Wednesday, March 31, 2010

HSUS is Anti-Meat

The HSUS says they aren't anti-meat or pro-vegan. However, this little video seems to suggest a different story.

Ethics of Factory Farms

Ethics of Factory Farms
Purposeful Dairy Practices Draw Public Criticism
March 31, 2010 - 3:53am
By Katerina Athanasiou
Cornell Sun

From Food, Inc. to Michael Pollan’s novels, in recent years, the public at large has criticized agriculture. Often, the public portrays farmers as villains. Busy farmers frequently remain unheard in the media. Recently, ABC ran a special with the headline, “Got Milk? Got Ethics? Animal Rights v. U.S. Dairy Industry.”

This upset students from farming backgrounds, like Kelly Lee ’13 from Mill Wheel Farm in Johnson Creek, Wisconsin. She said, “I was really upset that was the portrayal of the dairy industry. That was one farm in one instance, where things weren’t up to standard. Most arms in the US use healthy and responsible management practices.”

Prof. Michael Van Amburgh, animal science, is advisor of the Cornell University Dairy Science Club (CUDS). He suggested that many of the negative perceptions of dairy farmers emerge due to public opinion of animal welfare.

He believes that public view of animal treatment is caused by “anthropomorphism,” or the allocation of human qualities to animals. For example, animal images infiltrate popular culture through the personification of animals in books and cartoons. From these sources, the public generates the notion that animals have needs that parallel those of humans. Read More

When people use emotion to come to a conclusion on an issue they normally don’t come up with the best one. When it comes to raising livestock with modern production techniques, many people falsely think that how it was done several generations ago was the best way. The advancements that have been made were for the benefit of the livestock as well as the people they feed. It’s a great example of why it’s so important for all farmers and ranchers to introduce themselves to the consumer and explain to them what they do and why they do it.

Congress Learns About Livestock Antibiotic Use

AVMA Briefs Congress On Importance Of Antibiotics

US - The nation's largest veterinary association briefed Congress yesterday (29 March) on the uses of antibiotics and how they help protect animal health, providing in-depth scientific information on the necessity of antibiotic use for preventing and treating disease in companion animals and livestock.

Two educational sessions were held by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) with honorary hosts Representative Kurt Schrader, DVM, (Oregon) and Senator John Ensign, DVM, (Nevada), the only veterinarians serving in Congress. The discussions allowed congressional staffers to learn about when and how veterinarians utilise antibiotics to keep both food supply animals and household pets disease-free.

Speaking at the briefings as an expert in livestock medicine, Dr Lloyd Keck, a worldwide animal health consultant to the poultry industry and former AVMA Congressional Science Fellow, dispelled arguments related to human antibiotic-resistance risks.

Dr Keck said: "Antibiotics are necessary for veterinarians to protect the health and well-being of animals. Benefits to animals and people outweigh the current risk associated with bacterial resistance. Going forward, we need to let good sense and good science guide this issue." Read More

For those who raise livestock, keeping them healthy is your job. Restricting the use of antibiotics would prevent them from doing that job. The idea that you should let animal get really sick before you could start treating them flies in the face of good animal husbandry. Not only that but keeping our livestock healthy is also an important step in keeping ourselves healthy.

Farmers Donate 12 Million Eggs

Egg Farmers Team up with Feeding America to Feed Nation's Hungry During Easter

ALPHARETTA, Ga., March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- America's egg farmers are lending a helping hand to their local communities this Easter by teaming up with Feeding America to donate 12 million eggs to food banks across the country. The eggs donations will span approximately 90 cities in 33 states leading up to Easter on April 4.

According to a 2009 report on food insecurity from the United States Department of Agriculture, the number of Americans at risk of hunger is a staggering one in six, with an increase from 2007 to 2008 of 13 million people. The number of children at risk of hunger is now an alarming one in four. Feeding America is annually providing food to 37 million Americans, including 14 million children. Fresh items, such as eggs, are always a prized item for food banks due to their dense nutritional and high protein content.

"Many of our clients are having to decide between food and other basic necessities, such as paying the rent or a utility bill," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America. "Receiving the gift of eggs, which have always been an important staple in the American diet, is a tremendous help at this time of year."

This marks the third year in a row United Egg Producers and Feeding America, the nation's food bank network, are teaming up to help ensure America's food banks are well stocked with nutrient-dense eggs. The nationwide partnership will help feed the nearly 49 million men, women and children in America who are at risk of hunger. Read More

Farmers and ranchers have always put a high value on being active in their communities. Part of that commitment is supporting local food banks. Egg farmers from across the country are once again donating to help those who struggle to put food on their tables. With 49 million people in the United States in danger of being hungry, the last thing we need are food elitists lobbying for reduced production and higher food prices.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Pacelle Is Paranoid of "Paranoid" Agriculture

HSUS calls ag response “paranoid”
March 29, 2010 by Julie Harker
Brownfield Ag Network

Increasing efforts to restrict livestock industry practices by animal rights groups in the U.S. are defended by the head of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Wayne Pacelle recently spoke with Brownfield, “All of our campaigns related to food animal production are about humane production standards, humane transport and humane slaughter. I mean, I defy anyone to show me any statement where we say we want to eliminate animal agriculture.”

Pacelle says concerns in agriculture that HSUS campaigns to crack down on irresponsible dog breeders, like the one in Missouri, have anything to do with livestock agriculture are unfounded. Pacelle says, “It’s an irrational and paranoid response.”

