Berman: A trip into the lions’ den

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Rick Berman Rick Berman Animal rights activists have gotten smarter. In the 80s and 90s, extremist tactics were in vogue, such as throwing paint on fur coats or breaking into laboratories. The passage of strong federal laws helped curtail this, but the true believers realized that honey attracts more flies than vinegar. They wisely “matured” in their image from angry activist to suit-wearing moderate.

The image has helped them make inroads with some restaurant companies as they try to “befriend” corporations to make public statements against individual maternity pen housing of sows. Their demands and demeanor seem reasonable. But to get the true story, it’s important to see what they say when they are “off the record” and among friends.

Several of my staff recently attended the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) “Taking Action for Animals” conference in Washington, D.C. This was a gathering of the “Who’s Who” of the animal liberation movement.

I’ll get into that in a moment. But for all of the organization’s posturing as a group that wants to help restaurants serve “humane” animal products, know this: Not a single animal product was on the menu at HSUS’s conference. HSUS has an office vegan policy. Its key leaders are vegan and don’t believe in ice cream, butter, meat, cheese, or any product that has its genesis in farm animals.  

This is representative of a fundamental and philosophical duplicity that any company should beware of.

HSUS talks a good game of soft accommodation but behind closed doors its real agenda is apparent. Just look at the speakers list for HSUS’s conference. Among them was Bruce Friedrich, who has said that “blowing things up and smashing windows” is “a great way to bring about animal liberation.” Further, Friedrich offered that “I think it would be great if all of the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories, and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow.”

The rest of the conference was essentially a pep rally for activist leaders like Friedrich to spread their propaganda.

In a raucous session, Farmageddon author Philip Lymbery told the crowd that they could end modern farming. The intellectuals also got their time to shine, with professor Timothy Pachirat speaking about major social change. (“Social change,” for the HSUS crowd, means moving to a totally vegan society.)

There were speakers with criminal records, such as moderator John Goodwin (a former spokesman for the FBI-designated terrorist group Animal Liberation Front) and Nick Cooney (convicted of making terroristic threats to corporate employees).

A PETA alumnus—a fellow who created PETA’s campaign comparing modern farms to Nazi concentration camps—gave a talk on corporate advocacy on HSUS’s behalf. (A former PETA “lettuce lady,” who did street theater in a veggie bikini, represented HSUS’s “Meatless Monday” campaign at the also-radical “Animal Rights 2014” conference in Los Angeles a few weeks later.)

Then came a “town hall” session with HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle, where the big cheese adamantly announced that the current level of animal agriculture production can't continue.

What Pacelle encourages in his sales pitch is self-righteousness. The attendees are told that not only do they occupy the moral high ground, but that history is on their side. That their cause is analogous to civil rights movements. Pacelle presumably sees himself in the role of Martin Luther King. In truth, he is actually more like Al Sharpton.

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kansas  |  August, 04, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Thank you Mr. Berman! And please see that this type of information reaches a WIDE audience outside the modern agricultural community. We here have spent too many years talking among ourselves, self-deluding & patting ourselves on the back, simultaneously thinking ourselves helpless victims of a "few bad actors". This is a war, and we won't win with an "education" and public outreach programs strategy alone.

Florida  |  August, 05, 2014 at 06:49 AM

It is indeed a war and it's being fought on many fronts. Sitting duck targets like dog breeders, Ringling, SeaWorld, and the NYC carriage horses are being used as cash cows to raise the funds to eventually polish off the main course, animal agriculture. Each victory AR has with them helps soften the bellies of the public so they are numb to the fact that it's about them and future generations losing our ways of life. Many in those other animal groups have spent a great deal of time learning about and following ag's issues from pages like HumaneWatch, Protect The Harvest and myriad other sources; educating themselves and others and lending their voices when there are calls to action in the ag arena. But please be aware that needs to work both ways. We need the numbers, voices and power of ag to be there for all these other struggles as well. Telling everyone HSUS only gives 1% to shelters and they should donate locally is one way to fight but it is by far not the only way; it's just entry level. Everyone in the fight needs to be able to tell all the rest of the stories and to be there to block all of the attacks. One loss is everyone's loss in the fight against AR.

Laurella Desborough    
Florida  |  August, 04, 2014 at 02:46 PM

I am posting the link to this material on my facebook and urging it to be shared. People need to know that these animal rights organizations are actually trying to take us back to the stone age...they are clueless about health, animals and everything except their insane agenda. Thanks for this information.

Oklahoma  |  August, 04, 2014 at 04:31 PM

Glad to see Berman once again outing the sociopathic H$U$ and its AR "true believer" leaders. Keep sending out the message and we'll keep spreading it in our own social networks. The animal rights movement is ANTI-AMERICAN and ANTI-SOCIETAL.

