD. I hope the link works. Can you believe Oklahoma’s AG similarly abused the power of his office and wasted tax dollars with his special interest vendetta:


  • ricky

    Farmers raise animals to make a living. Activists raise money by attacking the farmers. It doesn’t matter how the farmer does his work the activist will always contend that is never enough

    • Janice Waltzer Curtis

      Asinine. People should care about the treatment of animals on farms. Maybe you think it is great when ranchers starve and abuse their chickens, hogs, cattle or horses? Happens ALL the time in Oklahoma and it is possible the constitutional change will give them the right to do anything they want to do with no legal consequences. Nothing like red morons voting to put corporate written laws in state constitutions. ALEC has run Oklahoma since the reds took over control of the state.

    • James Atkinson

      How can you call an industrial animal confinement operation so polluted that 1,000 of the hogs die of poison gas farming? See:

      Over 1,000 Hogs Die in Confinement Pit Gas Accident Near Tracy
      Posted: Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015 at 11:54 am
      Author: KNIA/KRLS News – Dr. Bob Leonard
      Print Version

      HSUS is not against farming; it is against that. Smith Farm is the worlds largest hog producer. Do you know what country is the majority owner? The Chinese, run by the Communists. That is who you are sacrificing your clean air and water for to do this “farming.” If you do not think it is immoral to lock up animals so they cannot move their entire life and are poisoned by their own waste; if you think it is okay to pass a law (Iowa ag-gag) to cover it up and hide it because you know the public will not stand for it when they find out (I guess forget about free speech); then maybe you will care you are doing for a company Wall Street sold to China because they have so destroyed their own land, air, and water they are coming after rural America’s. Wake up, people. Educate yourselves by following the money. Scott Pruitt AG of Oklahoma is for sale to the highest bidder. He is a disgrace to the state.

    • Amor Terra

      And big agribusiness, who is behind this amendment, raise animals to make a buck. Their only legal reason for being is to make a buck–to maximize their shareholders’ investment. They don’t care about the land or the animals–they care about money. And leaving industry to regulate itself is NEVER a good idea–remember how the banks were going to voluntarily fix everything without reinstating Glass-Seagall? Yeah–how’s that going?

  • laurelladesborough

    The Oklahoma Right to Farm Act is an important idea that needs to be put in place to protect farmers and ranchers from the ongoing assault of the animal rights organizations who are working to eliminate animal agriculture. They have no shame in stating this is the case. So, I hope that all animal owners and breeders and members of the public will support this legislation. It is needed. What we don’t need in the US is efforts by the animal rights orgs to put in place regulations that do not help the animals or the animal owners and breeders. This law will help protect animal agriculture.

    • James Atkinson

      Your post is completely misguided. Anyone who has any sense of decency understands factory animal production is most definitely NOT farming. Family farms in the traditional sense (clean water and air and open space in rural areas) cannot compete with these industrial animal gulags so true ranchers and farmers are hurting themselves supporting this corporate-backed initiative in Oklahoma. Ask yourselves this: why should agriculture get special treatment in the state constitution no other industry or business receives? What is that all about, huh? The fact this industry is doing something so controversial it thinks it justifies a constitutional ammendment ought to send up red flags to thinking voters. We all have to eat and taxpayers give billions in subsidies to corporate agriculture annually but apparently that is not enough so we prohibit free speech with ag gag laws and ammend the constitution with right to “farm?” People who think for themselves wonder what is going on here.

      • laurelladesborough

        Maybe you need to do more research about farming pracitices and about farms. I come from a farm background and am familiar with many normal animal husbandry practices that are just fine. This idea that the Right to Farm Act is about protecting big ag is one of the selling points of the radical animal rights agenda. You are either an animal rights advocate OR you are misinformed about this law. When the HSUS has spokesmen who openly have stated that they are working to eliminate animal agriculture, that should be a wake up call. Now, in California, HSUS managed to get some of their “ideas” put into laws. Result: Cargill, one of the largest poultry farmers has moved their operation to China. Now, if you think those Chinese workers are going to treat poultry better than US farmers, you are probably smoking something! These animal rights laws have ONE purpose: to eventually eliminate the use of animals. Period. They know they cannot do it quickly, so they do it incrementally, with lots of propaganda along the way, including editing videos, placing spies on farms, etc. This is a total invasion of the privacy of the farmer and rancher. Next they will be sending drones over ranches, which hopefully will get shot down!