Pacelle says the goal of HSUS is not to shut down livestock production but to improve the treatment of animals raised for food. Members of ag groups in states such as Ohio and Missouri continue to work toward stopping what they say are HSUS attempts to eventually shut down livestock production in their states.

Dale Ludwig is one of the leaders of the Missouri Animal Ag Coalition and is the Executive Director of the Missouri Soybean Association. He tells Brownfield one only need to look at the track record of HSUS in other states, where they often start with an issue that deals with pets, raise vast sums of money, then follow up with additonal regulations on animal agriculture. “I think they continue to misrepresent what the facts are and they can say things like we are paranoid,” says Ludwig. “All you have to do is look at what they have done in other places” and ” you could make the assumption that’s what they will do here.” Read More

You can always tell what the biggest threat is to an organization by what they are focusing their time on. In this case HSUS is losing supporters like rats off a sinking ship. That is why we have seen Wayne doing so many interviews with ag media as of late trying to portray him and the HSUS as the victims in this debate. He wouldn’t be playing this card if it weren’t for the impact that everyone is contributing to. They are quickly learning that no amount of slick advertising can compete with the individual stories and influence that farmers and ranchers can have.

AZ Rancher Killed

Arizona Rancher's Killing Sparks Calls to Beef Up Border Security

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is under pressure to beef up border security in the Southwest in the wake of Saturday's killing of a rancher in southeastern Arizona.

Three members of New Mexico's congressional delegation have asked for an increase in the Border Patrol's presence in the Boot Heel of New Mexico, about 10 miles from where the rancher was shot to death over the weekend. U.S. Sens. Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, along with Rep. Harry Teague, say Napolitano's agency needs to take more security steps.

And former Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, called on Napolitano to "reject politics and do the right thing" by dispatching the National Guard to the Arizona border.

Cochise County Sheriff's Office deputies and detectives responded to an area northeast of Douglas on Saturday after searchers found the body of 58-year-old Robert Krentz inside his all terrain vehicle on his property. Detectives were able to determine that Krentz apparently came upon one person when he was fatally shot and his dog was wounded.

Cochise County investigators said Monday that Krentz likely was killed by an illegal immigrant, but there's no evidence to suggest there was any confrontation that led to the shooting. Read More

The role of the government is to protect it’s citizens and borders. In this case, they did neither. Even after being fully aware of the problems that were occurring. If we don’t protect our ranchers that live close to the border, you might as well just give that land back to Mexico. I realize it’s a big undertaking, but isn’t protection your own country worth it?

MO Moves Closer to Harvesting Horses

Mo. House endorses legislation seeking to bypass federal ban on horse slaughter inspections
By Associated Press
6:08 PM CDT, March 29, 2010

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri House has endorsed legislation designed to allow the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

The legislation is intended to get around a federal ban on meat inspectors working in horse slaughtering plants.

The House bill would levy fees on slaughterhouses that the state would then transfer to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was approved by voice vote Monday and needs another vote before moving to the Senate.

Congress has barred federal funds from being spent by USDA to inspect horse slaughtering plants.The horse meat bill also includes a provision aimed at blocking initiative petitions restricting agriculture. Link

As the horse market continues to reside in the cellar and unwanted horses burden so many individuals and government entities there are efforts still moving forward to re-instate the harvesting of horses. Since the practice ended in the United States, the number of horses that are suffering has skyrocketed. It’s a classic example of what happens when emotional decisions meet the real world.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

UN Report Debunked Again

Eat Less Meat, Reduce Global Warming -- or Not

Reducing consumption of meat and dairy products might not have a major impact in combating global warming despite claims that link diets rich in animal products to production of greenhouse gases.

Save the planet, eat less meat ... right? That's what the U.N. said, anyway, but one scientist has a grade A beef with that claim.

The largely reported link between global warming and cattle farming -- propagated by a United Nations report on "Livestock's Long Shadow" -- was also largely inaccurate, explains one scientist.

In a presentation before the 239th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California said the misleading claims emanate from a 2006 U.N. report, which said that livestock was "responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions," describing the figure as "a larger share than transportation."

According to Mitloehner, the claim is inaccurate because the numbers for livestock were calculated differently from the transport figures.

In the report, the livestock emissions included gases produced by growing animal feed; animals' digestive emissions; and processing meat and milk into foods. But the transportation analysis factored in only emissions from fossil fuels burned while driving, and not all other transport-lifecycle related factors.

"This lopsided analysis is a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue," he said. Read More

Since the UN report came out, we have been telling anyone who would listen that the claims of livestock destroying the planet weren’t accurate. Finally, as more of the claims about global warming continue to be debunked, so do the claims about the role of livestock. Livestock aren’t destroying the planet, they are feeding the planet. They are turning raw, human-indigestible products and turning them into an incredibly nutrient-dense consumable protein source. That’s the real story that needs to be told and celebrated. Every time I think about this incredible process it makes me proud to be part of it.

Friday, March 19, 2010

HSUS Legislation in Congress

HSUS supports bill to re-define animal cruelty
John Maday Monday, March 08, 2010

U.S. Representatives Diane Watson (D-Calif.) and Elton Gallegly (R-Calif.) introduced H.R. 4733, the “Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act,” last week. The bill would set federal standards regulating housing and animal treatment on operations that supply food to government purchases such as the School Lunch program. The Humane Society of the United States immediately issued a release praising the proposed bill.

Such a law would, in practice, apply to virtually all livestock operations, since the USDA purchased food from packers and processors, not from farms. Without full traceability of every product back to its farm or ranch of origin, packers would need to require compliance from all their suppliers to continue selling meat or dairy products to the government.

