Press Release

Broad Coalition of Maine-Based Organizations Urges Voters to Reject Question 3

Groups Say Vague Ballot Measure Won’t Ease Hunger or Help Family Farms, But Will Sow Confusion and Litigation

Portland, Ore. – A broad coalition opposing Question 3 – the so-called “Right to Food” constitutional amendment – came out swinging against the measure today, urging sensible Mainers to vote “No on 3” and declaring that “the measure is a solution in search of a problem.”  The coalition, called “the Right to Food Amendment Leaves a Bad Taste in Our Mouths Committee,” said that Mainers concerned about hunger, responsible farming, local control, family farms, animal welfare, and clean air and water should vote No on 3.

When this measure came before the legislature, it was opposed by a diverse set of organizations – including the Maine Farm Bureau and Maine Potato Board, the Maine Municipal Association, the Maine Veterinary Medical Association, Maine Friends of Animals, the Maine Animal Coalition, Animal Rights Maine, and Animal Wellness Action. That coalition is now expanding to include even more diverse stakeholders who share an interest in stopping this misguided measure.

“Clarity of language is vital in constitutional measures because it is not easily amended and the rights to be protected are defined by the court not the drafter. This vague and undefined amendment could take away the power of local governments to provide proper health and safety, protect water resources, supply meals for students and address climate and housing challenges through zoning,” said Rebecca Graham of the Maine Municipal Association, which represents local governments throughout the state.

Animal wellness and veterinary organizations throughout the state are also strongly opposed.  “Question 3 asks Mainers to support a constitutional amendment that would preempt all local and state ordinances pertaining to animal cruelty, zoning, and food safety in the name of the ‘Right to Food.’ Yet it does not provide any avenue for alleviating hunger in Maine,” said Dr. Janelle Tirrell, Maine Veterinary Medical Association.

“Question 3 is so vague that it could unwind some of our state animal welfare laws, including the ban on keeping breeding sows in crates barely larger than their bodies,” said Beth Gallie of the Maine Animal Coalition. “Whether or not it was the design of the drafters of Question 3 to nullify farm animal welfare laws, that is the effect and for that reason alone, Mainers should vote ‘no” on the measure.”

Critics said Question 3 will make Maine the only state that puts a handful of judges in a position to determine the future of Maine’s food policy.  It will create confusion and invite legal challenges, such as when it comes to enforcing Maine wildlife laws.

“The handful of people who cooked up Question 3 have not given Mainers a single good reason for this amendment to our Constitution,” concluded Gina Garey, Maine state director of Animal Wellness Action.

Animal Wellness Action is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(4) whose mission is to help animals by promoting laws and regulations at federal, state and local levels that forbid cruelty to all animals. The group also works to enforce existing anti-cruelty and wildlife protection laws. Animal Wellness Action believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @AWAction_News

Center for a Humane Economy is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) whose mission is to help animals by helping forge a more humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both. The Center believes helping animals helps us all. Twitter: @TheHumaneCenter

Animal Wellness Foundation is a Los Angeles-based private charitable organization with a mission of helping animals by making veterinary care available to everyone with a pet, regardless of economic ability. We organize rescue efforts and medical services for dogs and cats in need and help homeless pets find a loving caregiver. We are advocates for getting veterinarians to the front lines of the animal welfare movement; promoting responsible pet ownership; and vaccinating animals against infectious diseases such as distemper. We also support policies that prevent animal cruelty and that alleviate suffering. We believe helping animals helps us all.