At first glance, Question 3 looks harmless and straightforward. And it’s been sneakily quiet: I hadn’t even heard about it until recently. Before I learned more, I thought I’d be voting for people to have the right to plant their own gardens, which seemed a little silly because, come on.

But Question 3 is far more than scattering seeds. At the very least, it’s unclear and unnecessary (since when do we need a constitutional amendment to have a right to food?). At most, it has very dangerous implications for the animals in our state —especially since its creators chose not to include clear, specific language to guard against animal cruelty. The sponsors say that private property laws would also protect animals. But this would logically apply only to those committing an abuse of another person’s property. I don’t anticipate individuals reporting they’re mistreating their own private property.

The major threat of Question 3 is that any state laws we have protecting animal welfare, the environment, or public health regarding food safety can be challenged in court if they infringe on people’s constitutional right to raise, slaughter, and eat any animal of their choosing. A constitutional amendment could easily overshadow the humane treatment of farmed animals, who have minimal protection at best. And if their welfare isn’t concerning enough, consider this: “the food of their own choosing” could be interpreted to mean animals of any species. Who would want to open that door?

Many organizations, including the Maine Veterinary Medical Association and the Maine Farm Bureau, oppose Question 3 and have more information to share. The bottom line: We already have a right to food. This amendment is unnecessary and wouldn’t help Maine people — but it would hurt Maine animals. Please vote no on Question 3, and spread the word.


Tracy Cobb


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