If that kind of arrogance is both off-putting and dangerous, then also consider the efforts of factory farmers to tamper with the mechanics of democracy. Last year, in a squeaker of a vote, farm groups succeeded in adding a nebulous and far-reaching "right to farm" amendment to the Missouri constitution. Just about every major paper in Missouri said that adding this "right" to the constitution was like inviting a mud-caked pig onto clean sheets. Opinion leaders thought it was a messy, horrid idea, but in a low-turn-out primary election, it won with the barest majority, 50.1 percent. Indeed, if it hadn't been for an intense spending campaign (almost certainly fortified by the illegal use of pork check-off funds never permitted to be used for political elections, and with politicians currying favor with the farm lobby by singing the praises of the measure), we would have defeated it.
Factory farmers are now working from the same playbook in Oklahoma. There, the state Farm Bureau has been directing the state attorney general to harass The HSUS, and has been making phony arguments – pivoting from one false claim to the next after a lie is discredited. The Farm Bureau is also pushing a right-to-farm measure that's now winding its way through the legislature. The Oklahoma measure, which, if lawmakers approve it, would then have to be approved by voters in November 2016, would add this language to the state constitution: "To protect agriculture as a vital sector of Oklahoma's economy, which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security and is the foundation and stabilizing force of Oklahoma's economy, the rights of citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. The Legislature shall pass no law which abridges the right of citizens and lawful residents of Oklahoma to employ agricultural technology and livestock production and ranching practices without a compelling state interest."