Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Thoughts On The Ohio Dairy Farm Abuse Video

I’ve spent my whole life around agriculture and specifically cattle. I love everything about cows. From being there when the calves take their first steps to enjoying the tasty and nutritious beef that I help supply to the world, all of it is fascinating to me. And it’s that appreciation for these animals that has me so upset this morning.

Yesterday afternoon I found out that a new “shocking” video was being released showing the abuse of dairy cows in Ohio. When I finally got a chance to see the video last night I was outraged for many reasons.

First, I think we’ve all learned not to believe everything you see or read on the internet. Especially after watching this video I’d like to think this didn’t really happen. All of the facts in this case will eventually come out, but on the surface the blatant abuse it shows makes no sense. Deliberately mishandling the very cows that, figuratively and literally, are putting the food on your families table is incomprehensible to say the least. Anyone who has ever handled cattle also realizes that all of the things they were doing to these cows were never going to achieve any desired results.

Next, I’m completely disgusted with these undercover employees that are more concerned about getting months worth of video and are willing to let this abuse continue on in the name of their political agenda. Anyone who has a shred of decency wouldn’t let that happen. If you are aware of something like this and still allow it to occur, that makes you part of the problem.

Finally, if these allegations of abuse are found to be true then I’m livid that these people ever considered themselves dairymen and part of the agriculture community. Their actions are an insult to every one of us that work so hard everyday to properly care for our livestock. I wear the titles of Cattlemen and Rancher with pride, but along with them comes a responsibility to uphold the values and tradition of animal husbandry. Everyone I know that works with livestock feels the same way.

As a fifth generation United States rancher, my job is to care for my cows to the best of my ability. What I saw on that video is not acceptable. The good news is that it’s not the norm. I have visited dairies that ranged in size from 4 head to 4000 head. Never have I seen anything but the very best care being given. My experiences on hog farms and other cattle ranches have been the same.

If you are upset with what you see in this video, that’s OK. I am too. But if you are interested in how livestock are treated on the overwhelming majority of farms and ranches, visit one in your area and see it for yourself. ~Troy

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Attempted Murder of Another UCSC Researcher

Brake lines to UCSC researcher's car cut; FBI investigating
By Jennifer Squires
Posted: 05/24/2010 03:54:36 PM PDT
Updated: 05/25/2010 07:07:13 AM PDT

SANTA CRUZ — A vandal cut the brake lines on the vehicle of a UC Santa Cruz researcher late Saturday or early Sunday, and the Police Department has called in the FBI to help investigate.

About nine FBI agents were at the researcher's Westside home on Monday. Some agents peered under the sport utility vehicle to inspect the damage, while others canvassed the neighborhood for witnesses.

The researcher, who wasn't identified, called police around 11 a.m. Sunday to report vandalism to the SUV, which was parked in front of the researcher's house on the 1200 block of Laurent Street, according to Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Rick Martinez.

"It's not something we see every day. Why was this one vehicle specifically targeted?" Martinez said. "... Was this to injure the driver? Was it to send a message? Was it a threat? These are all questions we're trying to sort out right now."

In February 2008, demonstrators protesting in front of a researcher's house tried to force their way into the home and attacked the researcher's husband while the family held a child's birthday party inside. A federal grand jury indicted four animal rights activists under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act a year later. Their case is pending in U.S. District Court.

The homes of two other UCSC researcher, who also works with animals, was firebombed in August 2008. In one incident, the researcher and his family had to jump to safety. No one has been arrested in connection with the firebombing incidents. Read More

Animal rights activists have been targeting researchers for their work by trying to kill them. This is nothing less than attempted murder. When you firebomb houses and disable the brakes on vehicles in an attempt to help animals it just goes to show how mentally unstable these people are. Reasonable people don’t try murdering other innocent people to make their point. ~Troy

Animal Rights Activists Protest Medical Research

Animal research draws rally
Protesters say money rather than medical advances fuels research; backers disagree

By SCOTT WALDMAN, Staff writer
First published in print: Monday, May 24, 2010

The animals were among those used in medical research conducted at Albany Medical Center and their use in tests was protested by a group of animal rights activists. The group, called Adirondack Animal Rights, plans to stage monthly protests at the corner of New Scotland and Holland avenues until the hospital finds other methods of testing.

"I hope they stop and think about what's going on," said Jessica Ryle, the group's founder, as cars whizzed by and honked their horns.

Albany Medical College uses a variety of animals in tests that it claims are beneficial to science, according to its annual report with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Among the animals that experienced "pain or distress" in tests at the school in 2008 were 12 dogs, 13 rabbits, 38 pigs, two goats and 116 chinchillas, the report states.

Such testing is going on at every academic medical research facility across the country, Albany Med spokesman Greg McGarry said. He said the tests are absolutely imperative as long as "kids are dying of cancer" because that is how medical advances are discovered.

"We think that as long as there are these terrible diseases that afflict humans and animals, we have a lot to know from these animal studies," McGarry said. Read More

Yesterday I posted an article that talked about animal rights activists that are making these animals a higher priority in life than other people. Never should we allow our society get to the point where we would rather see children suffer than test possible life-saving drugs on animals. The best thing for these activists to do would be to refuse any medical treatment for themselves and their children if it’s been tested on animals. That way they could really prove their convictions. ~Troy

NV Feral Horse Roundup Lawsuit Dismissed

Federal judge dismisses Nevada horse roundup suit
Associated Press
Monday, May 24, 2010 4:53 p.m.

A federal judge Monday officially dismissed a lawsuit brought by animal rights activists over a big wild horse roundup in northern Nevada, saying the case was moot and plaintiffs lacked standing.

U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington, D.C., who in December denied an injunction to prevent the roundup, said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has already gathered 1,922 horses from the Calico Mountains Complex north of Reno, therefore challenging the use of helicopters was moot.

The group In Defense of Animals, wildlife ecologist Craig Downer and children's author Terri Farley also claimed in their suit that shipping horses removed from the range to long-term holding corrals in the Midwest is not permitted under the Wild Horse and Burro Act.

But Friedman said the plaintiffs failed to show how sending the horses to other facilities would cause harm to themselves. Read More

Here’s an update on the lawsuit that was attempting to stop BLM from being able to manage the feral horse population in Nevada. Feral horse numbers are greatly exceeding the capacity of the rangeland to accommodate them. Nobody wants to completely eliminate them, however, like all animal species their population needs to be managed. If we don’t do it then disease or starvation will do it for us. ~Troy

Monday, May 24, 2010

Animals Getting More Attention Than Abused Kids

Spotlight on animal abuse doesn't sit right with some
Adrian Humphreys, National Post, With Files From Trevor Wilhelm, Windsor Star Published: Friday, May 21, 2010

A mob of 200 gathered outside a Windsor, Ont., courthouse this week, showering vitriol and threats of torture and death on a man accused of sexually mutilating his dog. The crowd sought "Justice for Tyson," the wounded black lab mix.