        • James Atkinson

          I worked on a farms in Idaho from 4th grade on moving irrigation pipe, cleaning animal pens, hoeing beets, picking rocks off spud diggers, driving swathers, bucking bales, etc. None of what you wrote is correct nor makes logical sense. I have never once heard or read anything from the HSUS about ending animal agriculture. Please provide the source for your claim. Tens of millions of California voters passed state ballot initiatives outlawing a few of the most egregious factory farming practices despite massive spending by corporate agriculture in opposition. Californians made these changes; not the HSUS. What you say about Cargill does not make sense. Since when are eggs shipped from China to the United States? California produces more agricultural products than any other state. Of the ten most productive agricultural counties in the United States, 10 are in California. The San Joaquin Valley is the single riches agricultural region in the world. Do you really think Cargill could abandon this market? If the HSUS is destroying California agriculture, how come it produces about twice the output of second largest producer which I believe is Texas? The abdominal treatment of animals in factory farms has been documented from myriad independent sources and opposed by veterinarians writing in professional journals. What you are defending as “animal husbandry” is no such thing: it is horrific industrial-scale cruelty that no one has a right of privacy to engage in. If this is just traditional farming and ranching practiced for hundreds of years, why the need for ag-gag laws and a special set-aside in the state constitution? These practices are against the law in Europe; Why would the HSUS or anyone else for that matter want to fly drones over thousands of acres of sparsely populated rural land? I hope you will do some investigating besides believing what the Farm Bureau tells you.

          • Jenna Rose Anderson

            Just want to say thanks to James for providing such informed answers. I went to OU Law and am a small ag supporter – I could not have said any of this better myself. Thanks James!

          • laurelladesborough

            I don’t get my information from the Farm Bureau. I get my information from the media at large and from individuals who have been on the receiving end of the HSUS b.s. As for the HSUS wanting to end animal agriculture…you might take a read at some of the statements in that regard. Go to http://www.bewareanimalradicals.com and see for yourself. If that doesn’t suit you, there are plenty of books out there that delineate the activities of the HSUS and other anti-animal orgs.

          • James Atkinson

            A link to something you found on the internet is not a source. Your mind is closed and you are making irrational posts but to inform readers who are interested in learning I am going to post a couple links: These links will take you to named sources you will recognize and can verify:
            I do not know who is behind what you posted but these published sources will give interested readers the idea. With millions of homeless pets destroyed in shelters every year that you would post that link is offensive to me and other volunteers who donate money and time to reduce the death and suffering of companion animals. You do not seem to want to think critically about anything you are posting. How exactly are dogs “The next endangered species?” when millions–mixed and pure bred–destroy annually because they are unwanted? This so-called right-to-farm ammendment enshrines in the constitution puppy mills which anyone who cares about dogs knows are revolting. Don’t believe me? Here is a link to the USDA web page where you can read inspection reports and violations: https://acis.aphis.edc.usda.gov/ords/f?p=116:203:0::NO. I have nothing more to add to this thread. State Question 777 is a special interest con job with potentially disastrous implications. It is not in the interests of the vast majority of Oklahomans. For the record, I earned my PhD from OU, own a house in Norman, vote in Cleveland County, pay taxes in the state, and have no conflict of interest either for or against the measure.

      • Herbert Tennyson

        You are not an Oklahoman or you would know how stupid your argument sounds.

        • Shawna

          I am an Oklahoman and I think his argument is pretty good.

