New Meat Referendum Explained - Vote in October

Council - Announcements

By Dan Hoffman,
Council Member

14 10 mailingGreenStar members can vote during October of this year on whether or not to change a policy enacted by the membership in 2003 about what kind of meat the Co-op is permitted to sell.

For the first two decades of its existence, the Co-op did not sell meat of any kind. Then, in 1992, member referendums approved the sale of certain types of fish and poultry. The following year, a different referendum allowed the sale of pet food containing meat. A decade later, in 2003, members faced another pair of binding referendums. The first asked whether the Co-op should be permitted to sell meat other than fish or poultry (sometimes referred to as "red meat"). The second asked whether, if "Meat Referendum #1" passed, certain conditions should be imposed on the meat that could be sold – including the location of suppliers ("within 40 miles of Ithaca") and a requirement that such farms be visited twice a year by a team of GreenStar volunteers who would verify the fair treatment of the animals. Both referendums were approved, so current Co-op policy allows the sale of red meat, but only if it meets those certain conditions. (Last year, a referendum proposal to repeal the 2003 conditions, in their entirety, was rejected by the membership in 2013. Likewise, an earlier referendum, in 1998, that sought to ban the sale of any meat, was defeated.)

Decisions made by member referendum can only be changed by another membership vote. Earlier this year, a referendum petition seeking to modify (rather than repeal) the conditions on the sale of red meat set by the 2003 "Meat Referendum #2" was initiated by Colin Meeks, and was signed by more than the required 100 GreenStar members in good standing. As a result, the binding referendum to be conducted in October poses three separate Yes or No questions:

Here is the language of each referendum question:

QUESTION #1.

Should "Meat Referendum #2 [approved in April 2003] Additional Conditions on the Sale of Meat," which now reads as follows:

[CURRENT POLICY (part):] All farmsteads selling the newly permitted meat(s) to GreenStar [as allowed by Meat Referendum #1, also approved in April 2003] shall sign an agreement to be visited unannounced twice yearly by GreenStar member volunteers, so that living conditions of the animals, their water sources and methods of slaughter may be monitored, as allowed by relevant federal, state and local law. Reports shall be published in GreenLeaf.

...be changed to read as follows?

[PROPOSED POLICY:] All farmsteads selling the newly permitted meat(s) to GreenStar [as allowed by Meat Referendum #1, also approved in April 2003] shall acquire and maintain a qualified third-party certification to verify their humane treatment of animals. The results of the certification for each farmstead shall be published in GreenLeaf.

QUESTION #2.

If Question #1 receives a majority of "yes" votes, should current suppliers of said meat(s) to GreenStar be given a one-year grace period to acquire a qualified third-party certification for their humane treatment of animals

QUESTION #3.

Should the current mileage requirement of Meat Referendum #2, which now reads as follows:

[CURRENT POLICY (part):] newly permitted meat(s) only from animals raised on family-owned farmsteads within forty (40) miles of the City of Ithaca, New York.

... be changed to read as follows?

[PROPOSED POLICY:] GreenStar shall sell the newly permitted meat(s) only from animals raised on family- owned farmsteads that are located within the GreenStar definition of "local" [currently set by Council as within 100 miles of Ithaca].

#1: Should the current requirement – that farms supplying such meat agree to be visited "unannounced" and "twice annually" by "GreenStar member volunteers, so that living conditions of the animals, their water sources and methods of slaughter may be monitored" – be changed, to require instead "third-party certification (of the farms) to verify their humane treatment of animals"?

#2: If Question #1 receives a majority of Yes votes, should current suppliers of such meat to GreenStar be given a 1-year grace period to secure "qualified" third-party certification of their humane treatment of animals?

#3: Current policy (as a result of the 2003 Meat Referendum #2) requires that any meat allowed by the 2003 Meat Referendum #1 must be from suppliers (farms) located within 40 miles of Ithaca. Question #3 in the 2014 referendum asks whether this distance requirement should be changed to "the GreenStar definition of 'local.' " That definition, determined by Council is currently "within 100 miles of Ithaca."

All GreenStar members are encouraged to learn more about the current referendum by reading the "pro" and "con" statements in this mailing and/or by attending the informational forum on October 2. Members can exercise their right to vote and to determine Co-op policy anytime during October at either store, at the Fall Member Meeting on October 17, or by sending in the ballot that appears on page 6 of this mailing.

Council

  • vote fall 2014All GreenStar members are encouraged to learn more about the current referendum by reading the “pro” and “con” statements below and/or by attending the informational forum on October 2. Members can exercise their right to vote and to determine Co-op policy anytime during October at either store, at the Fall Member Meeting on October 17, or by sending in the ballot that appears on page 6 of the Fall Member Mailing.

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