A few days earlier, more than 100 protesters in Newmarket, Ont., held a mock funeral for animals euthanized during a ringworm outbreak at an animal shelter. Despite the pretend gravestones, real tears were shed.

Such public anguish and mass mobilization over animals has social advocates wondering why the streets often fall silent when such unfortunate fates befall fellow humans. One academic plans to launch a study of the phenomenon. "I look forward to the day when 200 people are speaking out about sexual abuse of children," said sex abuse survivor John Swales, a Windsor-based victim's advocate and support services advisor.

"There's no public display; it's just business as usual.... It is a dismal reflection of society when an animal receives more concern than a child." Read More

It doesn’t make sense to me how these animal rights activists can become zealots for animals while barely acknowledging the fact that many humans, especially children, go unnoticed. It’s hard to believe but some people, including upper-level personnel at groups like PETA and HSUS, truly feel that the lives of their own children don’t deserve any more consideration than that of the smallest insect. Obviously this is a pretty radical viewpoint they have taken and I feel sorry for their kids. The vast majority of people would never feel that way about their children but these radical viewpoints continue to permeate our society. ~Troy

E.Coli Illnesses Significantly Drop

Beef industry keeps focus on safety improvements
High Plains Journal

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of illness due to E. coli O157 significantly decreased in 2009. The 2009 E. coli illness rate is the lowest since 2004 and meets the Healthy People 2010 goal to cut the number of O157 illnesses in half.

"This is good news for beef producers and consumers alike," says Jeff Clausen, a beef producer from Carson, Iowa, and the beef industry's Beef Safety Committee chairman. "Anyone involved in the ongoing battle to improve food safety is gratified by the news that illnesses from E. coli O157 have declined. However, E. coli O157 is a tough, adaptable foe and our work is not done."

Through beef checkoff investments and widespread industry commitment, the beef industry continues to make strides toward reducing the incidence of E. coli O157 by implementing multiple interventions throughout the beef production chain.

For more information on the industry's beef safety efforts, visit For more information about programs funded by your checkoff investment, visit


Every year, producers are committing their own money to learn more about e. Coli and how best to reduce the chances for contamination. While research is determining new and better ways to handle O157, the time-tested advice of avoiding cross contamination in the kitchen and properly cooking all meat will still eliminate any chance of ever getting sick. Food safety is a team effort that we all need to be part of. ~Troy

Bringing Kids Out To The Ranch

Appreciating Ag
By Suzanne Jacobson
Payson, AZ
May 21, 2010

’Twas agriculture field day and not a video game was in sight. Rim Country kids played in a Rockin’ Rodeo, watched a branding, and learned how to harness draft horses all before night.
The Tonto Natural Resource Conservation District (NRCD) Agriculture field day offered about 100 students — fourth-graders from Payson Elementary School and 4-H members from Pine and Tonto Basin — the opportunity to learn about agriculture and gain an appreciation for food’s source.

“A lot of these kids don’t know where the milk comes from in the grocery store,” said Lori Brown, who hosted the event on her ranch.

“We’re all five and six times generational ranchers,” said Brown. Compare a rancher’s way of eating to today, where most people drive to grocery stores and buy processed, packaged food laden with hydrogenated everything.

“There’s this national push to reconnect children with nature,” said Hall. “Kids are spending unbelievable amounts of time in front of the computer and TV.”

Hall went into schools and taught kids where pizza comes from. “There was one little boy who thought there was a pizza farm someplace.” Read More

I always enjoy highlighting farmers and ranchers that take the time to host children for a tour. The smile on the faces of these kids is as wide as the prairie itself when they get to learn about where their food comes from and who grows it. Kids today are getting bombarded with negative messages about farmers and ranchers so it’s vitally important that we share with them the true story of agriculture. The only people that can do that best are the farmers and ranchers themselves. I hope all of you get the opportunity to be involved in teaching kids about ag at some point.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Farm Tours

Willamette Egg Farms opens doors to visitors
Congressional aides, students tour facility to learn about egg production
Capital Press

AURORA, Ore. -- About three years back, Gordon and Greg Satrum, father and son owners of Willamette Egg Farms in Aurora, decided to open their farm to visitors.

Not doing so, Gordon said, left the impression the farm had something to hide.

"It always was just a biosecurity issue," Gordon said, regarding why the farm previously banned visitors. "We were keeping out bugs."

Today Willamette Egg Farms offers a video tour of the farm on its website. And it occasionally plays host to local schools, which take advantage of the farm's offers to teach children about egg production.

"It is in our farm's best interest to adhere to the highest standards of animal care," the farm says on its website. "As egg farmers, we know healthy, well-treated hens in a safe environment produce the best quality eggs." Read More

Biosecurity must always be a concern anytime you start having people tour your facilities. However, there is no better way to explain agriculture and how food gets on a plate than by showing them first hand. We can never be too busy to share our story, so if you ever get the chance to host a tour look at it as a special opportunity. Congratulations to Willamette Egg Farms for being advocates for agriculture.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Black Cows on Green Grass

It's that time of year when winter finally seems to be over, the grass is growing and the cows are itching to get a taste. Yesterday we got one bunch of cows and calves vaccinated and put out to pasture and another bunch is on deck today.

I don't know if there is any better remedy to make you forget a long, cold winter than to swing open a gate and watch the back end of the herd as you trail them out to grass.

Stop back tomorrow for more updates on how to be an advocate for agriculture.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Congressman Says Milk, Meat Unhealthy For Kids

Colorado congressman wants healthier school meals
By: DAN ELLIOTT Associated Press05/17/10 10:15 PM EDT

DENVER — More kids could get vegetarian meals and nondairy food and drink in the school cafeteria under a bill proposed by Colorado congressman Jared Polis.

"One of the things I've always been dismayed by is the nutritional value of the meals schools serve," Polis said Monday before promoting his Healthy School Meals Act at a suburban Denver charter school.

Polis, a Democrat, wants to give schools an incentive to offer more plant-based food. He estimated it would cost around $50 million a year but said he believes that would be more than offset in health care savings because fewer children would suffer from juvenile diabetes, heart disease and other conditions linked to obesity. Read More

Withholding meat and milk from our children is certainly not going to make them healthier. If we want our kids to be healthier we have to get back to the basics. They need to eat a balanced diet that includes meat and diary products, get plenty of exercise and cut down on the junk food. This congressman’s proposal is as ridiculous as it sounds. Besides that, I wonder if the parents and the congressman realize that the vegetarian option of macaroni and cheese they are promoting uses cheese which is made from milk, they very same milk that they want removed from the lunch program. Our kids do need to eat healthier, but telling them not to eat meat or drink milk won’t accomplish anything. ~ Troy

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gov't Refuses To Protect Border Ranchers

Border Patrol: Do your job!
by Trent Loos

On behalf of the ranching families of Arizona who fear for their lives every day, I am calling on the director of the Department of Homeland Security to fulfill her duties and secure our borders.
Rob Krentz from Douglas, AZ, was murdered on his ranch March 27. Since all other signs have been ignored, his murder should serve as a wake-up call to the real problems caused by not securing our borders.