      • laurelladesborough

        James Atkinson. Are you a farmer? Have you no clue that the animal rights radicals are out to ELIMINATE animal agriculture? When the animal rights radicals, who have no clue about appropriate animal husbandry practices, sneak onto farms and try to find or actually create situations which LOOK to the average person as abuse, then publish videos and comments in order to make farming more expensive or actually unworkable, then we need laws to stop them. These radicals don’t give a damn about animals. They want to control humans…and turn us all into vegans! Check out the domestic terrorists that the Feds are watching…animal rights terrorists!

        • James Atkinson

          Anyone who has made an effort to educate themselves from credible sources understands what you have written is without merit. You are, of course, entitled to your views, even if they are devoid of facts. That your post and that of Mr. Herbert Tennyson are mostly ad hominem conveys to readers the weakness of your argument. The one favor I do ask of you and others who wish to sellout the state’s land, air, water, and morality to this unprecedented usurpation of citizens’ rights, however, is this: Please do not sully and pervert the word “farmer” and the wholesome images and memories it conjures by conflating it with industrial animal agribusiness.

          • laurelladesborough

            James Atkinson. Do me a favor. Please let me know what you recommend to protect farmers in Oklahoma from the animal rights agenda. As a farmer, I am very knowledgeable about the dangers of the HSUS in this state and in other states. These people have an anti-farm animal agenda. Are you aware of that? If not, please get up to date on it. Now, my whole issue is this: How can farmers in Oklahoma protect themselves from the assaults of the HSUS on animal agriculture? If you have a better way than the present proposed legislation, please publish it on this site. That is the critical issue.

          • James Atkinson

            I agree with you–this IS a critical issue we are all concerned about for different reasons. It is important to remember this is NOT legislation. There are already many laws on the books protecting agriculture and balancing its interests against the rights of everybody else in Oklahoma. If necessary, more laws can be passed, repealed or modified through the normal legislative process. This is an amendment to the Oklahoma constitution, an extraordinary attempt to give unique protections to businesses; vital businesses, but businesses nonetheless. This measure equates business practices with issues involving personal liberty like free speech and the right to an attorney. That is why the opposition to 777 is so widespread. If you will post to this site specifically what you are fearful of in terms of the “assaults of the HSUS on animal agriculture” I will strive to answer you concerns truthfully.

          • laurelladesborough

            James Atkinson. You have not answered my question. My whole point about this amendment to the Oklahoma constitution is one thing: What protection do farmers, animal breeders and keepers, or any entity working with animals have in this state from the assaults of the HSUS. And please do not insult me by saying I am closed minded or that I am following the humanewatch website. I have been around a damn sight longer than Berman and I have SEEN what the HSUS can do. I have seen their lawsuits to force changes in federal laws passed by Congress. I have seen their IRS docs where they put a lot of the dollars donated for animal welfare into their Cayman Islands investment accounts, as well as into huge retirement fund benefits. ONE PERCENT of each dollar goes for the animals. Oh, and the rest for lobbying Congress and suing responsible animal enterprises. The HSUS, PETA, ALF and these other radical orgs want to eliminate animal ownership, animal farming, etc. Goodwin, who works for HSUS has stated that they plan to eliminate animal agriculture. Could anything be more clear than that? As for laws on the books, small farmers do not have the funds to go to court when they are attacked by HSUS, ARC, etc. So, it appears to me that you are speaking up for the animal rights radicals, just as Amor Terra and Terry Ward have done. So, I am waiting to hear your plan on protecting farmers and animal owners from the HSUS juggernaught against animal agriculture.

          • James Atkinson

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/4c9cc18b4b0eedf59a9db91451d31d775375163282762fa68a5e219e5c714022.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8d9941e38c9fc982aad4002a0e8bc9fad445e8f743b2cf5ae676b4afd9407bae.jpg

            You are posting blatantly false, undocumented statements. You do not even understand the missions of the organizations you are haranguing. I have attached screenshots from Charity Navigator refuting your statements about expenses. This is conversation is has no constructive purpose. Goodbye.

