Livestock producers took to the airwaves this morning to respond to yesterday’s interview by AgriTalk’s host Mike Adams of Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) president. 

“We’re here to help animals, not hurt them,” a Missouri poultry producer asserted this morning on AgriTalk’s call-in radio program. He cited personal experience, and said that there are numerous independent research studies on poultry housing that show that mortality rates double — or even triple — for laying hens raised cage-free versus those housed in cages due to natural animal crowding behavior. “How is that humane?” he asked incredulously.

Adams recalled Pacelle’s claim that HSUS is willing to work with agriculture to develop better conditions for animals; however, that conversation seems to be a one-way street. HSUS is willing to sit at the negotiating table as long as agriculture agrees with what HSUS wants.

To this end, a New York caller said of the “negotiations” that took place in Colorado, HSUS says it negotiated the timeline on certain practices from 10 years to 20 years. “It really was a negotiation of the terms of surrender,” the caller noted.

Callers also found Pacelle arrogant and thought his ego was bruised by Ohio’s response to HSUS involvement in its livestock industry. And they wanted to know, why is the HSUS way the only way that animal agriculture can improve?

David Martosko, research director for the Center for Consumer Freedom, joined the conversation, adding that Pacelle performed “masterfully” yesterday in refusing to be pinned down for what he really is, an animal-rights activist leading an animal-rights group. HSUS is just PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) with better wristwatches and better suits, according to Martosko.

Martosko adds that the big concern for HSUS with respect to the Ohio situation is that the formation of an Ohio Livestock Animal Care Board means that HSUS will lose the chance to raise money off the issue. For example, with Proposition 2 in California last year, the group spent millions to promote their position, but made millions more in fund-raising efforts.

Keep in mind Martosko warns, these are not well-meaning activists. HSUS is a business. Click here for more.

The lone voice of dissent came from a Nebraska rancher who had worked with HSUS to process wild mustangs for adoption. “HSUS has a lot to offer farmers and ranchers,” he says. “We need to keep the lines of communication open.”

There ought to be middle ground, agrees Adams. Livestock producers want to do the best for their animals, and HSUS claims that’s what they want too. The problem is, the definition of what’s best for animals is at issue.

Listen to today’s broadcast.