Don Kimble, a rancher and neighbor of the Krentz family, has repeatedly asked the DHS director what the government's plan is to secure the border. Kimble said, "I wasted an hour-and-a-half of my life on a conference call with the former governor of Arizona and now Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, and she did not answer our question."

Napolitano continues to deny any security problems. Kimble said, "One would think the Border Patrol should actually patrol the border, yet they continue to do their work 25 miles north of the border."

The government needs to explain why those agents are not working at the border. Read More

There’s no better way to get a feel for how bad the situation is down along our border than to experience it for yourself, and that’s exactly what Trent Loos did. The federal government has the responsibility to protect the citizens of this country. Plain and simple, it’s not doing that. Ranchers on the border have become our first line of defense instead. This isn’t their job or responsibility. The government seems so willing to become involved in things that aren’t their responsibility, but maybe they should take care of their primary jobs first.

Detractor Attacked by HSUS-Paid Reporter

May 16, 2010, 8:33 pm
Report on Lobbyist Commissioned by Humane Society
By JOSEPH PLAMBECK, New York Times Blog

It reads much like a newspaper article.

For 3,500 words, the report details the workings of Richard Berman, a lobbyist in Washington and a regular foe of the Humane Society of the United States.

But in fact, the report was commissioned by the Humane Society itself and published on its Web site last week.

The author, Ian T. Shearn, 56, is a longtime newspaperman who spent 10 years at The Star-Ledger in New Jersey, where he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize. He left the paper in 2008.

The dearth of available journalism jobs has since left him, like many underemployed journalists, chasing freelance jobs and doing some consulting. Read More

Last week I shared how the HSUS had hired a former journalist to start attacking people who disagree with them. Today we find out that the author of the article had been out of work. So when he was hired to do this “independent” investigation I’m sure he wanted to keep his new employer happy. In order to do that, some of the facts had to go out the window. I’ve never met anyone involved in this story, but from the outside looking in, this was a very obvious and desperate attempt by the HSUS to deflect criticism. It certainly doesn’t fit into their stated goal of helping animals. Besides that, the things being said about the HSUS by the Center for Consumer Freedom must be true or else they would be attacking the message rather than the messenger. It’s another unfortunate example of a journalist giving up his chosen profession to be a paid activist.

Good Neighboring

Brush up on Neighbor-relations Skills
Pork news source Friday, May 14, 2010

Warmer spring and summer weather means increased farm activities and non-farm families spending more time outside where farm odors are present — a recipe for potential conflict, says Nicole Olynk, Purdue University agricultural economist.

Citizen complaints against farmers most often stem from odors, but many times relate to surface or ground water, or a combination of the three. And while traditionally most complaints are related to animal agriculture, crop farmers are not exempt.

"Crop farms are not immune to negative perceptions of cropping practices," Olynk warns. "Recent times have seen debates surrounding livestock production practices and related animal welfare and humane treatment concerns. But also in the forefront of citizens' minds are environmental impacts of agricultural practices."

One way farmers can reduce friction is being mindful of the ways nonfarm neighbors perceive on-farm practices. Small acts of neighborly kindness such as helping neighbors after snowstorms or inviting them to visit the farm may build goodwill. Slight modifications to farming practices can also help ease tension. Read More

Here’s a good reminder that working with our non-farming neighbors and keeping good lines of communication open can reduce the odds of having problems with them. Many of these people don’t understand how food is grown, so not only do these conversations help reduce potential conflicts but it also gives us a chance to teach more people about agriculture.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Senate Cap & Tax Bill Introduced

Farm Groups Wary of New Climate Change Bill
by Gary Truitt
Hoosier Ag Today

Senators John Kerry (D, Massachusetts) and Joe Lieberman (I, Connecticut) unveiled climate-change legislation on Wednesday, although the bill‘s chances of success are uncertain. The bill would focus on addressing the largest carbon-emitting sectors of the economy: heavy industry, power plants, and transportation infrastructure. It would target a 17% reduction in U.S. carbon pollution by 2020 and over 80% by 2050. It would contain a cap-and-trade system that would levy a tax against the largest emitters. Initially, the rate would be set at $12 a ton, increasing at 3% above inflation annually thereafter. An initial ceiling of $25 per ton would also be included.

The new legislation got a stamp of approval from the National Farmers Union, who supported the House version of cap-and- trade, “NFU has long supported legislation that provides an opportunity for agriculture to play a positive role in addressing our climate and energy needs. The discussion draft announced today continues along that path,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. The National Corn Growers Association took a more cautious approach. “The National Corn Growers Association is reviewing the discussion draft of the American Power Act released today by Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman. We have provided input to the Senate over the past several months on provisions pertaining to the agriculture industry, and we will continue to offer feedback after we have a chance to review the text of this important piece of legislation,” said NCGA President Darrin Ihnen.

Tamara Thies, Chief Environmental Council for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, says agriculture needs to beware of all efforts to regulate climate change, “All this regulation and expense is based on an alarmist environmental agenda and not on sound science.” She says, regardless of the specifics of the legislation, the science behind climate change is flawed, “The American people deserve better than decisions from this administration that are not based on science or truth, but rather are based on a radical, anti-business, anti-agriculture, alarmist agenda that lacks a credible scientific foundation.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation also expressed concerns about efforts to regulate climate change. AFBF President Bob Stallman released a statement that said, “As with other climate change bills, we have concerns about the economic impact on farmers and ranchers because of potentially higher fertilizer and energy costs. We do not want to see farmers driven out of business due to additional regulation and the potential for higher input costs. Agriculture also could be forced to shrink due to land moving out of production into trees to sequester carbon. We also believe it is imperative that any energy legislation must assure a greater supply of nuclear energy, renewable fuels, and natural gas for American consumers. Further, we note the absence of renewable electricity standards in the bill and will work toward their inclusion in the future.”

The Obama administration wants action on climate change, but other issues like immigration plus election year politics make many lawmakers uneasy about tacking such a controversial issue. In a prepared statement the President said, “This legislation will put America on the path to a clean energy economy that will create American jobs building the solar panels, wind blades, and the car batteries of the future. It will strengthen our national security by beginning to break our dependence on foreign oil. And it will protect our environment for our children and grandchildren.”

With most Republicans and many Democrats opposing climate change legislation, the White House may turn to the EPA to implement a cap-and-trade system. Thies says that would not be good for agriculture, “That would give the EPA authority to tell farmers they would have to get expensive permits in order to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide.” She added many producers would be forced to shut down food production. Link

Everyone is still sifting through the legislation trying to determine what it will do, but one thing is for certain, it will increase the cost of energy every year. Over half of the electricity used in this country comes from coal. The cost of that will increase every year until they are forced out of business and the millions of miners and other workers in that industry will be out of job. Along with that, it will make electricity less affordable for working families in this country. Unless you use a sail to propel your vehicle, the cost of driving will go up as well, even if you have an electric car. I don’t disagree that we need to be finding newer sources of energy but it is reckless to get rid of our most reliable and affordable sources when we have nothing to replace them with.

