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Famed OU football coach weighing in on controversial ‘Right to Farm’ bill

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A controversial state question that will go before voters is worrying animal activists across Oklahoma, including a famed football coach.

On Tuesday, former OU football coach Barry Switzer wrote an opinion piece about State Question 777.

State Question 777 is better known as “Right to Farm,” which supporters say gives the agriculture industry extra protections. Advocates say it will prevent lawmakers from interfering with certain guaranteed rights.

“We see a lot of the legislation coming off the east coast and Hollywood that are attacking agriculture, and this is going to stop that type of legislation in Oklahoma,” said Rep. Scott Biggs, a supporter of the measure.

But city leaders and opponents fear the constitutional amendment would take power away from the people and their elected officials, handing it instead to judges, lawyers and the courts.

Similar measures have been implemented in South Dakota and Missouri and are being pushed across the country by the conservative lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council.

In recent weeks, several cities have come out against the state question.  Municipal governments in Choctaw, The Village and Edmond have either considered or adopted resolutions opposing the state question.

Now, Switzer is joining those ranks, according to an opinion piece published in NonDoc.

“Our passion for animals is just one of the reasons we oppose State Question 777. If SQ 777 passes, it will make it easier for puppy mills to exist. Puppy mill operators will be able to classify themselves as farmers and their animals as livestock. Puppy mills are atrocities where neglect, disease and abuse is rampant. Animals are caged 24-7 and some live their entire lives in wire cages, never once touching or rolling in the grass. Adult dogs are often debarked, which involves ramming a steel rod down their throats to rupture their vocal cords.

I could go on with the atrocities, but you get the point: puppy mills are an abomination. Another reason Becky and I are voting no on SQ 777 is because it threatens Oklahoma’s ability to maintain clean water and air for our granchildren. Instead, it gives constitutional protection to corporations who profit off industrial farming, entrusting them, and not local and state officials, to decide what’s best for Oklahomans’ public welfare.”

Switzer adds that the bills “isn’t about family farmers; it’s about big-time corporate agriculture wanting fewer and fewer restrictions on how they operate. Oklahoma’s family farmers have always been good team players, taking care of land, water and air. Big Ag doesn’t have the same game plan and winning record.”

NewsChannel 4 reached out to the Humane Society, asking about their concerns with State Question 777.

Organizers there say the bill contains vague language, meaning that puppy mills may be able to fall under the category of “modern farming practices.”