Ohioans, get ready for another HSUS battle


Is anyone really surprised Wayne Pacelle doesn’t get it?

Pacelle, the CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), can’t seem to understand that “The Agreement” forged last summer by his group, former Gov. Ted Strickland, and Ohio’s major livestock associations was not a binding document — it was a set of recommendations to the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.

“Recommendations will be made to the legislature…” “Recommendations will be made to the OLCSB…” read the individual agreement points.

And recommendations are just that — recommendations. I can recommend to my boss that I get a raise, but it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. Even though I happen to think that’s a really sound recommendation, he may have more information at his disposal when making his decision than I do.

The representatives crafting The Agreement were not members of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, which is charged with listening to all recommendations from all bodies and individuals to create state standards for the care of Ohio livestock.

In my opinion, board members have faced a task of Herculean proportions and have done it professionally, sincerely and thoughtfully. I wouldn’t want that job.

March 1, after weighing all recommendations, listening to testimonies, and researching issues carefully, the board voted 6-5 to allow individual confinement of veal calves up to 10 weeks of age. And the closeness of the vote tells me that no member made his decision lightly.

The board’s autonomy doesn’t seem to matter to Pacelle and the HSUS. In a statement issued March 2, Pacelle said, “There is still time for the Livestock Board to restore its original and proper position. A phase-out of veal crates is a core element of the eight-point animal welfare agreement, and if the Livestock Board guts that provision… we will have little choice but to renew the effort for a ballot initiative…”

In other words, yes, we’ll say we’ll negotiate with agriculture, but if we don’t get our way, we’re not going to play nice anymore.

I don’t think Pacelle and HSUS have any interest in supporting “the mission and purpose of the OLCSB,” even though that’s in The Agreement, too, and even though they said they did.

This is the group, after all, that has a stated goal of “reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods” and “replacing meat and other animal-based foods in the diet with plant-based foods.”

Their “animal welfare” concern is a mere front for their real agenda, which is converting the world to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. They won’t be satisfied until livestock production of any type is eliminated. Sounds extreme, I’ll admit, but not that far-fetched.

And so, get ready for the signatures on file with the Ohio Secretary of State to come out of the vault. Get ready for a much-edited, nasty veal farm video to magically appear. Get ready for TV ads that show farmers as villains. Get ready for the cute puppy ads that generate millions of dollars for HSUS even though the group has little to do with local humane societies or pet adoption. Get ready for letters in newspapers, for online comments, and for a public relations smear campaign. And get ready for a court battle if any final standards don’t meet with HSUS approval.

The opposition is not going to go away. I suggest we also get ready to fight to maintain our privilege of livestock farming. If we don’t, someone may someday “recommend” we’re no longer needed.



By Susan Crowell


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!


  1. Yes, the agreement was between HSUS and the Ohio Farm Bureau (OFBF), not the Livestock Board; however, what the author fails to recognize (or know?) is that the OFBF agreed to recommend standards that afforded calves mobility, then turned around and recommended that the board CHANGE their position and vote to tether and immobilize calves. OFBF sent a letter to the Livestock Care Standards Board in the eleventh hour urging the Board to change it’s previous two votes in favor of prohibiting tethers to now allow it. What is this veal farm footage we are so afraid will come out? It doesn’t need edited – veal crates deny these animals of basic movement and any farmer who cares about his or her animals is against them. Even the veal footage that caused the uproar last year by the animal rights group Mercy for Animals was simply animals in their crates, but people was disgusted with what they saw. The agreement between OFBF and HSUS was already a compromise and doesn’t address the worst abuse in our state: battery cages, among other outdated practices. If passed as OFBF now recommends – in direct conflict with OFBF’s agreement with HSUS – the animals will still be incapable of merely turning around and cleaning themselves. Who is the OFBF protecting? The animals or only proposed profit margins not reflected by the veal farmers who have already removed the crates from their farms and done so successfully?

    • You obviously know NOTHING about farm animals-period. It has been proven by unbiased scientific studies that it is best for individual stalls and crates for calves-and, THEY DO NOT SUFFER IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM…they are COMPLETELY CONTENT. Stop spreading your false animal rights propaganda.

