It’s a war, not a battle: Animal rights groups and livestock producers

WALDO, Ohio — In a packed banquet hall, fresh from the naming of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board members, a group gathered to talked about animal well-being and the increasing role of animal rights activists groups.

The Ohio Livestock Coalition annual meeting and industry symposium gives farm leaders from across Ohio perspectives from state and national farm leaders.

Threat to agriculture

David Martosko, director of research at the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom and a native Ohioan, discussed the role of the Humane Society of the United States and the threat the organization poses to the agriculture community.

The Center for Consumer Freedom recently launched HumaneWatch.org, a Web site created to monitor the activities of HSUS.

“You’re at war with this so-called humane society, whether or not you want to be,” Martosko said. “HSUS is basically PETA with a nicer wristwatch.

“It’s ultimately not going to be enough to tell Ohioans the truth about who you are,” he added. “Someone has to tell the public the truth about your enemies, too. If HSUS’ leaders were honest about their objectives, hardly any Americans would send them money.”

The difference

He said the difference between the two organizations is rather simple: brand marketing.

“PETA is HSUS,” Martosko said.

He added the HSUS is a humane society in name only.

“Wayne Pacelle (president and CEO of HSUS) wants to reduce animal agriculture and will use any tool to get there,” Martosko said.

War, not battle

He added it will be an endless war with HSUS because it will be impossible to fully pacify any animal rights group.

However, Martosko said those involved in animal agriculture need to fight back by increasing the public perception of agriculture and lowering the perception of HSUS and PETA.

“Tell the truth about HSUS,” Martosko said. He encouraged farmers to explain to the public where the organization spends its money and other facts that are easily found on the Internet.

He added the HSUS is the scariest threat to ever face agriculture producers.

“Either you believe in farming or you don’t. Either you are willing to defend it or you are not,” Martosko told the crowd.

American Humane Association

American Humane Association chairman David Geis and Tim Amlaw, vice president of the American Humane Certified farm animal program, shared the organization’s commitment to helping Ohio’s new Livestock Care Standards Board establish science-based auditing, education and operations practices.

The American Humane Certified Program has guidelines farms must follow to be certified and uses a scientific advisory committee to help establish the guidelines.

Farm certification

The organization certifies over 50 farms in Ohio, mainly egg layer farms.

An auditing process is used for the certification process and all auditors have an agriculture background.

Online and on-site training is provided to the farm and its employees.

The organization also discussed how the certification program works for marketing the farm as well. It represents to buyers what the live side standards are for raising the livestock and lets the buyer (ex. McDonald’s) know that they are just as important as the after life.

Control points

The American Humane Certification program looks at critical control points in farming such as the bird health (egg layer), feed availability, access to water and available space to the birds such as the flooring used, perch availability and dust system.

The group also said video monitoring systems is becoming very popular, with 300 in use so far on farms.

Amlaw said it is important for the organization to stand behind science.

“What’s good for animals, is good for people and it’s good for business,” Amlaw said.

Science changes

He added the organization uses science but acknowledged it changes and an organizations standards have to change along with it.

Amlaw said the regulations of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board will have to be a “living document,” meaning changes will have to made for producers and animals as new science comes out in the future.

About the Author

Kristy Foster Seachrist lives in Columbiana County raising sheep and horses. She earned her degree from Youngstown State University and has worked in both print and broadcast journalism. You can follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/fosterk96. More Stories by Kristy Foster Seachrist

2 Comments

  1. mary gibson says:

    Where was American Humane and Farm Bureau for the past 75 years that animals have been kept in Ohio?
    The problems erupted when greed entered the picture of animal care. Industrial farms being prevalent for the past 25 years is really the issue. Animals are not ball-bearings and should be kept as the good Lord intended, on pasture, not cramped into cages so they have no room to turn around, or in gestation crates. I have no problems eating an animal I know has enjoyed a good life. Lets be real folks and admit industrial farms are morally wrong. If the farmer does not live on the farm and do the day to day operation of work, it is, in my opinion not a farm.

  2. Josh S. says:

    “should be kept as the good Lord intended” Mary G.
    I will admit I don’t read the bible as much as I should, but I would like to know were that is. Following your Logic Mary I hope you are living where the good lord intended. Maybe under a tree or a cave with no AC and only a fire on the colder nights.

    Yes, I think Bible teaches to treat all animals with respect. Yes, there are bad farmers out there, but do you think the bad farmers will be better if the animals are outside during the cold winter or a hot summer. No matter how much room they have. This board will help to teach these farmers how to things right or kick them out.

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