Penning Pigs: Dear Matt with HSUS

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Last week, I wrote about a conversation I'd had with an individual who worked for one of the animal rights groups. The original conversation took place a few months ago, when producers were frantically dealing with Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) had just sent out a news release, the purpose of which was to alarm consumers about feedback - the only method available to producers to protect their herds agains PEDv. 

The person at HSUS with whom I talked was Matt Prescott. Matt spends a lot of time being "friendly" with people like me - he promptly sends any news that may be perceived as positive to his organization's agenda to editors and others in animal agriculture. 

I wrote back to Matt that he should read Erin Brenneman's blog about what it was really like to go through a PEDv outbreak - about its devastating affect on the morale of the people in addition to the terrible impact on the animals. I suggested to Matt that he visit Erin's farm. He replied that "he would love to!" I was sure he'd told me in that conversation that he had not been on any modern pork operations in the United States (which would explain his enthusiams about the opportunity to visit Erin's farm) but he tells me this is not true - that I misunderstood him. 

It's possible that I did misunderstand Matt, but it's hard to say. Even though he was very anxious to go to Erin's operation, he refuses to tell me the names of the people who own the farms he purportedly has visited (if you are one of those producers, and you're reading this, please confirm that you've hosted Matt on your farm). I've assured him that I only want to confirm that he has, in actuality, been on a modern pork farm. I jokingly suggested that the reason he didn't want to tell me was because he was on the farm in the middle of the night with a video camera. Of course, I was only joking.

The conversation mentioned earlier is what prompted my blog, and my recommendation that we not invite HSUS personnel or other animal rights activists onto our farms. Because, as I mentioned, we cannot trust what they do or what they say. The organization's objectives are counter to those of animal agriculture. If I believed that Matt and others like him truly wanted to see a modern operation to learn and understand the practices used, I'd be the first to encourage producers to open their doors, but I don't foresee that happening anytime in the near future.

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Randy Janssen    
San Antonio  |  June, 02, 2014 at 06:08 AM

This is the type of publicity stunt the HSUS does to get people to donate to the HSUS and not their local shelters that really help animals. Like most HSUS stunts, there is a lot of verbiage and no documentation. The HSUS is not your local animal shelter. The HSUS has been hijacked by radical animal rights activist. It is an over 150 million dollar corporation that spends almost every dime it gets on obscene salaries and filing lawsuits. It raises money by showing ads of cute dogs and cats, but it spends less then 1 cent on the dollar to feed and shelter cats and dogs. The HSUS is being investigated for fraud and it was convicted of racketeering in Florida. More and more members of congress are questioning the tax free status of the HSUS because of its political activities. The HSUS IS AGAINST RODEO AND WESTERN TRADITIONS. IT IS FOR A VEGETERIAN LIFE STYLE AND AGAINST EATING MEAT. ( This was posted on a report about a statue to Gandhi that the HSUS helped pay for. “ God bless Sadhu Vaswani and the HSUS for taking this opportunity to promote Mahatma Gandhi's vegetarian philosophy!”) The HSUS says it spends 79% of its money for animal welfare programs, but it does not say what they are. The HSUS has been accused of paying employees to abuse animals and videoing the abuse as proof that meat production should be stopped. The HSUS uses some of its money to change our eating habits and standard of living by working to outlaw farming methods which are used on family farms. The HSUS is bad for America so don't applaud its lackeys. If you want to support something think about giving to the child fund, St. Jude, the Wounded Warriors, or you local food bank. If you want to help animals, give money to you local animal shelter. Giving money to the HSUS is throwing money away on a bloated bureaucracy that waste it on salaries and litigation. It claims to do good but if you really look at what it does, it only piggybacks on the work of local organizations.

St. Louis  |  June, 02, 2014 at 04:09 PM

What a disingenuous writing. You suggest Matt visit a "modern" pig farm, but then you turn around and recommend never inviting HSUS to any of these farms. Trust? The only person who has demonstrated a less than trustworthy attitude, is you. Seriously, if the only way you feel these "modern" pig farms can operate is behind closed doors, in the dark, and threatening criminal arrest for anyone who exposes any of the operations, then "trust" isn't a word I'd bandy about if I were you.

JoAnn Alumbaugh    
Iowa  |  June, 02, 2014 at 04:42 PM

Hello Shelley - I'm sorry you feel this way, and I'm afraid you've misinterpreted my comments. Most producers welcome visitors, particularly those whose objective is to learn about modern pork production. In fact, the farm I mentioned (Erin Brenneman's family) hosts hundreds of school children, international guests and others each year. She also shares photos of their operation on a regular basis on PorkNetwork. Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana also showcases modern pork production. When producers feel the visitors are there to gain a first-hand view of pork production, most of them are happy to open their doors. As I mentioned in the earlier blog, HSUS believes the "Three R's," which are in direct conflict with U.S. pork production.

Jersey  |  June, 04, 2014 at 06:46 PM

Matt Prescott has a big-time credibility problem. Prescott created the repulsive "Holocaust On Your Plate" campaign while at PETA. He believed - and still believes - that the treatment of animals on large farms is comparable to the torture and deaths of 6 million Jews during the Holocaut.. PETA President Ingrid Newkirk eventually apologized to the Jewish community (sort of apologized) but Matt Prescott never has. Plus, he chose to leave PETA for the Humane Society of the United States, which makes PETA look like the Girl Scouts. Prescott LIED to the Holocaust Museum in order to obtain sensitive documents and photo images. The Museum director had no idea of his true intentions. He also used Elie Weisel's name in the campaign, without his permission. Wiesel was deeply angered (and pained) by this, and he harshly condemned the "Holocaust On Your Plate" exhibit.. Before I would believe Matt Prescott's claims, I would administer a lie detector test, truth serum, and have him sign a sworn statement.. Would I accept his word after that? Maybe.

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