The HSUS visited Ohio to let us know the Buckeye State is on its radar for legislation or a ballot initiative to ban confinement housing of livestock in the state, specifically poultry cages, veal crates and sow gestation stalls.
The meeting was, as Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Executive Director Elizabeth Harsh told Farm and Dairy’s Andrea Zippay, “a good wake-up call.”
All of agriculture needs that same call.
In case you didn’t realize it, the Humane Society of the United States is not affiliated with the humane societies you typically think of in your own backyard. The group is not the savior of unwanted dogs and cats.
If you really want to know what the Humane Society of the United States is about, read Wayne Pacelle’s comments in a blog posted March 30:
“We believe in the Three Rs — reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods; refining the diet by eating products only from methods of production, transport, and slaughter that minimize pain and distress; and replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods.”
There it is in black and white. HSUS is not about pet shelters, unwanted animal rescues, or adopting a cat. It is about reducing the consumption of meat, refining the diet, and replacing meat in your diet with plant-based foods.
Now, it is certainly OK for anyone to choose to be a vegetarian. This country was founded on freedoms, and I’m certainly not going to tell anyone he can’t choose a vegetarian diet.
What is not OK, is when a radical group connives under the guise of a moderate, “humane” halo and raises millions of dollars to lobby and schmooze and crank up p.r. machines with the expressed purpose of eliminating meat and animal-based foods in our diets.
Coshocton County cattleman Brent Porteus, current president of the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, was in that Ohio meeting with Pacelle, and warns that the HSUS is “zealously motivated” to accomplish that goal.
Pacelle is smooth, polite and politically correct, Porteus said, and that’s what makes him such a formidable foe.
The general public forks over donations and celebrities lend their names to the cause, not understanding the group’s real agenda. HSUS knows what sells: images of cute animals; images of mistreated animals; appeals to “common sense”; and enough laudable projects that hide its true anti-animal intent.
It doesn’t matter to the HSUS if regulations increase the cost of meat to the consumer. After all, if meat is too expensive, consumers will change their purchasing habits to other non-meat protein sources, and that’s the ultimate goal of HSUS anyway.
This is a long-term battle, but one agriculture can’t ignore in the short-term. If we think HSUS will go away or that their agenda won’t ever come true, we’ll wake up one day and discover that enough layers have been piled on animal agriculture that we can’t breathe.
Agriculture needs its own set of three R’s: research on best management practices that improve animal welfare and productivity; a revival of this country’s agrarian foundation; and a recommitment by farmers everywhere to practice sound livestock management, implement environmental protection measures and proudly speak out on their industry’s behalf.
(You can now follow Editor Susan Crowell on Twitter at http://twitter.com/scrowell and Farm and Dairy at http://twitter.com/farmanddairy.)