Monday, February 09, 2009

Livestock-industry supporters step up advocacy in light of state animal rights legislation

Activism among livestock producers is on the rise, following the passage of Proposition 2 in California, a measure placing minumum standards for confinement of animals.

Take, for instance, Troy and Stacy Hedrick, South Dakota ranchers who now spend much of their time advocating for their industry. As fifth-generation farmers, the Hadricks worry that their children might not get a chance to ranch. “That [opportunity] might not be there if people don’t start standing up and defending this industry and telling the truth about this industry,” Troy Hedrick told Andrea Cook of the Rapid City Journal. They have traveled to 10 states speaking about what they do through Advocates for Agriculture, a public speaking group they founded.

Livestock-industry activists say advocacy is necessary to counteract the work of organizations such as the well-funded Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, both of which provided significant financial support to the campaign for Proposition 2 and seek similar restrictions elsewhere. “People do believe what we have to say,” Nebraska cattle and pig farmer Hilary Maricle said. “But, we’re very good at being too polite and not speaking up. We have to speak up or someone else is going to tell our story, and it won’t be accurate." (Read more)

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