Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Escalating war between Humane Society and animal agriculture makes small farmers choose

The Humane Society of the United States is on a roll, having "won more than 25 statewide ballot initiatives since 1990, from banning mourning dove hunting in Michigan to the prohibition of veal crates in Arizona," according to its website, as cited by Bill Bishop in the Daily Yonder. HSUS's success, particularly passage of limits on confined animal agriculture in seven states, has sparked a strong reaction by farm lobbies, creating "an all-consuming battle between HSUS and its opponents, most of whom are in rural America," Bishop writes. We first wrote about the war here.

HSUS’s tactics are too divisive, Tim Gibbons, communications director for the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, told Kristen Hinman of the Riverfront Times in St. Louis: "They're causing the industry to say, 'You're either for us, or you're for the Humane Society.' And that's not the truth. . . . There is another position out there, and that's having independent family farmers raising livestock ethically on open, competitive markets. It's good for a state, and for farmers, and our national security, and for a whole multitude of reasons it's good for the economy."

Bishop concludes, "This division is forcing small farmers to choose between big agricultural interests and the Humane Society — when neither has the best interest of the small producer at heart." (Read more) The Animal Agriculture Alliance is holding its ninth annual Stakeholders Summit in Washington Wednesday and Thursday.

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