          • laurelladesborough

            Okay James. You have played your hand. I also note that the HSUS was taken to task for MISREPRESENTING their actual work on their tax forms for including PR work as part of their program expenses. I know very very well that the HSUS has sued federal agencies to force changes in the regulations under laws passed by Congress. I know very well that they put into federal agencies their followers: Dr. Susan Leiberman was one. Sarah Conant is another. She is in enforcement division and fined a family for raising rabbits. The fine was $93,000. for raising and selling a little over $500. worth of rabbits. Now tell me about the wonders of the HSUS. This organization is totally anti-animal agriculture. One of their officers, Goodwin, has publicly stated that their mission is to ELIMINATE animal agriculture. You cannot make this stuff up. It is out there. And HSUS has now lost their special rating on charity listings. I now see why you are speaking up for HSUS…you are probably a follower OR a worker in the trenches for this ungodly radical group.

          • James Atkinson

            Madam, this is not a game. WHO took HSUS to task for
            misrepresenting their tax forms? WHERE is your evidence for any of this? 77.1% to “Program Expenses” is for animals; not the 1% you posted previously. That figure is calculated by Charity Navigator, and has zero to dowith the IRS. These financials are externally audited. Of course advocacy groups want to comment on regulations promulgated by federal agencies; that is the process by design. You can hardly claim agriculture is underrepresented; they receive billions is taxpayer subsides annually. I have no idea what you are talking about with respect to enforcement–private advocacy groups have authority to enforce anything. If you are referring to APHIS under the USDA, what is enforcement action report #? They are public record; you can retrieve it from the link I previously posted and what has that got to do with this discussion anyway. This amendment would cannot supersede federal regulations. I have made every effort to engage in a policy discussion with you involving facts and you have posted only innuendo and specious accusations.

          • laurelladesborough

            James Atkinson. This is not a game alright. I have reported facts. period. Here are a few HSUS quotes for your reading pleasure. “I don’t have a hands-on fondness for animals…To this day I don’t feel bonded to any non-human animal. I like them and I pet them and I’m kind to them, but there’s no special bond between me and other animals.” Wayne Pacelle quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 251, before joining the HSUS. I am sure you are aware that Pacelle is CEO of HSUS. And this “It is time we demand an end to the misguided and abusive concept of animal ownership. The first step on this long, but just, road would be ending the concept of pet ownership.” Elliot Katz, President “In Defense of Animals,” Spring 1997: My point is simple: The animal rights leadership want to eliminate animal agriculture, pets, and any relationship with animals. So we should be wary of their support for or against any proposed legislation, amendment, or other type of law regarding animals since they want to eliminate those animals from our lives.

    • Amor Terra

      This constitutional amendment (not a law, laureladesborough), will leave the state regulators and the public almost completely unarmed when agribusiness uses practices that pollute land or water to save a buck, or to use a chemical that harms people–until or unless they can conclusively “prove” that the harm is all from the ag practice. It is basically arguing that the ag industry should regulate itself. That worked so well with the banks after they repealed Glass-Stegall that you want to repeat it, huh?

      Remember how long it took for it to be “proven” that cigarettes were dangerous? Remember how the tobacco industry kept claiming that there was not “scientific proof” they were killing people? You know, for about 30-40 years. You want to give legal authority for agribusiness to poison people for short term gain, until forty years of research is done? Ah, what the heck–after our kids are dead from leukemia or something, we can always have a lawsuit, right?

  • Harlan

    The global corporations behind this amendment — Tyson, Cargill, Monsanto, Smithfield, JBS — are afraid of democracy, they decimated rural Oklahoma economies and put independent farmers and ranchers out of business.

  • Jenna Rose Anderson

    For what it’s worth, I want to express support for the anti-777 crowd. I think the fact that these laws have already been passed in a few states is an indication that there is a large, corporate entity involved. This just can’t be described as some sort of grass-roots movement by small Oklahoma farms seeking protection from the state of Oklahoma, although that’s what their website would lead you to believe. I don’t support large corporate farms and these laws seem to be in their best interest alone. Also and perhaps most dangerously, I think this would disadvantage the farmers that insist on treating their animals and their land with honesty and integrity, because they will be forced to compete in a market full of farmers (both big and small) that do not have the same commitment to good stewardship.