The HSUS release is available online. Link to Article

I didn’t get this post last week when I was on the road, but I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of this bill. Anyone who follows the HSUS knows that they would love to get federal legislation passed that would accomplish what they have been trying to do on a state-by-state basis. What is probably the most irritating part of this is the title of the bill itself. It implies that unless you change your management practices that you are being cruel to your farm animals. We know that’s not true. Please take a moment to contact your elected officials in Washington DC and visit with them about this bill.

MI Gov Response Lacking

Michigan Governor Response To Meatout Day Interview Request

I just spoke with the Liz Boyd, press secretary for Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. I had called to obtain a short audio interview regarding the Governor’s decision to declare March 20, Michigan Meatout Day. I sincerely appreciate her calling me back so that we can better understand what in the world caused a Governor to make such a resolution.

Liz, however, refused a recorded interview saying it was “unwarranted.” She says that the Governor gets lots of requests to issue such proclamations and this was nothing unusual. She also told me that the request came from a local field representative for Meatout which is a program of FARM, Farm Animal Rights Movement. Their theme this year is, “Eat for Life – Live Vegan!”

Liz than told me the Governor would be issuing another proclamation making Saturday, March 20 a day to celebrate Michigan agriculture. When I asked if she realized that the Governor’s resolution urging citizens to not eat meat was detrimental to Michigan agriculture she acknowledged that it was but said that with March Madness she was sure that lots of burgers and hot dogs would be eaten on Saturday.

Amazing. I would characterize the conversation as “rushed” and had a feeling that she thought my questions and comments were “silly.” Unfortunately when the government takes this kind of thoughtless action it has negative consequences. Michigan’s farmers and ranchers deserve better and I hope they get it.

I would encourage you to let the Michigan Governor know your thoughts. Michigan Farm Bureau and the Michigan Agri-Business Association already have done so publicly. You can leave comments on her Facebook page.

There are some states where having the governor promote a meatless day wouldn’t surprise me. Michigan, however, wouldn’t be one of them. In a state with a destroyed economy that has nothing but agriculture propping it up right now, Gov. Granholm decided to attack a portion of that and force it to suffer unnecessarily. Now that the backlash has occurred, they are trying to blow it off as some kind of a joke, refusing even to do an interview about it. I somehow doubt that the people involved in agriculture in Michigan will forget this the next time she asks for their vote.

More Fur in Fashion

Designers embrace fur despite animal rights concerns
March 18, 2010,
Toronto Star,
Debra Black

Despite the recession and the animal rights movement, fur is once more returning to the fashion runways of both Europe and North America.

In New York recently almost two-thirds of the fashion designers at Fashion Week showed work using fur, according to the New York Times. It was widely popular in Europe.

And with Toronto’s LG Fashion Week for Fall/Winter 2010 on the horizon fur will also be front and centre – with the gala fashion show on March 28 the debut of a fur collection of coats, clothing and accessories.

The collection is the brain child of Izzy Camilleri, a Canadian designer known for the red fox coat she designed for Meryl Streep’s character in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, and Adrian Mainella, a fashion journalist and image consultant.

Mainella believes the fashion industry has once more embraced fur because it has a low carbon footprint compared to some synthetic textiles. “People keep it for a lifetime typically,” he said. “A synthetic coat gets donated or thrown away.” The average Canadian, he said, will have between 35 and 50 winter coats made from synthetic materials and not biodegradable. Read More

There is nothing wrong with using our natural resources in a responsible manner and fur is a fantastic resource for humans to use. Many times this actually benefits the species where fur comes from. If you look at animal populations, the ones that are hunted for meat or fur many times have some of the highest populations as well.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MI Governor Declares "Meatout Day"

Granholm's meatless day proclamation grinds Farm Bureau
Mark Hornbeck / Detroit News Lansing Bureau
March 16

Lansing -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm proclaimed Saturday a meatless day, and the Michigan Farm Bureau is having a cow.

Wayne Wood, president of the Farm Bureau, in a tersely worded statement, called the governor's proclamation for Michigan Meatout Day "unconscionable" and "an insensitive slap in the face to Michigan's livestock and dairy farmers, not to mention Michigan's meat-eating residents."

Liz Boyd, Granholm's press secretary, countered that "people may be taking this too seriously."
Boyd explained the governor receives many requests to make proclamations and she tries to accommodate as many as she can. This request came from the Michigan director of the Great American Meatout, she said.

"We've had an agriculture tourism month and an egg farmers' day," Boyd said. "And next month is Michigan Wine Month, although I'm sure some people might find that objectionable."
But Wood is not amused.

"It's inconceivable to us that the governor could stoop to this level of telling people what they should and shouldn't eat based on the philosophies of " he said. 'food elitists,'

"It'd be one thing if Granholm proclaimed a day to promote increased consumption of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. But the governor clearly crossed the line in recklessly singling out meat products for nonconsumption and belittling this wholesome source of protein."


In an almost incomprehensible move, Gov. Granholm of Michigan has declared National Agriculture Day as “Michigan Meatout Day” in her state. The state has been ravaged with unemployment and families that are struggling every day to put food on their tables and she decides to promote an activity that would encourage even more of that to happen. I would suggest that you may want to drop Gov. Granholm a note telling her what you think of her support of veganism.