      Farmers are with their animals 24/7 and they are the ones MOST KNOWLEGABLE on animal care-NOT some pathetic Washington DC based animal rights group that have NEVER been around farm animals. If animals are stressed in any way, they will not grow or produce-this is not profitable for farmers-so farmers make every effort to give animals the best care…there is so little profit in agriculture (despite what the animal rights activists say) that every animal counts to a farmer, and if they are to stay in business animals must be properly cared for-which they truely are. The HSUS and other AR groups want to make people believe that we farmers are some kind of cruel, vicious monster who only care about profits, and raise animals because we hate them and want to torture them…Nothing is farther from the truth. The miniscule amount of money we do make many times amounts to far less than minimum wage when divided by the hours we put in. Many of us actually are below the federal povery line…we farm because we truely enjoy our animals and way of life. Wayne Pacelle makes more than a quarter million dollars a year to attack us farmers-this is money people donate thinking that it will be used to help animal shelters care for cats and dogs. He cares so much for animals that he doesnt even have any, and has called for many to be put to death. And, by the way, the OVERWHELMING amount of money used to attack us farmers in Ohio has actually been donated from HSUS-NOT-I repeat-NOT from Ohio residents.

      HSUS has repeatedly lied to get their signatures for their ballot measure-while PAYING over $1.70 PER SIGNATURE to hired thugs to get these signatures collected. We ALL need to ban together and get THE TRUTH out and expose HSUS for the vile fraud it is.

      • Actually Fed-Up you are not quite correct…the fact is that most farmers are doing better than the average American, BUT it is because they live more simple lives and appreciate the difference between a want and a need. They also, for the most part, supplement their incomes with second he based businesses (women might sell Avon, or Nutrasupplements, have a MLM business or do computer based work) or the family as a whole might have another business that gets them through the snow season, like clearing snow or have a welding company, etc.

        Its not good for people in our industry to get mad, we just need to state the facts – some people cannot be changed or adopt new ways of thinking – yes, some are brainwashed basically. They run on emotions, don’t see the value of farm subsidies because they probably don’t study or read the executive reports which clearly state the benefits of them on tariffs, keeping food American grown so we don’t have to import more food, etc. Fact is most farmers get $1000-2000 assistance and the money is well spent at a time when fuel prices alone can sink them in a bad year. Farmers and ranchers have a few good years, yes….and many bad years – people who enjoy American grown foods must remember this and factor it in.

        There are facts about raising veal calves and practices not even mentioned anywhere here – I will not address those as I figure people can go do their own research a little and be more responsible. We totally agree that farmers and growers take care of their animals – know so many who would bring a sick calf home…as in HOME….to keep it comfy and well cared for versus leaving it outside where weather or the stress of being around other animals might not be good, or be unsafe.

      • Aggie-I will agree to disagree-but that was not the point of my comment or this commentary so I wont get into that…My point was that these AR groups continually attack us farmers commonly using the ploy that we are so intent on making money that we abuse our animals to obtain vast wealth-of course, there are no farmers on or anywheres near the Forbes Fortune 500 list. They attemmpt to make us appear cruel and non-caring money hungry monsters who ONLY raise animals to gain profit from them-which, of course, is NOT true in any way, shape or form.
        Yes-there are more than one way to raise specific livestock, but each farm needs to run its own business their way-NOT to be dictated from some evil, out of town animal rights group with an ultimate agenda to eliminate all animal use.

  2. Great article Susan and right on the mark. HSUS has been looking for a reason to break the “agreement” because they didn’t get what they wanted to start with. They have been using the exotic animal industry as a pawn against the Ag Industry since July. I think the board should be allowed to make their own decisions based on sound information, not pleas from groups that hide their identities behind false names such as “Ohioans” for Humane Farms where one of the co-directors is not even an Ohioan to start with.