    • Amor Terra

      Of course it’s not about small farmers. It’s so that huge agribusiness corporations can do anything they choose to for short term gain and leave the mess for someone else to clean up. Like spraying chemicals that have already been accepted as carcinogenic in numerous other countries on your food and communities until or unless “science” in this country (which is beholden to industry) gets around to definitively proving that they’re killing people. Then, your consolation prize, after your kid is dead from leukemia, will be to sue them.

  • Amor Terra

    Here’s the real deal. Look at this quote: “John Collison with the Oklahoma Farm Bureau questions why the Humane
    Society is so concerned about agriculture. He says farmers are can be
    trusted to protect animals and the environment.”

    When is the last time that an industry could be “trusted” to regulate itself? If you want to give carte blanche to huge agribusiness corporations, who, like all corporations, are in it for a buck, not for the public good, to decide every last thing about the food you eat, with no recourse to do anything about it, then go ahead and vote for this amendment.

  • laurelladesborough

    I am not for corporate or small farmer abuse of animals. But, I am for strong laws on the books to protect ALL animal owners, breeders, keepers, etc. from the assaults of the animal rights ideologues. That includes PETA, HSUS, ARC, ALF and numerous others. While many of the animal rights orgs talk about animal abuse and animal welfare, those are the “covers” for their real agenda. First, to make money by appealing to the compassionate members of the public by asking for donations to “save” dogs, cats, etc. Where does that money go? For instance, in the case of HSUS a lot of that money goes to overseas investment funds, to huge retirement funds and to salaries. Then there is the money that goes to the many lobbyists working the halls of Congress to get laws passed to restrict, control and prohibit many different animal uses. We are not talking about laws to protect animals from abuse, but that is the “appearance” given to those laws. The fact is that many of these laws do nothing for the animals but do restrict humans. The idea is to control humans ability to lawfully and reasonably “use” animals, whether as pets or for food. Information on these matters can be discerned by reading the HSUS IRS forms. Then there are the more radical animal rights groups, ALF, ARC, etc. For instance, ARC (Animal Rescue Corps) will stage raids on decent animal owners, remove or kill their animals, all under local laws which they have twisted to meet their goal. In the process they kill on the spot any critter they deem “not to have a quality of life.” Now this is cruelty and arrogance combined. ARC is disgusting and thankfully is being sued by some animal owners who were targeted by ARC. Bottom line, animal owners need legal protection from these radicals. So, my question is what kind of protection do farmers and others have against these crazy radicals who would rather see animals dead than alive in our homes and farms?

  • James Atkinson

    I have made several lengthy posts on this page about State Question 777. Posting in not something I usually do; however, this is a National Pubic Radio sponsored page which may attract citizens seeking accurate information to decide how to vote. Mendacity (telling lies) and ad hominem attacks (name-calling) are all I read in the posts in favor of this measure (@laurelladesborough). Here is an excerpt of the exact text from the ballot:

    “This measure adds Section 38 to Article II of the Oklahoma Constitution…
    • The right to make use of agricultural technology,
    • The right to make use of livestock procedures, and
    • The right to make use of ranching practices.
    These constitutional rights receive extra protection under this measure that not all constitutional rights receive. This extra protection is a limit on lawmakers’ ability to interfere with the exercise of these rights. Under this extra protection, no law can interfere with these rights, unless the law is justified by a compelling state interest-a clearly identified state interest of the highest order.”

    The technologies used by businesses and industry to produce the goods we buy–economists call it a “production function”–have evolved massively over time. Goods used to be made in ways that are unthinkable today–children working in sweat shops or coal mines, horrific cruelty and unsafe food as brought to light in Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle. Read the actual text of State Measure 777 above and ask yourself, “Now what is it about the agricultural industry that requires language put into Oklahoma’s constitution that gives it protections on par with habeas corpus (having to do with the legality of arrest, imprisonment, or detention), and that no other industry has?”

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