The Voice of Agriculture?

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The Voice of Agriculture?

Fighting public opinion, tooth and nail

I’m not even quite sure where to start with this one. Apparently HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) has worked with a company called Sonic, which runs a chain of drive-in restaurants across the United States, to switch to cage-free eggs and pig meat from farms that don’t use gestation crates.

Here’s what the kind and loving folks at the Kansas Farm Bureau (“The Voice of Agriculture”) had to say in a letter to Sonic’s CEO:

When our members learned that the Humane Society of the United States was publicly applauding your decision to begin phasing in cage-free eggs and acquiring pork from facilities that do not use breeding hog gestation stalls, they were upset, to say the very least.

The letter goes on to describe HSUS as

a powerful, well-funded activist organization pursuing what most reasonable observers would consider an extreme anti-animal agenda.

Apparently wanting animals to be able to live with enough space so they can stand up, turn around, and stretch their limbs is “anti-animal.” Of course, in contrast they are saying that “farmers” who confine chickens in battery cages and keep animals indoors, on concrete floors, in crates that prevent them from turning around or engaging in pretty much anything normal pigs do, like rooting in the mud, searching for food, preparing their bed at night and so on, are “pro-animal.”

I’d say maybe “pro-meat” or “pro-suffering” or “pro-profit” but certainly not “pro-animal.” But what do I know? I only grew up around animals, spent a great deal of my life caring for animals, and have experienced animals being able to live with the freedom to be the animals they have evolved to be, not the animals that profit has forced them to be.

They see this small (and I mean tiny) step as a threat to the entire American way of life:

HSUS seeks to remove meat from our dinner tables, leather goods from our closets, animals from zoos and circuses and eventually – pets from our families.

Steve Baccus, the President of the Kansas Farm Bureau, writes of “thoughtful, common sense folks” but he doesn’t seem to realize that public opinion is really moving against the treatment of animals as “production units” who can treated in whatever manner as long as it is profitable.

He really just comes off as paranoid. Meeting these minimal animal welfare standards is a far cry from the horrific apocalypse that he is predicting. I mean, it’s not as if Sonic is switching their menu to vegan or making any real changes. Switching to cage-free eggs is a no-effort switch, since the same suppliers carry both kinds of eggs and the cost is basically the same. Conditions are only marginally better for cage-free hens.

If I lived in Kansas I would be asking my “Voice of Agriculture” why they aren’t on the leading edge of giving consumers what they want instead of making ridiculous claims about how “radical” the most conservative “animal rights” organization in the United States is. Businesses know that making these changes is viewed as positive by consumers, and they wouldn’t risk profits to make these changes. The Farm Bureau would do a better service to their members if they were paying attention to what consumers want instead of fighting change.


6 Comments

Farmer

February 8, 2010 at 7:18 am

Go here if you don’t know what HSUS is about. This is about Yellow Tail wine, but message is the same.
http://toughsledding.wordpress.com/2010/02/07/groundswell-of-oppostion-greets-companys-support-for-animal-rights-group/

Pretty good blog. I understand Farm Bureau’s point of view. Nobody is stating the fact that properly caged chickens are healthier and safer, that controlled environments with animals such as chickens and hogs have scientifically shown less disease and safer product for the consumer, as well protecting piglets. HSUS needs to come clean with their vegan agenda. If all they wanted was not to abuse animals, they’d have ag groups on their side. That’s not all they want, they know it, you know it. Be honest, and stop trying to confuse the public.

Kevin

February 8, 2010 at 11:24 am

I don’t know much about the confined chickens thing, but I do know a bit about raising hogs. The purpose of the gestation stalls is to protect the newborn pigs. The mothers aren’t spending their whole lives in these stalls – just a couple of weeks before their 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days of baby-pig-percolating is up and a couple weeks afterward. You see, mother pigs have a pretty bad habit of eating their newborn progeny. The stalls give the young ones a place to hide. They also give them a place where they can be sure that their mama won’t trample them. A new mother – pig or no – isn’t really up to rooting around and playing in the mud. Their just a temporary maternity ward for the pigs. I don’t see what the problem is with that.

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February 8, 2010 at 11:28 am

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberation BC, Miss Jess. Miss Jess said: RT @liberationbc: My latest post about the anti-animal Kansas Farm Bureau http://bit.ly/a55iwJ […]

Joanne

February 10, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Great suggestion, Kevin. I’ve heard that some humans occasionally shake their babies to death. Perhaps we should chop off the hands of all the people who have babies. You are a genius!

Becci

February 11, 2010 at 1:05 am

Hi Kevin,

The eating of the young occurs specifically as a result of the stress brought on by captivity, so it’s an entirely unnatural situation altogether. We’re not exactly talking about doing the sows a favour.

dawnofanewera

February 13, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Firstly, Mr. Farmer sir, the HSUS promotes the humane treatment of animals. This is their agenda – no secret.

And yes, Kevin, the way pigs are currently treated is for their own good. Having their tails cut off and teeth pulled, living on overcrowded slabs of concrete. Mothers kept pregnant and strapped to the floor for large segments of their lives Being transported in trucks where they often die from lack of food and water, or being trampling on their way to slaughter. We are only doing for them what they would have chosen.

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