Affordable Nutrition

Cheap Foods That Are Good For You
Rebecca Ruiz, 03.16.10, 4:00 PM ET

Every few months, the food cognoscenti start touting a new super food for its ability to ward off disease. Hot foods in recent years include wild salmon ($15 a pound and packed with omega-3 fatty acids), antioxidant-loaded leeks ($3 a bunch), and the exotic açaí and goji berries (as much as $20 and $40 per 16 ounces, respectively). These foods are packed with nutrients but can send your grocery bill into the stratosphere.

You can get all the nutrition you need for much less money if you shop carefully. A cup of cooked navy beans has a similar amount of protein as 3 ounces of salmon, and is loaded with more magnesium, phosphorous and potassium. One large orange has almost seven times the amount of vitamin C and more fiber than a cup of raw blueberries, at a small fraction the berries' price this time of year. A $3 bunch of dark green, leafy kale is a big nutritional improvement on watery iceberg lettuce--but broccoli has just as many nutrients at half the price.

These are comparisons that Adam Drewnowski, the director of the Center for Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, has focused on in recent years. To help ordinary Americans who don't have unlimited budgets, Drewnowski has created an index ranking the most affordable healthy foods, ones that are packed with essential nutrients.

Drewnowski favors basic foods that are widely available year-round. His approach is the opposite of one taken by Omnivore's Dilemma author Michael Pollan, who has championed unprocessed, locally grown foods. “These foods give you maximum nutrition per dollar,” Drewnowski says.

Many items that rank high on his list, including milk, broccoli, beans, and tomato juice, won't surprise anyone. Others are a little more curious: Eggs make the cut despite their high cholesterol content because they are cheap and packed with protein and nutrients. Potatoes (skin on) also do well. And a few items on the index are jaw-dropping. If you believe Drewnowski, hamburger is a health food. He maintains that its high levels of protein and affordable price outweigh its huge saturated fat content. Read More

Common sense continues to show that eating a balanced diet which includes items such as meat, dairy and eggs is not only healthy but also affordable. As is typical, the reporter tries to plant a seed of doubt in everyone’s head, however no one can argue that these are very nutrient dense food. Think of them like tasty vitamins.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Celebrating Agriculture

It’s Time To Celebrate Agriculture
03/15/2010 01:14PM

Agriculture has challenges ahead in spades. From individual farm profitability concerns to increasing government regulation on virtually every front to the endless battle against insidious and overt activist group messages, there’s no shortage of issues that pile up.

Still, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s young farmers and ranchers survey conducted last month, despite the challenges, 80 percent of those responding to its 18th annual survey say they are more optimistic than they were five years ago, while 82 percent say they are better off than they were five years ago.

That’s because agriculture remains a huge economic engine from one end of the country to another. The details of this success offer some excellent points to share about agriculture during this National Agriculture Week. This celebration of all things agricultural offers an excellent chance to counteract some of the negativity swirling around production agriculture.

For example, I bet most people don’t know that agriculture employs more than 22 million American workers, or about 17 percent of the total U.S. workforce. Or that agriculture generates 20 percent of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product, that agricultural land provides habitat for 75 percent of the nation’s wildlife, that American consumers spend just 9.3 percent of their annual income on food — the lowest percentage in the world, and that individuals, family partnerships or family corporations operate 99 percent of U.S. farms. Read More

So many times we get wrapped up in the stress of farming and ranching and forget to enjoy it. We have so much to celebrate in agriculture. Food has never been raised more efficiently or safer than it is right now. For ten thousand years humans have been genetically enhancing their crops and livestock, along with learning how to process and store the harvest. So what better time to celebrate this feat than during National Ag Week! If you’ve never taken the opportunity to visit with someone about where their food comes from, this week would be a great time to start.

Jolley: Pacelle, Yellow Tail & Mary Kay

Jolley: Pacelle, Yellow Tail & Mary Kay - What A Tangled Web We Weave
By Chuck Jolley
03/12/2010 07:13AM

My “Five Minutes with Wayne Pacelle” interview was written as a news piece which means loaded questions are not permitted. A loaded question is something like the infamous “Have you quit beating your wife, yet?” It presupposes guilt and gives the respondent no options at claiming innocence.

The comments that came after the interview was published have no such limitations. What makes them interesting is their unedited nature. Anyone can comment and go on the attack or mount a fevered defense. I’ve just reviewed all those cards and letters and found no fevered defenses of Wayne Pacelle or the HSUS. It’s to be expected, of course, considering the vast majority of the Cattlenetwork audience is Ag people who have a serious bone to pick with HSUS.

But here is the real reason. With millions of people chattering constantly on social web sites, it’s impossible to fool all of the people all of the time. Some of the time, maybe. The problem, of course, is people will find out about little excursions with the truth and they get very angry when they do. People who play fast and loose with the facts generally don’t like the harshness of public opinion when they’re found out.

And now we have the most recent incident involving HSUS and their list of corporate sponsors. We all know about the infamous [yellow tail] wine incident. The Australian winery, wishing to curry more favor in the American marketplace, mistakenly contributed $100,000 to HSUS. They thought they were backing a fine, upstanding organization that enjoyed widespread good will and did good works in saving animals in distress.

The backlash started immediately. Using social networking, the Ag community roared its disapproval highlighted by Troy Hadrick’s now famous Youtube video.

Over 12,000 people and a dozen curious cows have watched as he marched into a cattle pen and poured his last bottle of [yellow tail] wine onto the ground.

[yellow tail] blinked and rethought their generosity. America’s cowboys enjoyed their triumph. Then came the Mary Kay debacle.

Time for America’s cowgirls to take center stage. They protested and Mary Kay’s response was quick and to the point.