Wisconsin DNR Partners With HSUS

Paul Smith Outdoors Editor
DNR steps on toes with partnership
Posted: May 12, 2010 (30) Comments

Spring has sprung and the 2010 class of wild ones is appearing on the Wisconsin landscape.
As it has for years, the Department of Natural Resources is reminding state residents not to pick up young wildlife, such as fawns and bunnies.

The animals may appear to be orphaned, but they are most often just fine, with a doe (the word for female deer and rabbits) nearby.

And if uninjured, they always fare better outdoors than when taken in by a human. We tend to provide inadequate or even toxic food, to say nothing of the implications of a wild animal imprinted on humans.

You've likely heard the message before, but you've never heard it like this: To spread the word this year, the DNR has partnered with a frequent opponent on hunting and wildlife management issues - the Humane Society of the United States.

The DNR and the HSUS have teamed to produce and buy air time across the state for a pair of 30-second radio spots.

The spots feature a young female voice which asks the public to respect the wild nature of wildlife. If an animal is truly injured or orphaned, have an adult contact the DNR, she instructs.
But it's the partnership, not the message, that's drawing the most attention.

"My initial reaction was shock and disbelief," said George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and former DNR secretary. "If I hadn't seen it on the DNR's Web site, I would have thought it was a hoax."

Meyer said while there is value in communicating with all groups, partnering with the HSUS is a step too far. Read More

The strategy of the HSUS is simple. They try extremely hard to project a mainstream image and brush off any radical labels thrown their way. Yet at the same time, their actions tell a different story. Wisconsin residents should be extremely worried that they have bought their way into the DNR office. Proper management of wildlife is extremely important and if it was up to the HSUS they would end the most effective measures for management, which is through hunting. One look at the recipe section of their website says all you need to know about this group. There certainly aren’t any wild game recipes to be found.

MT Looks To Reduce Wolf Numbers

Mont. aims to reduce wolf numbers for first time
By MATT VOLZ (AP) – 16 hours ago

HELENA, Mont. — Montana wildlife commissioners approved a plan Thursday that aims to reduce the gray wolf population for the first time since the once-endangered animal was reintroduced to the region 15 years ago.

The proposal approved by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission calls for at least doubling the number of wolves that hunters can kill and introducing an archery season to go with the rifle season.

The population of wolves in the northern Rockies has increased every year since they were reintroduced to the region in 1995 after being nearly wiped out in the last century due to conflicts with humans and loss of habitat.

There were at least 524 wolves in Montana at the end of last year, and 1,706 wolves in the combined northern Rockies region of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and parts of Washington and Oregon, wildlife officials estimate.

Ranchers and hunters say the wolf population has now grown too high, which has led to more attacks on livestock and game. Read More

Wildlife management is essential for the health of the wildlife involved. I’ve shared with you before about what happens if humans don’t manage these populations. When those numbers get too high, Mother Nature causes them to starve to death or unleashes devastating diseases that wipe out significant portions of them. That certainly doesn’t appear to be the humane option to me. Along with that, human safety and that of our domesticated animals needs to always be a priority in this equation. No wolf is worth a human life. Keeping a viable controlled population needs to be the goal.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

HSUS Hires Reporter To Personally Attack Opponents

Investigative Report: CCF's Richard Berman
by Ian T. Shearn
Editor’s Note: Millionaire PR operative and lobbyist Richard Berman and his shadowy
web of corporate-front organizations rake in large sums of money in attacking public
interest groups, including The Humane Society of the United States.
The HSUS hired independent journalist Ian T. Shearn to write an investigative report
about Berman and the workings of his groups. Shearn, as statehouse Bureau Chief of the
Newark Star-Ledger, led a team of reporters that won a 2005 Pulitzer Prize for the
newspaper in recognition of its coverage of the resignation of then-Gov. James
McGreevey. Shearn’s distinguished career spanned 29 years as reporter and editor. He
is now a freelance writer based in Hillsborough, N.J.
Shearn’s contract required him to identify himself in all encounters as preparing a report
for The HSUS. The final product, however, represents his independent reporting and

If charity does indeed begin at home, in the case of Richard Berman, it starts in a $3
million, 8,800-square-foot mansion he shares with his second wife in McLean, Va. One
of his first decisions in a day of many is whether to drive the Bentley or the Ferrari to
work. On this particular spring morning, he goes with the Bentley.

“Richard Berman is a professional antagonist, trying to discredit people who are doing
good in the world,” said Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of
the United States. “He does not seek sensible discourse; he simply sees HSUS as a
pathway for enrichment. … This guy has developed a cottage industry attacking public
interest organizations.”

It is only logical that one of Berman’s most recent targets is The Humane Society of the
United States, the animal welfare charity that has grown significantly in recent years,
mostly through mergers and acquisitions, and has become increasingly aggressive on
several fronts in its opposition of the methods and practices of country’s agricultural and
food industry. One of its main targets has been the country’s powerful agribusiness
sector, and specifically what The HSUS considers inhumane factory farming conditions.

Pacelle said HSUS has no design to cripple agribusiness; it just wants to put an end to its
most egregious practices.

“The only reason there is conflict on some agriculture practices is that factory farmers
insist on treating animals like production machines—keeping some farm animals in a
near-constant state of immobilization and subjecting them to inhumane transport and
slaughter,” he said. “If the industry corrected these problems, then this tension would not

In April, Berman’s group did garner some media attention, and exacted a degree of angst
from the Humane Society, when it pointed out on its website that less than one-half of
one percent of HSUS revenue went to animal shelters, a fact Humane Watch asserted was
hypocritical and misleading to its donors. As a result, several corporate donors—
including Yellow Tail wines—pulled back their pledges, totaling about $200,000.

For HSUS’s Pacelle, that’s regrettable though understandable. “Corporate funders want
to feel good; they don’t want to court controversy,” he said, adding, “But we do still have
11 million supporters.” Read More

The HSUS has hired a reporter to attack people that disagree with them. I guess that’s what you have to do when you can’t refute the stories being told about you. They even went so far as to blame Rick Berman for Yellow Tail stopping their donations to the HSUS. That statement alone shows the lack of “investigative reporting” that was done here. This is obviously a desperate attempt to slow the bleeding that’s happening at the HSUS. More people are learning that they are a vegan animal rights group that does more harm than good for our local community pet shelters. More than likely, what they paid this reporter and the lawyers to file a lawsuit against Rick Berman will add up to way more than they give to pet shelters every year. But that’s what you have to do when you are a professional fundraising organization and the story you are selling will no longer hold water.