    I think it is great that OFBF is actually taking a look at the true information and not the “signatures” that were gathered against them. Jack Fisher, continue to stand your ground. This battle isn’t just over Ag, it’s over all animal ownership; dogs, cats, exotics and Farm. We need to all stand together.

    I say lets certify these “signatures” that were gathered in part under false pretenses, by some out of state paid animal activists and in at least 2 cases, very profane and obscene individuals. Let’s see how many of those signatures are actually valid, I know people that have already asked their name be removed because they were lied to about the ballot language. Susan is exactly right. This battle is coming, has been since last July, it was just a matter of when HSUS could say they didn’t agree with something, I believe it was statement #10 on the “agreement”. I for one am tired of listening to animal owners being dragged down when there is no just cause or proof.

  3. Great story Susan I will cover your back I have been fighting animal rights groups for 20 plus years I am bitting bit to go whole hog to battle

    • I believe Terry Ward having no definition of Animal Rights like I believe Wayne Pacelle doesn’t deposit HSUS donations into his pension.

  4. We continue to wonder why everyone is afraid to offer their version of the meaning of ‘animal rights’.
    Is it a secret?
    Answering a question with a question means you do not have an answer.
    Or that the answer is a secret.
    Why is the meaning of ‘animal rights’ a secret?

  5. The ballot initiative was put on hold, due to “the agreement”. Renegging on the FB and the Board’s part will ruin their credibility… and meat consumers will lose all trust in them.
    The article said to get ready for a “smear” campaign. I wouldn’t call informing the public about how their meat is raised a “smear”, just the truth. If the truth doesn’t bother the consumer, then they will continue to shop for, and eat the meat as is. But if they don’t like it, there will be more animal welfare advocates coming forth to help make needed changes.

    • First off Sookie, the board never agreed to anything. They were elected in by Ohio Voters, they are by no means bound to any agreement by a former governor, OFBF or Wayne. We elected them to review all information and make the best possible sound decision on the scientific and actual information, not just because people with no experience in farming think it’s wrong.

      Second, AR’s only know how to conduct smear campaigns. They take unauthorized video/pictures and twist the truth to fit their agenda and lead the public down a path that is not valid. If it wasn’t a smear campaign then organizations like HSUS would show the whole entire video, not 30 or less seconds of footage to twist the perception to their point of view.

    • You want to dictate the terms but not take any responsibility, Sookie.
      Tell me how many Holstein bull calves you are going to ‘adopt’ on Jan. 1, 2018? I have no reason to not believe that you are an intelligent individual; answer the question:

      What will happen to the 23,000 bull calves if these Veal farmers are not caring for them?

      Our concern is that it will just be like pushing through the ban on Horse Slaughter. Bad for the animals, bad for the animal owners while lining the pockets of the A/R groups in the process.

      The OFB did not go back on the ‘Agreement’. It said “transition to Group pens”. No turn around, no tether language in the “Agreement”.
      Even your own Karen Minton stood up and endorsed the prior Veal draft on November 2, 2010 that allowed the calves to be individually housed the first 10 weeks.

      Let’s talk about keeping the Agreement. What about HSUS?
      Here is what the “Agreement” says:

      “Organizations representing Ohioans for Livestock Care and the HSUS will examine and jointly fund independent research projects and studies to identify best practices and to work for the highest farm animal care and welfare standards. If assistance of a third party is needed they will jointly agree on a representative to help in these discussions. When this work is complete, the findings will be presented to the OLCSB.”

      So when is HSUS going to live up to their committment?

      I am not OK with the “Agreement”, but both parties made committments.
      Where is HSUS in fulfilling their committment?
      Is making threats to Ohio Agriculture part of that committment?

      Answer these questions Sookie, then we will know if and how we can mutually go forward from here.