Maybe it’s time to call the chief execs of each of those companies and ask just two questions: “Do you realize HSUS is using your good name to promote their agenda?” If he does, then the proper follow up question is, “Do you fully understand their agenda?”

A yes to both questions means Troy Hadrick will have to grab one of their products, march back into that cattle pen again and do his thing. Here’s hoping he won’t have to turn his back yard into a solid waste disposal site. Read the Entire Article

I’m with Chuck, I don’t want to have to turn my back yard into a solid waste disposal site either. ~ Troy

HSUS Kicks Off OH Ballot Initiative

Animal Standards Fight Restarts in Ohio
NAFB News Service
Hoosier Ag Today

The Ohio House voted 90 to 0 last week to establish the Ohio Livestock Standards Board. At the same time, Wayne Pacelle was in Ohio to kick off another constitutional ballot issue. The issue, backed by the Humane Society of the United States, would require the farm standards board to ban - extreme confinement - of pigs, chickens and other animals for most of their lives, prohibit using sick or injured cows for human consumption, and eliminate inhumane euthanasia methods.

Under the program, farm owners or operators would be barred from - tethering or confining any calf raised for veal, pig during pregnancy, or egg-laying hen, on a farm, for all or the majority of any day, in a manner that prevents such animal from lying down, standing up, fully extending his or her limbs, or turning around freely. A half-dozen exceptions are listed, including ones for fairs, rodeos and 4-H shows.

If 402,275 valid signatures of Ohio registered voters are collected by June 29, the proposal will be placed on the November ballot as a statewide constitutional issue. Pacelle expects to have, “thousands of volunteers hitting the streets - to gather signatures.” The Ohio Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations that supported Issue 2 last fall have vowed to fight the HSUS proposal. Link

Not wanting to leave the issue of animal welfare and care in the hands of professionals and experts, Wayne Pacelle (who was a history major in college) and the HSUS is launching their ballot initiative in Ohio. They want to force the newly approved and not yet formed Livestock Care Standards Board to accept certain guidelines based on pure emotion and little science. Fortunately it appears that the citizens of Ohio are quite aware that farmers and ranchers are the real experts on animal care. It will be essential to keep the momentum gained from last years vote carrying forward.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Five Minutes With Wayne Pacelle

Jolley: Five Minutes With Wayne Pacelle & The HSUS Controversies
03/05/2010 08:43AM

The last time I interviewed Wayne Pacelle, it was done by phone; a lengthy conversation that took considerably longer than five minutes. This time, when Rachel Querry, his senior director of communications, contacted me and asked if I might be interested in talking with him again, I was of two minds.

First, as a follow up to the David Martosko interview that took HSUS to task for their involvement in the Ringling Brothers suit – an effort that was thrown out of court after almost a decade of high-priced legal wrangling and resulted in the most famous Circus in the world hitting back with a RICO suit – absolutely I was interested! I thought it might make for a fascinating response to the charges leveled by Martosko.

Second, with so much HSUS stuff going on – the news has been chock full of tidbits about things like Prop 2, puppy mills and farrowing crates to name just a few – I didn’t want any misunderstanding between what was asked and what was said to taint the interview. I suggested I submit the questions in writing and Pacelle respond to them the same way. After a quick check, Querry said he would agree.

A few other points about this interview: The judge who dismissed the case against Ringling Brothers did so because he said the main witness against the circus was paid almost $200,000 which puts the validity of his testimony in serious question. Pacelle says he’s disappointed that the case was dismissed on a technical issue and there was a lot of additional testimony backing their claims.

The horse case I asked about has an interesting back story. Denisa Mallott, the woman at the center of the seizure, was first charged with 25 cases of felony abuse. Before the case made it to trial, though, the felony charges were dropped and she’s currently contesting a charge of one misdemeanor. Looking at some of the circumstances surrounding the seizure, I can only assume that an over anxious county sheriff mishandled the case from the start and Mallott is guilty of keeping horses in conditions made muddy by 18 inches of rain, the 100 feet of dry, covered space be damned. More on this one later.

As you read through this interview, you’ll notice several links. To better understand the context of the questions and the answers, please click on those links and read the background materials.

Read More

It’s been interesting watching the HSUS and Wayne Pacelle struggling to defend their organization in so many places at once. They have been unable to generate very few grassroots supporters of their group for online commenting. Instead they have been using paid employees to search for news articles about the HSUS and leave their tired talking points in the comment section. Pacelle himself has had to do several interviews like this in an attempt to minimize the damage being caused by farmers, ranchers, hunters and pet owners when they share the truth about the HSUS with others. I find it a bit humorous how he tries to portray the HSUS, the wealthiest vegan, animal rights group in the world, as being a victim. Pacelle claims to want constructive dialog with ag leaders, but the truth is that farmers and ranchers just need to be having constructive dialog with consumers of their products and then the HSUS become irrelevant.

Swiss Voters Reject Legal Standing for Animals

Swiss voters reject lawyers for animals in referendum
Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a controversial plan to appoint lawyers for animals.

By Alexandra Williams in Geneva
Published: 12:33AM GMT 08 Mar 2010

All of the 26 Swiss cantons on Sunday voted against the proposal by animal rights activists to extend nationwide a system already in place in Zurich.

Overall, just 29.5 per cent of voters were in favour. In seven cantons the "No" vote was more than 80 per cent.

The Alpine country already has among the most stringent animal rights laws in the world.
It recently changed its constitution to protect the "dignity" of plant life and made a law last year establishing rights for creatures such as goldfish and canaries. Pigs, budgies and other social creatures cannot be kept alone; horses and cows must be regularly exercised outside their stalls and dog owners are required to take a training course to learn how to properly care for their pets.