Anti-Anti-Puppy Mill Bill in MO

MO Senate works on anti-anti-puppy mill bill
by Bob Priddy on May 11, 2010

The effort by the legislature to make it harder to pass the puppy mill petition proposal is inching forward in the legislature. The proposed law would require any petition issue placing any controls on animal agriculture to get a two-thirds majority to pass. It sets animal agriculture apart from all other issues that might go to the voters through petition campaigns.

The bill is a reaction to the petition seeking a statewide vote on regulations for dog breeding operations. Agriculture interests say it adds almost nothing to the current state regulations and is a precursor to a later petition they say would kill animal farming.

Joplin Senator Gary Nodler says backers re relying on an inflammatory phrase to touch public emotion, namely “puppy mills,” when he says is a term that is intended to unfairly describe dog breeders. He likes the phrase to a racial slur.

Sponsor Bill Stouffer of Napton is confident his proposed anti-anti puppy mill amendment can get through the Senate, then the House and get on this year’s ballot. IT will need only a simple majority from voters to become law. Link

Many states are looking into ways they can protect farmers and ranchers from emotionally based initiatives that have nothing to do with the proper care of livestock and everything to do with control. This is certainly a unique idea and it will be interesting to see the debate on this plan. We’ll stay tuned for how this ends up.

Beef: More Than What's For Dinner

A lot more than ‘what’s for dinner’
By Jim Hamilton Neighbor Newspaper, Missouri
Senior writer
Wednesday, May 12, 2010 4:09 AM CDT

May is “Beef Month,” an observance started 45 years ago to salute the beef industry from pasture to plate.For many of us, that “industry” is just a part of everyday life. Mostly, we’re not ranchers or cowboys, but just folks with a few cows. The average herd size in Missouri is 36, according to the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Some of us have many more than that, and many are similar to me and my neighbor, running five head on shared pasture.

Large or small, we’re all part of a $1.5 billion industry in this state, and our cows are among more than 2 million head thriving on 12 million acres of Show-Me pastures. Tally all of our beef and dairy cows, calves, bulls and steers and we take care of 4.45 million head of cattle. That’s about two bovines for every household in the state.

Fever losses of 50 to 90 percent in Missouri herds were devastating to farmers and ranchers in the 1850s-1860s. A century-and-a-half later, cattle owners face an equally insidious adversary in animal welfare activists.Regardless of the semantics of the organizations – animal “rights,” animal “welfare” or animal “protection” – the gist of the threat is the same: the ruination of animal agriculture.

Beef cattle producers have survived disease outbreaks, crippling market cycles, soaring production costs and misleading cholesterol claims, but no former challenge was any greater than that now posed by animal rights activism.

Any threat to animal agriculture is a threat to more than the livestock producer.

If you enjoy a beef taco, pizza or hamburger, you are under attack.

If you drive a Schwan’s truck, work at Walmart or frequent a Subway sandwich shop, animal rights is about you.

If you’re a school cook, furniture salesman, car dealer, homebuilder or an accountant, animal rights is about you. Read More

National Beef Month is a great time to remind everyone how they are connected to the beef industry and all of agriculture. The old saying goes that if you aren’t hungry or naked, thank a farmer. It’s a simple but entirely true statement. That’s why these attempts by animal rights groups to eliminate the ability of animal agriculture to function in this country should be a concern to everyone. It’s nothing less than an attack on the ability to feed and clothe ourselves.

Chipotle Endorses HSUS

Chipotle announces support of HSUS
Posted on May 11th, 2010
Down the Dusty Lane
By Kyle Sharp

OK, survey time ... how many of you like eating at Chipotle?

I’ll admit, I enjoy the occasional Chipotle burrito myself, although I often somehow felt dirty after eating one. Why? Because of the information Chipotle distributes on their Web site and in their restaurants about how they source the meat they use. I have no problem with them using all naturally raised pork and chicken, and 50% naturally raised beef, if that is what they choose to do. It’s their habit of slandering conventional American agriculture in the process that doesn’t sit so well.

On the Chipotle Web site, the company touts the idea of making "Food With Integrity.” The site states: "Food With Integrity is a philosophy solidly based on a foundation of not exploiting animals, the environment or people.”

The not-so-hidden message there is that most U.S. farmers, those that produce more than 95% of the meat and animal products produced in this country, apparently do exploit animals, the environment and people.

But here is the final straw. Just two days before writing this column, I got an e-mail saying Chipotle was endorsing the Ohio efforts of HSUS to hijack the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board and obliterate Ohio agriculture via the overly restrictive, non-scientific initiative they are hoping to put on the November ballot. I had to see for myself, so I went to the effort’s Web site,, and sure enough. There, listed under business endorsements is Chipotle and their more than 100 locations in Ohio. Read More

Chipotle has decided publicly endorse the activities of the Humane Society of the United States. All of you know what they means, we get to publicly state our intention to never support a Chipotle restaurant ever again. Just a reminder, if you choose to leave a comment on their Facebook page or anywhere else, it’s best to tell your personal story and please leave out the name calling.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Biotech Benefitting Everyone

Biotechnology is future of farming
By Matt Hutton
Daily Review Atlas

Posted May 07, 2010 @ 07:56 PM

ROSEVILLE — By 2050, the United Nations estimates that the world's population will be 9.4 billion. To meet that growing need, economists say that during the next 40 years farmers will need to double their food production — it could take more food in the next 40 years to feed the world than it took in the last 10,000. Farmers say the only way to accomplish this feat is through biotechnology.

Illinois Soybean Association Chairman and Roseville Farmer Ron Moore was a speaker at a biotechnology conference — Heal, Fuel and Feed the World — in Chicago at McCormick Place. He said more than 15,000 people attended the event, which ran from May 3 to 6 with Moore involved in panel discussions May 4 and 5.

Moore said the advancements in biotechnology have drastically changed the agriculture industry in the past decade, especially the seed trade. Corn and soybeans can now be genetically engineered to be herbicide resistant, insect resistant and drought resistant. Read More

The benefits of biotechnology in our food have made a profound difference in our ability to produce more with less. Year after year, food production gets more efficient by combining generations of experience with new technology. We all benefit from a more reliable food supply and the use of less natural resources to grow it. ~ Troy

Third Party Experts Don't Find HSUS Allegations True

HSUS official denies egg videos were staged
May 7, 2010 by Ken Anderson

A top official of the Humane Society of the United States denies that video footage shot in Iowa egg barns may have been staged.

This after a recent third-party audit of one of the companies allegedly shown in the video—Rose Acre Farms—uncovered very few of the problems depicted in the video.

Paul Shapiro directs the factory farms campaign for HSUS. “This is really nonsense, in terms of these claims that somehow—some reason—these workers at these factory farms would be doing anything differently than they’re normally doing,” Shapiro says. “There’s no evidence of it and it’s just a way to try to deflect attention from the reality of what’s going on.”