  6. KeithC, Most of the people that signed my petitions were angry that the Board was snuck in. They felt like they were fooled, bamboozled into it with Issue 2, and grabbed the petition and pen before I could even speak any further. So they might have voted for it, but they had no idea what they were voting for with the “Board”.
    As far as smear campaigns with undercover video obtained at farms…they cannot show all the footage on air because it’s far too long. They show the worst of it, I am sure. But how can you say this is all contrived?? The video is what it is! Webcams are cheap. Why not require that all farms have cameras? Don’t keep the consumer in the dark. If everything is on the “up and up”, then there should be no problem with an open-door policy at the farms and slaughterhouses.
    There are many ways to make changes in the farms business that will work for farmers, consumers and the ethical treatment of animals.

    • Ah but there is the catch isn’t it Sookie. AR’s want camera’s everywhere so they can complain about everything because they nothing.

      How was the Board “snuck” in? The language was plain as day prior to the 2009 vote. Everyone I’ve talked to said they were lied to about the petition. Only after reading the actual petition did they not sign because they were told it was to stop puppy mills but there is nothing in the petition about puppy mills.

      Additionally, you lump all animal owners into 1 category, that is typical of ARA’s. You don’t see owners as individuals nor weigh them on their own merits. If one person does wrong, then all are.

    • Don’t worry Sookie, my property has video covering every part of it, building and the main road out front. You won’t be visiting my place without me knowing about it and then i’ll be sure to forward that video to the police and have the tresspassor arrested.

    • Why stop at forcing farmers to have cameras watching their every move?? With so much child abuse and molestation, EVERY HOUSE- including yours-should have round the clock surveillance in EVERY ROOM-including bedrooms and bathrooms. As you say, if everyone is on the “up and up” NO ONE should have a problem with being surveilled 24/7 and have no privacy in order to protect children from being abused and molested-even from you. This is ABSOLUTELY NO DIFFERENT than requiring farmers to post cameras. Lets not have two sets of rules-what is good for one is good for the other. When you are ready to put up your surveillance cameras in every room in YOUR house, we can sit down together and pick out an independant party to monitor…perhaps the National Enquirer??

      • HSUS recevies “donations” from the public therefore, camera’s with audio should be setup in every office/conference room at every Animal Right’s organization so the public knows what is being done with their money.

      • Well, Terry..first of all, you have no clue what you are talking about. Over 2/3 of the US farm bill goes to food stamps-and I dont know of any farmer who receives them, although I wont say that none ever has. Many government credits are issued at tax time to lower income taxes paid by middle and lower tax bracket people, and MANY more grants of every type are given to the general population…it is a safe bet to say that, in some way, EVERY US citizen has been given some type of government help in their life…Secondly, what does the welfare of children have to do with what money the government doles out?? What about the children that are at places you deem are “off limits” because the landowner hasnt received government help…are they any less valuable than those who may be at homes helped by government???
        Farmers do not like being accused of being animal abusers simply because we value privacy. There is NO DIFFERENCE between the logic of forcing serveillance on us or you to protect animals or children, although most of us place the value of child above that of an animal.

  7. FFA73, I am not the expert you may think I am, but I’ll just answer your question with an analogy. The “medical business” would be alot cheaper if they skipped the antibiotics prior to surgery, skipped the pain killers and any necessary prior testing needed on people requiring surgery, even did away with simple handwashing to save money. If they cut all corners and had a “get em in, and get em out” mentality. People would pay less, but they would get what they pay for.
    We could pay alot less for cars if they cut corners and did away with the windshields. But wouldn’t you rather pay more for a car that was made right?
    You might need to make changes that affect the price of beef, milk and animal products, and the consumer would need to pay more. Is that a bad thing? There weren’t factory farms cranking out 23,000 bullcalves 40 years ago. People ate less meat. Animals for food today are treated like a commodity and this is not okay with the consumers. Even if they like to eat meat and dairy products, they want the animals treated humanely and they don’t want unhealthy meat loaded with antibiotics and hormones. This cannot be done in a factory type setting.
    In the mad rush to make money in the meat business, someone forgot that these are animals. They need room to move around. They cannot and should not be tied to a crate by the neck. It might mean less meat on the plate, but it will also mean less waste. Cheap meat comes at a high price…for the consumers’ health, the environment and the animals’ treatment.