If citizens had voted for the initiative, each canton would have appointed a lawyer to act on behalf of animals at taxpayers' expense. Read More

Last week I shared with you that this vote was taking place. I’m happy to share with you that the attempt to give legal standing to animals in Switzerland failed miserably.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Food Inc. Is More Fantasy Than Documentary

What If Food Inc. Takes Home An Oscar?
03/02/2010 02:02PM

You may not care much about the Academy Awards, but this Sunday (Mar. 7) may be worth a bit of your time; at least pay attention to the “Best Documentary “ category.

Nominated for an Oscar is Food Inc.-- The film that “lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies USDA and FDA.” That’s a promotional line from the film that appeared in theaters for most of last summer.

While you’re not fooled by Food Inc. carrying the label “documentary”, most of the viewing public takes it more literally. The common logic is-- in order for a film to be set apart as a documentary, it has to be truthful—Food Inc. is a documentary, therefore Food Inc. must be truthful.

Between the theater release and DVDs, millions of people have already seen this movie. Too often they walk away believing American farmers are greedy, reckless with food safety and the environment and are forcing unhealthy products upon the public—and U.S. regulators are supporting all of it.

The film is filled with mistruths and misrepresentations. “Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, and the safety of workers and our environment.” Organic is the only sure choice, is one of the messages drilled home. Another tells consumers that they are the only hope to drive change, because the regulators and corporations are in control and don’t care. Read More

It’s troubling that we have so many high-profile people in the many different types of media that are more concerned about personal wealth through activism rather than journalism. Real journalists provide all of the information and allow people to form their own opinions. Wealthy activists like Pollan provide only what he wants his audience to know about and then tells them what to do with it. If Food Inc wins an award this weekend, we will need to view this as an opportunity and motivation to do a better job of sharing the real story of production agriculture.

GM Potatoes Approved in EU

Commission gives green light to genetically-modified potato
Published: 03 March 2010

In a controversial move, the European Commission yesterday (2 March) gave the green light for the first genetically-modified potato to be cultivated in the European Union.

At present, EU member states are able to restrict GM crop cultivation only under strict conditions as authorisation licences are valid across the 27-country bloc, in accordance with the principles of the single EU internal market.

José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, has voiced support for any plan that would allow the Commission to maintain EU-wide authority over GMO safety assessment and approval, while allowing countries the freedom to decide whether to cultivate GM crops.
Yesterday's decision was taken with this principle in mind, as outlined in the political guidelines for the new European Commission.

The EU executive authorised the cultivation in the EU of Amflora, a genetically-modified potato developed by German chemical company BASF.

"Responsible innovation will be my guiding principle when dealing with innovative technologies," said Health and Consumer Policy Commissioner John Dalli.

The decision was based on a series of favourable safety assessments carried out over the years by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

After an extensive and thorough review of five pending GM files, it had become clear that there were no new scientific issues that merited further assessment, as those concerning safety had been fully addressed, the commissioner added. Read More

It’s nice to see the EU actually recognizing sound science as a good resource for their decision making process. That’s normally not the case across the pond. When it comes to genetic modification, the truth is that humans have been doing this for 10,000 years. It’s a good thing we have or we probably wouldn’t be here today.

Giving Human Rights to Animals In Court

National Review: Easy Boy, Your Dog Might Sue
by Wesley J. Smith

March 3, 2010

Should animals, like indigent criminal defendants, be provided with legal representation by the state? It could happen. As Time has reported, on March 7, voters in Switzerland will decide whether to give “domestic creatures . . . the constitutional right to be represented by (human) lawyers in court.”

What? Treating animals at law as if they were human? Don’t laugh. Lest we be tempted to dismiss the referendum as just the latest European post-modernistic folly, the effort to open our own courtrooms to animals is quietly advancing. Indeed, “animal standing,” as the issue is usually called, is at the very top of the animal-rights movement’s policy wish list.

But animals suing? For most people, the very idea is a surreal fantasy out of a Far Side cartoon. But from the viewpoint of animal-rights ideologues, nothing could be more logical. The dogma of animal liberation demands the obliteration of all animal industries and, eventually, the eradication by attrition of all domesticated animals. As Wayne Pacelle stated in 1993 before being appointed to his current post as head of the Humane Society of the United States, “One generation and out. We have no problem with the extinction of domestic animals. They are the product of human selective breeding.”

What could further the eradication goal more dramatically than allowing domesticated animals to sue their owners in court? The real litigants, of course, would be animal-rights activists — committed true believers who would use the raw power of litigation to force animal industries to their knees. Imagine the chaos: hundreds of animal lawyers, filing thousands of lawsuits, leading to hundreds of thousands of depositions, forcing industries to spend tens of millions of dollars on lawyers and legal costs defending their husbandry. No animal industry would be safe, and many would not survive. Read More

Giving animals legal standing in our courts is laughable and very scary. No one knows what an animal is thinking. For humans to represent animals in a court of law, which is based on rights granted to us by our creator, and claim to know what it wants is making a mockery of an incredible institution. With rights comes responsibility as well. So if human rights are going to be granted to animals, they must also bear human responsibility.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Most People Confused About What HSUS Is

Americans Wrongly Believe the Humane Society of the United States is a Pet-Shelter "Umbrella Group"
Consumer Group Reminds Americans that Less than One Percent of Donations to HSUS Benefit Local Pet Shelters

WASHINGTON, March 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Seventy-one percent of Americans questioned in a new opinion poll wrongly believe the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an "umbrella group" for America's local humane societies. Sixty-three percent incorrectly think their local "humane society" is affiliated with HSUS. And fifty-nine percent falsely believe HSUS "contributes most of its money" to local organizations that care for cats and dogs.