Shapiro—an outspoken promoter of vegetarianism and veganism—has in the past made statements such as “Eating meat causes animal cruelty.” In light of that, we asked Shapiro if he understands why farmers and ranchers are suspicious of HSUS’ true motives.

“That certainly is my position that many farm animals are treated cruelly,” he says, “and, yeah, I agree with you that—I think some people in the industry may be uncomfortable with that.”

Read More

It’s a bit curious that the HSUS claims to be able to walk onto any farm and find horrible abuses that are rampant in agriculture and yet third-party auditors who are trained experts in livestock handling and facilities give good grades. I’m sure the HSUS has a host of conspiracy theories to explain this but common sense tells us that these agenda-based animal rights groups will do what it takes to get their name in the news.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Senate Cap & Trade Bill

Source: Energy bill next week
By: Jeanne CummingsMay 5, 2010 07:19 PM EDT

In a high-stakes move, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) are planning to forge ahead with or without Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and introduce an energy bill next week, according to sources familiar with the planning.

In addition to the uncertainty about Graham’s status on the bill, Kerry and Lieberman are gambling that the dramatic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will help, rather than hurt, momentum for the legislation.

That’s not a sure thing. As described in interviews, the reform package includes provisions that allow an expansion of offshore drilling and generous revenue sharing for coastal states that allow it. Lindsey told POLITICO those provisions were essential to his support.

Since the explosion at the BP rig began pumping millions of gallons of oil into the gulf, a host of Democratic and Republican senators have expressed skepticism if not outright opposition to the idea of expanding offshore test wells.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) threatened to filibuster the legislation. "If offshore drilling off the coast of the continental United States is part of it, this legislation is not going anywhere,” he said.

According to sources familiar with the senators’ deliberations, Kerry and Lieberman have concluded that the crisis in the gulf – which is likely to get worse before it gets better – will focus the public’s attention on the nation’s dependency on oil and facilitate the debate about reforming the energy sector. Read More

It’s irresponsible for our leaders to make reactionary decisions about the future of energy in this country based on what has happened in the Gulf of Mexico. Certainly that accident has turned into a significant mess and I don’t think anyone would deny that. However, it’s just as reckless to abandon these sources of energy when we have nothing to replace it with. To date, we can’t put sunshine or wind into the tanks of our cars. Taxing current sources of energy when there aren’t viable replacements only hurt working families in this country. But that seems to be a common theme as of late. Elitists continue to advocate for more expensive food and more expensive energy. We need to look at different energy sources as we move into the future, but common sense needs a seat at the table in these discussions.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Modern Ag Can Feed The World

Attention Whole Foods Shoppers
Stop obsessing about arugula. Your "sustainable" mantra -- organic, local, and slow -- is no recipe for saving the world's hungry millions.

From Whole Foods recyclable cloth bags to Michelle Obama's organic White House garden, modern eco-foodies are full of good intentions. We want to save the planet. Help local farmers. Fight climate change -- and childhood obesity, too. But though it's certainly a good thing to be thinking about global welfare while chopping our certified organic onions, the hope that we can help others by changing our shopping and eating habits is being wildly oversold to Western consumers. Food has become an elite preoccupation in the West, ironically, just as the most effective ways to address hunger in poor countries have fallen out of fashion.

Helping the world's poor feed themselves is no longer the rallying cry it once was. Food may be today's cause célèbre, but in the pampered West, that means trendy causes like making food "sustainable" -- in other words, organic, local, and slow. Appealing as that might sound, it is the wrong recipe for helping those who need it the most. Even our understanding of the global food problem is wrong these days, driven too much by the single issue of international prices. In April 2008, when the cost of rice for export had tripled in just six months and wheat reached its highest price in 28 years, a New York Times editorial branded this a "World Food Crisis." World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned that high food prices would be particularly damaging in poor countries, where "there is no margin for survival." Now that international rice prices are down 40 percent from their peak and wheat prices have fallen by more than half, we too quickly conclude that the crisis is over. Yet 850 million people in poor countries were chronically undernourished before the 2008 price spike, and the number is even larger now, thanks in part to last year's global recession. This is the real food crisis we face.

What's so tragic about this is that we know from experience how to fix the problem. Wherever the rural poor have gained access to improved roads, modern seeds, less expensive fertilizer, electrical power, and better schools and clinics, their productivity and their income have increased. But recent efforts to deliver such essentials have been undercut by deeply misguided (if sometimes well-meaning) advocacy against agricultural modernization and foreign aid.

In Europe and the United States, a new line of thinking has emerged in elite circles that opposes bringing improved seeds and fertilizers to traditional farmers and opposes linking those farmers more closely to international markets. Influential food writers, advocates, and celebrity restaurant owners are repeating the mantra that "sustainable food" in the future must be organic, local, and slow. But guess what: Rural Africa already has such a system, and it doesn't work. Few smallholder farmers in Africa use any synthetic chemicals, so their food is de facto organic. High transportation costs force them to purchase and sell almost all of their food locally. And food preparation is painfully slow. The result is nothing to celebrate: average income levels of only $1 a day and a one-in-three chance of being malnourished.

If we are going to get serious about solving global hunger, we need to de-romanticize our view of preindustrial food and farming. And that means learning to appreciate the modern, science-intensive, and highly capitalized agricultural system we've developed in the West. Without it, our food would be more expensive and less safe. In other words, a lot like the hunger-plagued rest of the world. Read More

This article does a nice job of highlighting how modern agriculture has the ability to wipe out hunger on this planet. While most of us take our everyday meals for granted, many people on this planet have never enjoyed that luxury. They are still farming the way we did in this country 100 years ago. The scary thing is that we have several people who have made themselves famous by advocating that the best thing the US could do is go back to farming that way. We are fortunate to provide so many choices for our consumers but the mentality that eliminating our technological advances in agriculture is the only way to go will only lead to more hungry people. ~Troy

OH Politician Urges Support for Livestock Board

Board should decide Ohio's livestock standards

Ohio's history is deeply rooted in the agricultural industry and continues to produce quality products for local and national use. Ohio is one of the top states for agriculture products, excelling in farming, cultivation and raising livestock. Our livestock and poultry industries play an especially important role in our state's economic success. Annually, Ohio produces more than 5 billion pounds of milk and 7 billion eggs and has roughly 75,000 farms. It is crucial to support this industry and community to keep our state economically competitive.

Last July, the Ohio General Assembly passed a resolution that placed an initiative on the November 2009 ballot. The initiative, Issue 2, was approved by voters and created the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board, an agriculture committee responsible for crafting standards to govern the care and well-being of livestock. The standards will be created through consideration of factors such as food safety, biosecurity, disease prevention and how to protect Ohio farms and families.

Recently, the majority of the appointments to this 13-member board were announced, consisting of Ohioans familiar with our state's agricultural industry, including veterinarians, local farmers and consumers. These new board members represent all parts of Ohio and the livestock industry, and the board will provide a public forum to make the best decisions for Ohio's livestock industry. It is imperative that we do all we can to support our local farms, and creating this board is a significant step in continuing Ohio's revered agricultural operations.

