Agribusiness Battles HSUS In Midwest

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The escalating battle between U.S. agriculture and the Humane Society of the United States “is getting ugly,” according to a weekend article in the Kansas City Star. The Midwest is a key battleground.

In Missouri, there may be a showdown this November in the form of an HSUS ballot initiative over a proposed law to regulate dog breeders. Opponents to the ballot are led by the head of the state pork association, according to the article.

“Ultimately, the (HSUS) wants to make it more difficult to produce livestock on the scale that this country requires to meet demand,” said Don Lipton, a spokesman for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Meanwhile, the HSUS, saying its critics are spewing inflammatory rhetoric, is pushing ahead, state by state, for laws against cruelty, from “puppy mills” to confinement animal feeding operations.

In Ohio, HSUS is attempting to place an anti-cruelty measure on the statewide November ballot.

In Kansas, the president of the state Farm Bureau is firing off complaints to corporations that show signs of empathy with the society. Nationally, agribusiness interests launch daily salvos against the society through a new outlet at www.HumaneWatch.org.

“They see (our) strength and they’re very paranoid about it,” said society president Wayne Pacelle. “But we remind them and others that we are seeking simply to curb the worst abuses in livestock.” The industry doesn’t buy that.

Last month, an Australian wine maker withdrew future HSUS donations after it received extensive criticism from U.S agriculture over its announcement of a $100,000 donation to the animal rights group.

Industry argues that agriculture is vitally important to the economy and that each farmer produces food to sustain 155 people. Unnecessary rules on animal welfare pushed by the society, it says, will drive up prices, cause food shortages and force farmers out of business.

The HSUS denies that it wants to destroy livestock production, although it does promote vegetarianism. HSUS believes livestock farms are heavy greenhouse-gas emitters.

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Source: Kansas City Star


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