Big changes often happen in small increments before leading to major developments. So it has been with the issue of humane handling of livestock within the meat industry, according to a report on

The topic has been around for years, but recently the idea reached what author Malcolm Gladwell calls the "tipping point." The most recent development was the overwhelming passage of Issue 2 in a referendum in Ohio. The proposal was developed by representatives of the state's agricultural industry, and establishes a 13-member board to oversee the treatment and handling of livestock.

The initiative was roundly criticized by the animal rights group Humane Society of the United States as not going far enough, and HSUS has vowed to return to Ohio in 2010 with more stringent legislative proposals. Meanwhile, Issue 2 stands as a victory for the meat industry in an arena where in recent years it has seen almost exclusively defeat.

Tim Amlaw, the director of the Farm Animal Program for American Humane Association, worked with the Ohio coalition to insure the passage of Issue 2, and the organization endorsed it. He sees the legislation as a pattern that other states may follow, and perhaps the beginning of a more effective approach to the issue industry-wide.

Meatingplace talked with him about what's next for the humane handling movement in the protein industry. Read the interview.