However, as I have written before, our agriculture community is being threatened by a Washington-run special interest group pushing regulations that would devastate our farmers. This organization is the Humane Society of the United States but should not to be confused with our local, nonprofit humane societies that focus on responsible pet ownership and animal adoptions. Instead, the HSUS is swiftly working on a ballot initiative for this November to enact over-reaching regulations on our livestock industry. Our newly created board, made up of only Ohioans, should be the group to create such regulations and standards, not an out-of-state special interest group.

As your state representative, I will continue advocating for sound policies that will serve to protect all Ohioans. I encourage you to be cautious of proposals from outsider groups that would undermine the very support you have shown Ohio's agriculture industry through the creation of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board. Link

This Ohio State Representative realizes that Ohio residents, not Washington, DC animal rights groups, are the ones who are most qualified to make decisions about livestock care. The HSUS has also run into some problems getting signatures. It seems that it’s illegal for non-residents to collect petition signatures in Ohio. This really puts a damper in their normal procedure of bringing in out-of-state hired guns to do their dirty work. If they truly had the support they claim to have I wouldn’t think they’d need to sue the state of Ohio in an attempt to change the law. It’s another great example of where they spend their money. Not on needy pets but on lawyers.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Food Inc. Follow-Up in KS

KLA President Defends Conventional Ag In Follow-Up To “Food, Inc.”
05/05/2010 08:58AM
Article Link

Public broadcasting affiliate KTWU- Topeka has produced a one-hour television program to air tonight at 9:00 as a follow-up to the controversial “Food, Inc.” KLA President Mark Smith served as a member of the diverse six-member agriculture panel discussing food issues on “Taking Stock: Perspectives on Food Production in Kansas.” The program was moderated by WIBW Radio Farm Director Kelly Lenz. Other panelists included Kansas Farm Bureau President Steve Baccus, Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty, Kansas Rural Center Executive Director Dan Nagengast, natural foods supplier Diana Endicott and former Kansas Gov. John Carlin.Smith, a Wallace County rancher, criticized “Food, Inc.” for presenting an inaccurate picture of American agriculture.

In response to the movie disparaging hard-working farmers and ranchers, Smith explained how today’s conventional ag producers deliver more safe, nutritious food using fewer natural resources due to advanced technology. Smith deflected the movie's criticism of confined animal feeding operations by talking about the quality care cattle receive in a feedyard. He said cattle spend most of their lives on grass, followed by a short 130- to 150-day period eating a balanced feed ration that produces flavorful beef demanded by consumers.

“Taking Stock” will air on all Kansas public television stations tonight following the system’s national airing of “Food, Inc.” at 7:00 p.m. In addition to providing industry sources to present the accurate story of modern beef production, NCBA, KLA and other affiliate groups are driving consumers to, where many of the common misperceptions in “Food, Inc.” are corrected with accurate information. For more information visit

As we travel around the country speaking to groups, we show them who is out telling their story and ask the question “Is this who want doing that?” If you don’t like who is speaking for you or what they are saying then you have to do it yourself. The Hollywood movie “Food Inc.” has opened the door to many discussions about agriculture. Unfortunately those involved with this movie were more interested in scaring people about their food than they were in sharing the truth. This means we need to. It’s great to see these Kansas producers taking back their story. Even more importantly though is the need for us to not let the truth get hijacked in the first place. It’s not easy but if all of us do something everyday to share the truth about ag we can do it.

Ag IS Sustainable

Defining Sustainable Agriculture
May 4, 2010 10:00 AM, By Kent Thiesse
Corn and Soybean Digest

“Sustainable agriculture” is a phrase that has been around for decades; however, it has recently been receiving increased emphasis by businesses, organizations and political leaders. USDA’s Ag Outlook Conference a couple months ago focused on sustainable agriculture, as did the Minnesota Agri-Growth Council annual meeting in October 2009. If you ask 100 people to define sustainable agriculture, you will likely get 100 different responses. Every person, business and organization seems to have its own definition of sustainability,as it relates to agriculture.

A more recent definition of sustainability is meeting the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. That definition is quite complex, and can have a wide-range of interpretations. Most university experts and business leaders see sustainable agriculture as being sustainable environmentally, economically and socially. The environmental and economic aspects of sustainability have been around for decades, even centuries, in agriculture. The social aspect of sustainability is a newer concept that is gaining more and more focus in many developed countries in the world, including the U.S.

As mentioned earlier, the concept of sustainable agriculture has existed for decades, and has been emphasized in farm bills as well as other federal and state legislation. Consider some of the agricultural facts and improvements from the past few decades that are related to economic, environmental and social achievements:

· Farmers today grow five times as much corn on 20% less land than they did in 1930.

· In 1940, one U.S. farmer produced enough food and fiber for 19 people, compared to production for 155 people today.

· From 1987 to 2007, average corn productivity increased by over 40%, and has increased at even more rapid pace in recent years.

· Corn producers grow 70% more corn/pound of fertilizer than they did in the 1970s.

· Reduced tillage and improved farm management practices have reduced soil erosion by about 43% in the last twenty years, while soil lost per bushel of corn produced has dropped by 69% during that same period of time.

· Carbon emissions per unit of output in crop production have dropped by one-third in the past 20 years, while energy used per unit of crop production has decreased by 60%. Read More

One of the frustrating things I hear being said about agriculture today is that farmers and ranchers need to change in order to be sustainable. There is this mentality being perpetuated by the likes of Michael Pollan and others that current farms and ranches, most of which are several generations old, aren’t sustainable. Not only is this not correct, but it’s also insulting. No one knows more about sustainability than those in agriculture. Not only do we set yearly goals, but I have never met a farmer or rancher that didn’t hope to be able to pass their business on to the next generation. So for those who want to claim ag needs to start being sustainable, well, they are late to a party that started many generations ago. ~Troy

Local Shelter Suffers Due to HSUS

Shelters: We’re not them
Kylie Saari — Staff Writer Fairmont Sentinel, Fairmont MN
POSTED: April 30, 2010

FAIRMONT - When the phone rings and a voice asks for donations to the Humane Society, many people's thoughts go to cats and dogs sitting in local shelters waiting to be adopted.
But more than likely, the group calling is not local but rather the Humane Society of the United States, a charity-funded lobbying organization.

According to research released recently by the Opinion Research Company, 71 percent of those surveyed believed Humane Society of the United States is an umbrella organization representing local shelters; 63 percent believe the local shelter is affiliated with the group; 59 percent believe Humane Society of the United States contributed most of its money to local organizations; and 48 percent believe their local shelter received financial support from Humane Society of the United States.

All four beliefs are false.

"Financially, Martin County Humane Society does not receive any funding directly from HSUS," wrote Karen Folkers, vice president of MCHS, in an email to the Sentinel.

