Should Indiana have a ‘right to farm’ amendment added to the constitution?

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 16, 2015)-- Indiana lawmakers moved forward a proposal Monday that would enshrine the right to farm in the state’s constitution. The Senate Agriculture Committee voted 6-2 to pass the measure along to the full Senate.

“I’m trying to protect the small family farm from being gobbled up and destroyed,” State Sen. Brent Steele (R-Bedford) said in an interview with CBS4. “We have a farming heritage in Indiana, and it’s part of our heritage and a vital part of our economy.”

But several Indiana farmers testified they fear it's just the opposite.

“Let’s call it what it really is,” Pam Patrick said, an Indiana farmer. “This bill is aimed at giving the right to large corporations to take over control of all the food industry.”

Across the country big names are getting involved in this debate, like the Humane Society of the United States, taking a stance against such measures.

“By passing the right to farm, you’re taking the checks and balances we have to ensure that our food is safe and in alliance with our values,” Erin Huang said, Indiana director of the Humane Society of the United States.

As CBS4 showed you Friday, one of Indiana’s most well-known names, Forrest Lucas, has launched an effort to counteract groups like the Humane Society of the United States. He’s launched a nonprofit political action committee called Protect the Harvest.

“The country will die from this if we don’t do anything,” Lucas told CBS4’s Bob Donaldson. “The people at the top are vegans, and they want to stop all animal agriculture.”

A representative from Protect the Harvest testified Monday in support of the right to farm amendment at the statehouse.

“No one’s taking anything away from anybody,” Craig Curry said. “We’re trying to protect and preserve what we do and give a stable legal environment.”

The amendment has been introduced twice before and failed.

It would have to pass two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and be approved by Indiana voters.


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