Tuesday, October 6, 2009

IA Hog Farmers Dodging Bullets

Bullets add to hog farmers' worries
By Elizabeth Ahlin

A bad year for western Iowa hog farmers just got worse.

After months of consistent economic losses because of dropping hog prices and lower demand for pork, they can now add “shooting target” to their list of woes.

Several liquid propane tanks on hog farms have been hit by bullets from a high-caliber rifle, Calhoun County Sheriff Bill Davis said Monday.

The shooter or shooters appear to target hog farms in Sac and Calhoun Counties. All of the propane tanks that were fired upon were near modern, indoor hog barns, Davis said.

To date, no one has been injured, but the practice is extremely dangerous, said Aaron Putze, executive director of the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers.

Speculation abounds as to what is behind the shootings. Are they some sort of prank? The action of ecoterrorists? Or something different entirely? Authorities have not named a motive or a suspect.

The Animal Liberation Front claimed responsibility for vandalism to an animal laboratory at the University of Iowa in 2004 and for the release of minks from an Iowa farm in 2002 and 2000. A spokeswoman for the group does not believe ALF is involved in the shootings. Read More

While it’s unknown who is doing this, the fact that these attacks have only been against family farmers who use modern production methods would suggest that it could be some animal rights activists. It also fits in with the mentality of those groups who value the life of an animal more than they do people. Either way, these families shouldn’t have to be worried about being shot at while taking care of their livestock. Hopefully those that are responsible are caught very soon before they hurt someone.

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