The Sentinel has published letters from citizens pleading with others to reconsider donating to local shelters because of HSUS policies.

"These letters were in response to policies of and lobbying by the Humane Society of the United States," Folkers wrote. "We hope that readers realized that the writers were referring to the national group. MCHC is a completely separate entity. The Martin County Humane Society realizes how important farming is to the economy of our area." Read More

Here is another example of a local Humane Society that is suffering because of the actions of the HSUS.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Joplin Humane Society Forced To Change Name

April 28, 2010
No Affiliation
By Karen Aquino Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — As more and more Americans are putting the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) under the microscope, I would like to clarify a common misconception. A recent national study reveals that 7 of 10 Americans believe that the Humane Society of the United States is an “umbrella group” for local humane societies. This is not the case and seems to be the belief of many people in our region.

The Joplin Humane Society is in no way affiliated with the Humane Society of the United States or any other national organization. The Joplin Humane Society receives no funding or support from HSUS and we are an independent entity from a funding, oversight and philosophical perspective.

This misconception is so pervasive in our region that the Joplin Humane Society’s board of directors has made the difficult decision to change the name of our organization to reflect the fact that we are independent, local shelter. Our new name will also encompass our mission to promote the human-animal bond, prevent cruelty to animals and elevate the standard of care for animals in the four-state region.

The new name of the Joplin Humane Society will be announced at noon April 30 during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The Joplin Humane Society was founded in 1948 and provides care for 12,000 animals each year. All of our funding comes from private donations and fees for service.

Karen Aquino


Many local pet shelters are suffering due to the deliberate confusion being caused by the HSUS. Consequently, the animals are the ones that pay the biggest price. The constant ads asking for money by the HSUS would make anyone believe that they are involved in direct pet care, but nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a shame that so many local shelters are having to change their name in an attempt to distance themselves from the worlds wealthiest animal rights group. While the HSUS puts millions of dollars into salaries, fundraising, lobbying and buying stock in companies, our local shelters continue trying to operate on the pennies put in a pickle jar on the counter. If you want to help pets, please donate to the local shelters in our communities that actually help pets in need.

Consumer Investigates Her Food

Is organic food really better?
By Elizabeth Meryment
From: The Sunday Telegraph
May 02, 2010 12:12AM

SO you buy organic over conventional produce? I set out to investigate and uncovered some surprising facts.

A couple of years ago I was making a quiche when a weird thing happened. I was cracking egg after egg into a bowl when I noticed these were not ordinary eggs. I took a second look at the packet and saw that I’d accidentally bought the biodynamic, organic, free-range eggs that cost top dollar at my greengrocer.

The amazing thing was the eggs had such rich, golden yolks that the quiche wasn’t its usual yellow colour but a bright pumpkin-orange. And the finished dish tasted incredible. Even my three-year-old noticed the difference. “Look, Mummy, it’s orange!” she cried when I offered her a slice.I try to buy these organic eggs every time I shop, but the price is usually prohibitive. Yet whenever I’m cooking with eggs I can’t help but wonder about the benefit of organic over non-organic food.

While some in the health industry claim that organic food has properties that give it an almost healing quality, is this actually true? And if so, should we feel guilty whenever we select a conventionally grown apple or carrot over the more expensive organic option?

Speak to advocates of organic farming and they will tell you that yes, their produce is almost always better than that which is produced conventionally – that is, using pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers.

“There are some very good studies that show that on balance organic food has higher levels of nutrition,” says Andre Leu, chair of the Organic Federation of Australia. “The data we have from Australia and around the world tends to be consistent. The number one reason people buy organic is for health reasons and concern about the use of pesticides.

Associate Professor Samir Samman, from the School of Molecular Bioscience at the University of Sydney, says there is little evidence to suggest that organic food is nutritionally better than conventional food, especially in relation to fresh fruit and vegetables.

In a yet-to-be released major study that has been accepted for publication in the international scientific journal Critical Reviews In Food Science And Nutrition, Professor Samman and his team “surveyed the international literature and critically evaluated the results” – and they aren’t heartening for the organics industry.

“Our review showed [that] when all the published articles on this topic are considered, organic food is reported to contain more vitamin C and phosphorous than conventionally produced food,” Professor Samman says. “[But] when the articles are scrutinised for scientific quality, and only the better-quality articles are considered, only phosphorous remained significantly higher in organic food as compared with conventional foods."

"Phosphorous is not in any way a limiting nutrient in the diet. The presence of higher amounts in organic food has probably little significance. We conclude from the analysis that the nutrient composition differs very little between foods that are produced by organic and conventional methods." Read More

Throwing wild accusations around about the food some family farmers and ranchers produce helps no one. For me personally, I never trust anyone whose main marketing plan to sell something is to degrade the competition. I think if you have a good product to sell it’s not necessary. In food production, the choices we can provide to the consumer are almost hard to believe. It’s a fantastic accomplishment that needs to be celebrated. Instead we have some farmers and ranchers who feel the need to destroy the family down the road that uses a different production method. There is no perfect system, all of them have positives and negatives associated with them.

Preventing Agroterrorism

Preventing terrorism in the food industry
By Geni Wren Friday, April 30, 2010

Agriculture and our food supply is not immune from terrorism, however, the good news is that the potential remains lower than one might think. History shows us that agricultural or food supply terrorism has traditionally not worked that well.

Speaking at the Animal Agriculture Alliance meeting in Arlington, Va., this week, Homeland Security Today editor David Silverberg described some early attempts at livestock and food supply terrorism that failed. For instance, during World War I, there was a determined effort by the Germans to kill their enemies’ horses and mules with anthrax and glanders in Romania, Spain, Norway, Argentina and the U.S. “It was one of the largest and well-organized animal sabotage attempts,” explained Silverberg (who showed a WWI photo of a horse wearing a gas mask),” but it just did not work very well.”

During WWII, Japan had an active biological program against the Soviet Union in Mongolia. He said that Japanese agents used anthrax and rinderpest and in 1931 tried to poison a League of Nations delegation with cholera-tainted fruit. That effort also failed.

More recently in 1979, the Arab Revolutionary Council poisoned Israeli oranges with mercury, disrupting Israeli trade. The problem with that tactic is that is damaged other countries’ trade. “It showed the unpredictability of agroterrorism,” Silverberg said. “They got everyone mad at them and did not achieved their larger political objective.” Read More

Agroterrorism certainly needs to be taken seriously. Besides the examples given in this article, there are many others. The FBI’s number one domestic terrorist threat is the Animal Liberation Front. These folks have terrorized many farms and ranches across the country. Whether it’s turning livestock loose, destroying research facilities, or trying to kill researchers, they employ terrorism as their main weapon. Taking precautions and keeping our eyes open for suspicious behavior in rural areas is our first line of defense for our food supply. Unfortunately that is the world we live in today so everyone needs to be part of the solution.