The poll, which sampled the opinions of 1,008 Americans, was commissioned by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) of Princeton, New Jersey.

"These numbers indicate that Americans don't really know what the Humane Society of the United States is all about," said CCF Director of Research David Martosko. "HSUS intentionally uses those sad dogs and cats in its TV infomercials as props in an animal rights fundraising shell game. Meanwhile, thousands of American pet shelters are underfunded and struggling." Martosko blogs about HSUS at

According to the federal income tax return filed by HSUS for the tax year 2008, less than one-half of one percent (0.5%) of the organization's budget consisted of grants to hands-on pet shelters. HSUS does not run a single shelter for dogs or cats anywhere, and it is not affiliated with any local "humane society" organizations.

Martosko continued: "This poll indicates that most Americans think HSUS is a worthy charity. But very few Americans understand what HSUS really is—a super-rich lobbying group that puts more money into its executive pensions than in the hands of local humane societies."
Survey Methodology

The survey of 1,008 adults nationwide was conducted by telephone between February 25 and February 28, 2010 by Opinion Research Corporation. The margin of error is plus or minus three percentage points.


I'm going to read you the names of several nonprofit organizations. For each one, please tell me if you are very familiar, somewhat familiar or totally unfamiliar with the organization.
The Humane Society of the United States: 79% familiar ("very"/"somewhat" net)

I'm going to read you several statements. For each one, please tell me if you think the statement is true or false.

71% "TRUE": The Humane Society of the United States is an umbrella group that represents thousands of local humane societies all across America.

63% "TRUE": My local humane society or pet shelter is AFFILIATED with the Humane Society of the United States.

59% "TRUE": The Humane Society of the United States contributes most of its money to local organizations that care for dogs and cats.

48% "TRUE": My local humane society or pet shelter receives financial support from the Humane Society of the United States.

(Tax records filed by HSUS show that all four statements are false.)


Just as Yellow Tail and Pilot Travel Centers were fooled into thinking that the HSUS was something they aren’t, so are most folks living in this country. This survey shows exactly how they have become so wealthy. It’s been accomplished on the backs of our hard-working local pet shelters. Because of the great work they do the HSUS profits. Wayne Pacelle will probably roll out the same old song about the Center for Consumer Freedom, but they didn’t do the survey. Along with that, the questions asked in the survey were very direct rather than misleading in way that could have affected the results. We’ve got a long way to go in educating the public about the HSUS, but this past month has shown that we can accomplish great things when we work together.

Adequate Food Production Requires Technology Use

Biotech, Nanotech and Synthetic Biology Roles in Future Food Supply Explored

ScienceDaily (Feb. 25, 2010) — Some say the world's population will swell to 9 billion people by 2030 and that will present significant challenges for agriculture to provide enough food to meet demand, says University of Idaho animal scientist Rod Hill.

Hill and Larry Branen, a University of Idaho food scientist, organized a symposium during the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting February 17 to explore ways biotechnology could provide healthy and plentiful animal-based foods to meet future demands.

Synthetic biology, nanotechnology, genetic engineering and other applications of biotechnology -- and the public's role in determining their acceptable uses -- were all addressed by panelists during the session.

The goal for the session, which was part of the nation's largest general science meeting held annually, was to encourage a dialogue among scientists and the public, said Hill, a Moscow-based molecular physiologist who studies muscle growth in cattle.

"There will be a significant challenge for agriculture and the science that will be required to provide a healthy, nutritious and adequate food supply in coming decades for a rapidly growing population," Hill said.
A key question, he said, is whether the Earth can continue to provide enough food without technological support. The history of civilization and agriculture during the last 10,000 years suggests otherwise.

"Unaided food production is an unattainable ideal -- current society is irrevocably grounded in the technological interventions underpinning the agricultural revolution that now strives to feed the world," Hill said. Read More

I have no doubts that technology will continue providing with the answers to feeding a growing world. In contrast, obtaining the social license to use that technology could be the biggest challenge. Unfortunately, it may come down to a simple question that everyone will have to answer. Do we abandon technology and concede that millions, if not billions, of people will starve to death? Or do we utilize safe, proven technology to ensure we can feed as many people as possible? How you answer that question will probably depend on how full your stomach is at the time you are being asked.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Rep. Zack Space's Lettter to Wayne Pacelle

Ohioans have spoken about animal care
Congressman Zack Space • 18th District • February 28, 2010

An open letter to Wayne Pacelle, president of Humane Society of the United States:

Dear Mr. Pacelle,

I was disappointed and troubled to hear of the recent decision by the Humane Society of the United States to move forward with attempts to further their political agenda and force it on the people of Ohio. This news proves that clearly you and your organization have not been listening.

HSUS was obviously not listening when residents across the state of Ohio spoke in one voice -- overwhelmingly supporting Issue 2 and ensuring that Ohioans regulate our own standards for animal care. HSUS was obviously not listening when a majority of Ohio's federal and state delegation endorsed the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board -- overwhelmingly denouncing the HSUS' efforts to undermine it. And HSUS was obviously not listening when farmers across the state of Ohio weighed in on this disastrous policy -- overwhelmingly opposing it.