Las Vegas, NV  |  August, 04, 2014 at 06:18 PM

I know it's customary to speak ill of the devil around here but, I have to say, Mr. Berman has a vivid imagination. I was at that conference and, while it is true that no meat or dairy was offered, characterizing the conference as a propaganda-filled activist pep rally is way over the top. In fact, most of the people I spoke to there were very welcoming to us small farmers, and were polite and very much interested in the work that we do. They all have an antipathy for CAFOs - but that should not be news to anyone in agriculture. And the session with Phillip Lymbery was "raucous"?? I must have been in a different session than the one Berman's staff attended because the one I was in, was filled with mostly city folk who aren't used to being awake that early. I was actually impressed with how supportive the attendees and speakers were of small farms. The whole event was nothing like I expected it would be. Oh, yes, and quite a lot of the people attending would have loved it if the menus had included a burger or some BBQ. But, hey - when in Rome...

Alafair Robicheaux    
Orange County California  |  August, 04, 2014 at 07:30 PM

Rick Berman would protect the devil himself if you could make a buck off of it. You are truly full of crap Berman and you think you are doing such a good thing when in fact you are a big part of the problem. And may you pass away very soon from all the gmo, antibiotic, pus, chemical laden meat, milk and all the other crap that you cover up and put a smoke screen in front of to an unsuspecting public. But that probably won't happen because you probably never touch the stuff. You are a True Fraud and a very evil person.

Kimberly Kraemer    
Marion Indiana  |  August, 04, 2014 at 09:50 PM

"What Pacelle encourages in his sales pitch is self-righteousness.......That their cause is analogous to civil rights movements." Goodness Gracious Mr. Berman, Pacelle didn't lie. He told the direct truth. The animal rights movement is analogous to the civil rights era. What he didn't say was what side of the civil rights movement they are on. Give every animal the right to free speech, free press, the right to own a gun, and I'm sure the animal rights extremist will be quiet in their seats until one of those rights for animals is infringed upon. Then the Big Cheese can use the rights of the animals to violate our rights even more! Sounds like a heck of a deal to me!

Dr. H. Houston    
August, 05, 2014 at 06:42 AM

Of course they will be nice to the small farmer who is clueless about their agenda as they want to use you to push their agenda. Do you not realize that this group is a cult and their goal is to eliminate all farming and ranching. Their goal is to put you out of business unless you only raise strawberries. This is why cults such as these continue to grow stupid people like you who cannot see the truth. They were nice to you because they have been told to bring you into the fold and use you to end farming.

Florida  |  August, 05, 2014 at 06:51 AM

Another Joe Maxwell is born.

David Nash, DVM    
TN  |  August, 05, 2014 at 09:22 AM

It's interesting that H$U$'s Pacelle recently associated with Al Sharpton - birds of a feather in successfully hustling the poorly informed/guilty-feeling

Terry Ward    
Pa  |  August, 05, 2014 at 04:43 PM

How's Tricky Rick workin for ya'll? "A recent survey suggests consumers are using animal protection organization as their primary source of information about livestock welfare. The study by Purdue University, Published in the Journal of Animal Science, indicated the ag industry is a less used source of public information for animal welfare.

Los Angeles  |  August, 06, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Thank you, Mr Berman, for shedding some more light on this evil "cult"!!!!!! I have posted this link far and wide! One word for you - HERO!!!!! As for Wayne??? Can think of a few words - devious, duplicitous, greedy, hypocrite, nasty, evil, human hater, self-centered, arrested development, self-righteous, egotistical, LIAR!!! Yep - that's Wayne!!!! He's all of those and then some - and you know what they say about like attracting like!!!!

usa  |  August, 06, 2014 at 12:03 PM

and like Rome the HSUS wants to conquer all they (excuse the pun) have a lot of Gaul and it is sad that you took "politeness' as proof that they do not want to eliminate your way of life. The CAFOS are the first to feed the to alligator.. your turn will be some where down the line but make no mistake you will be eaten if you continue to see an all vegan conference as just a bunch of people who really wanted to eat Barbque but heck you know.. they were in "Rome" Caesar fell and so shall the HSUS.If you want .. You are blinded by the "sleeping city folk" .. they too will have no problem throwing you to the hungry alligator when the time is right. No alligator has to eat every day.. but when they do eat they eat big.

usa  |  August, 06, 2014 at 12:05 PM

ahh the kindness and loving nature of the vegan emerges

Chris Parker    
Saratoga, WI  |  August, 08, 2014 at 12:41 PM

If you stand against animal "rights" duplicity, please help me spread the word about a newly launched Web site that tries to monitor these yahoos: We should try to hold the feet of the militant anti-farming people to the fire in the same way that they attack honest, hard-working farmers. CWCW has a Web site and a pretty decent Facebook page, but it's just getting off the ground and I'd love to see its message/content reach a wider audience.

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