    • Sookie,

      Bruce Friedrich, PETA VP of Policy wrote in a Huffington Post essay (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-friedrich/getting-from-a-to-z-why-p_b_825612.html):

      “If your society doesn’t grant animals any respect at all, how are you going to change that society into a vegan one — people don’t care enough about animals to ensure that they can spread their wings; how can they care about eating them? But once society says, ‘yes, chickens have interests that matter enough to codify them in law,’ it should be only a matter of time before society also realizes that eating them at all is unjustifiable.”


      “[W]orking toward welfare reforms has the immediate benefit of helping improve animals’ lives today and acts as a crucial stepping stone toward animal liberation.”

      So, moderate animal-welfare reforms is part of a larger strategy for achieving total animal “liberation”. Is that not exactly the strategy the Humane Society of the United States is pursuing?

      2008, HSUS paid out to get Prop 2 in California passed, changing the law. 2010-11 has HSUS here in Ohio pushing for a ballot initiative for multiple Farm Animal reforms. 2011 see’s HSUS pursuing a much more intense version of Prop 2 in Washington State.

      Please Sookie, as an HSUS Activist, tell us how what you are doing does not relate to PETA’s views.

  8. KeithC…how it was snuck in….”Issue 2 on the November ballot is an industry attempt to change the Ohio state constitution, establishing a “Livestock Care Standards Board” that would have unchecked power to establish standards for livestock and poultry. Technically the product of the Ohio General Assembly, the ballot issue is heavily backed by groups representing major agribusiness interests, including the Ohio Farm Bureau and The Ohio Pork Producers Council. While masquerading as an attempt to improve food safety and animal welfare, Issue 2 in reality is an attempt by big industry to preempt statewide initiatives like the recent Proposition 2 in California, which phased out problematic animal production practices like battery cages for chickens. In effect, the proposed Livestock Care Standards Board would give a dozen political appointees broad and unchecked power to decide rules on animal welfare, potentially reshaping regulations on how animals are raised, tracked or traced.” (Source: Ohioact.org)

    • Issue 2 Sookie, the same California issue that put how many business under and then HSUS filed lawsuites against the remaining ones to shut them down. The Board was voted in to stop stupidity like Issue 2 that shuts down agribusinesses.

      Secondly, they people I know, nor myself, were not confusing anything. We knew both petitions where out there and refused to sign either one because both are only ways for rich spoiled people with no lives to be able to control the hard working middle class that gets up everyday to take care of their animals regardless of the weather or temperature.

  9. Butch, that’s wonderful that you have cameras on your property and hopefully throughout your farm. But to be truly accountable for how you work things, the cameras should be monitored by a independent impartial company.

  10. KeithC, I can’t speak for all petition gatherers, but all the people who signed for me knew exactly what they were signing for. There were other groups out gathering signatures to ban puppy mills. This may be what you are referring to. Most people happily and readily signed for both petitions.

  11. I have a camera on me all day “at work” and they are monitored all the time. I’m on the clock, and being paid. If farming is your business, and the consumer is buying your product, then cameras should be installed.

    • Our barns and out buildings ARE PRIVATE PROPERY-AND EXTENSIONS OF OUR HOUSES-most of us spend more time in them than in our living rooms and kitchens. Our animals ARE PRIVATE PROPERTY- NOT IN ANY WAY GOVERNMENT OWNED-PERIOD!!!! You may be under surveillance because the place you work at BY THEIR OWN REGULATIONS makes it mandatory, or it is a government job under the government regulation or perhaps deals with the public and is used for security purposes. If consumers want food from animals raised under surveillance, they ALREADY HAVE THE RIGHT to purchase animal products from these places. Most children are abused and molested inside homes…if we as a society want to insure that no child is molested or abused, ALL houses should be monitored, including YOURS. Are you also afraid of what might come up on the surveillance tape??? Why are YOU so against monitoring YOU but feel that farmers should be monitored??? Typical animal rights “thinking”…not only value the lives of animals above that of people, but have two sets of rules…force us farmers to “prove” our “innocence”, but you are above your own “laws” and exempt from any investigations.


We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.