In addition to a majority of Ohioans, Issue 2 also had great support among Ohio's legislators, Governor Strickland and groups representing animal interests, including The American Humane Association and the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association. It is unconscionable to me that an outside group would come into our state and claim that they know better.

The OLCSB was created just four months ago with a strong mandate by the people of Ohio, and it would be wrong for it to be hijacked by overzealous special interests based out of Washington, D.C. Our board will ensure that livestock and animals in Ohio are treated humanely and that our agricultural producers -- a major sector of Ohio's economy -- are not unfairly penalized with unacceptable regulations.

The experts that will make up the OLCSB are the best sources for determining Ohio's minimum standards of care for our animals, and not a liberal group whose real intentions are less about animal care and more about control over what we in Ohio eat.

Your attempts to dictate our state policies regarding animal care are misguided, and I will not stand for them. Ohio's standards of animal care should be determined by those who know the issue best and have a vested interest in the outcome -- Ohioans.

I joined the farmers of my district to support the passage of Issue 2, which passed with almost 64 percent of the vote on Nov. 3. Ohioans statewide have spoken. It is clear exactly where they stand on this issue.

Mr. Pacelle, Ohio has spoken. Why haven't you been listening?

Regardless of party or position, Ohio's elected officials have adamantly against Wayne Pacelle and the HSUS coming to Ohio trying to hijack the very popular Livestock Care Standards Board before it's even been formed. Thank you Congressman Space for defending rural America and farmers and ranchers against this vegan animal rights group.

HSUS Loses Another Corporate Sponsor

The Tale of Yellow Tail Gets Longer
By Gary Truitt

Two weeks ago I wrote a column about Yellow Tail wine, the Australian wine that became public enemy No. 1 overnight after donating $100,000.00 to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). After a few lame efforts to defend themselves and to ignore the overwhelming criticism the company was receiving, it finally did the right thing and admitted its mistake. The company promised not to make future donations to the radical animal rights organization. What was especially interesting is that much of the condemnation came from the public and from people outside of agriculture. While farmers and farm groups were a part of the chorus, the depth of dislike for HSUS to - say nothing of the sheer numbers of people enraged by the action - was a major factor in the decision by Yellow Tail to tuck its tail between its legs and run. As I write, history looks to be repeating itself as yet another corporation seems to be committing suicide by donating to HSUS.

For the second time in as many weeks, shining the spotlight of publicity on who gives money to HSUS has resulted in a change in policy by supporters of this anti-animal agriculture group. Again, the rapid dissemination of information via the social media networks has played a role.

These small victories are not going to put HSUS out of business, but it has shown how HSUS can be hurt and how individuals can have an imnpact. I truly hope this becomes a trend and that people, both inside and outside of agriculture, will take an interest in who supports radical activist groups. I cannot say it enough: stay informed and get involved. You can make a difference. Read More

In case you haven’t heard, February was a pretty good month for American agriculture and quite embarrassing for Wayne Pacelle and the Humane Society of the United States. The HSUS lost two corporate sponsors because individual farmers, ranchers, pet owners, outdoorsmen and others informed Pilot and Casella Wines that they would not support companies who support animal rights groups that inaccurately portray, and try to eliminate animal agriculture. As much as HSUS has tried to counter this movement by falsely claiming the Center for Consumer Freedom is responsible for starting this movement, it’s been a failure. They claim to have 11 million members, yet they couldn’t even get a handful of them to publicly support HSUS on Facebook. Many of those leaving pro-HSUS comments online have actually been HSUS employees who are paid to do it.

If you didn’t believe in the power of grassroots efforts before, you certainly should now.

Young Farmers & Ranchers Donate 5.3 Million Meals in 2009

Farm Bureau Families Raise Record Funds for America’s Hungry

WASHINGTON, D.C, February 26, 2010 – The farm and ranch families of Farm Bureau last year raised more than $213,000 and donated more than 4.8 million pounds of food to hungry Americans as part of Farm Bureau’s “Harvest for All” program. Combined, the monetary and food donations provided the equivalent of nearly 5.3 million meals through Feeding America-affiliated food banks.

The money raised last year was a record and broke the prior record of $160,000 in 2008. Farm Bureau’s Harvest for All program began in 2004, and the program has continued to build momentum since then.

Members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers & Ranchers program spearhead the Harvest for All program across the nation, but all facets of Farm Bureau contribute to the effort. The joint effort between Farm Bureau and Feeding America is a national community-action program through which farmers can help ensure that every American can enjoy the bounty produced by the nation’s farm and ranch families.

“In these difficult economic times, Harvest for All is all the more important,” said Will Gilmer, AFBF YF&R chairman and a dairy producer from Lamar County, Ala. “As farmers and ranchers, we are blessed to work every day, feeding America and the world. Harvest for All is a great way to share our many blessings with those less fortunate than we are.”

Since Harvest for All was launched seven years ago, Farm Bureau families have gathered more than 20 million pounds of food, logged more than 35,000 volunteer hours and raised nearly $1 million in donations. Combined, the food and monetary donations amount to nearly 24 million meals.

Read More

Most of us take for granted having food on our plate everyday and not worrying about the next day’s meals. But for many that is not the case. One in eight Americans used a food bank in 2009. Farmers and ranchers are well-known for their efforts to make their communities a better place to live. Part of doing that is making sure that our neighbors have a place to get food when they are struggling to do so on their own. The efforts by these young farmers and ranchers from across the country have made a difference in the lives of hungry people. Since 2004, more than 24 million meals have been provided by these young farmers and ranchers.