Commentary: HSUS and the 'food cliff'

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The fiscal cliff is not the only one we are facing in this country.  The food cliff is also looming if the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has their way.  California consumers could soon see a reduction in locally produced eggs, not to mention substantially higher prices for eggs, if producers are forced to try to comply with Proposition 2.  Despite attempts for clarification since the law passed in 2008, producers still don’t know how to comply with the law set to take effect in 2015. 

California’s egg farmers are seeking to have Proposition 2 overturned.  It’s estimated that it would take as much as $400 million dollars and three years to construct new facilities and producers are facing the possibility that they still wouldn’t be in compliance.   Many California egg farmers could be forced to leave the state or go out of business.  I wonder if the state’s consumers that voted for Proposition 2 are rethinking their decision?

Meanwhile several food companies and restaurants that have announced they would force their pork suppliers to stop using gestation stall production systems are beginning to realize what they have done.   Their decisions may have temporarily relieved some of the pressure they were getting from HSUS but now reality is setting in.  Very little pork is currently available to them that would meet these new production requirements. 

Producers are rightly reluctant to make costly and unneeded changes in their operations especially in these difficult financial times for the industry.   Of course HSUS isn’t worried about that.   Their goal is to make it harder for pork producers to stay in business and to make pork products less available and more expensive for consumers. 

I hope consumers see the pattern here.  Groups like HSUS hide their objective of eliminating meat as a food choice behind a false premise of animal welfare.  This also includes a false perception that they are battling only large scale production.  HSUS likes to use a divide and conquer strategy pitting large producers against smaller ones. Those in animal agriculture need to understand that these activist groups are working against producers of all sizes.

Consumers need to understand that animals won’t be better off if HSUS gets their way.  The only winners will be HSUS as they continue to make more money while taking away food choices and jobs. 

Improvements in food production can and are continually being made.  We need to trust the experts (producers, animal scientists and veterinarians) to make production decisions.  History shows us that has led to U.S. consumers enjoying the safest, most affordable food supply in the world. 

Accepting HSUS’s false claims of expertise will lead to less food availability, higher prices and loss of jobs.  That’s a cliff we need to avoid.

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Iowa  |  December, 04, 2012 at 04:42 PM

I have had a resent dialog with one of the Vice President's of purchasing of one food companies. They are planing on buying all products from none stall production systems in the future. Producer groups and HSUS didn't provide the true reality that pigs fight like hens or rhinos in pens. Pens housing typically have more death loss ,injuries and more thin or fat sows and lower Quality of Life thansows housed in protective stalls . How would your business or employer like to be forced to go back to the 1970's production methods, and levels of productivity? HSUS was successful in stopping U.S. slaughter of any horses that would mostly be used for dog food, now it is common to have horses let go to starve or neglected in a pen do to zero market valuel. l HSUS uses less than 1% of there vast donations to help animal shelters, that are doing there best to help these neglected horses. Rather HSUS is moving on to the next conquest, Protective stalls and all meat production. Protein cost for the low income families will be a higher % of there income do to the HSUS goals. Protective gestation stalls work well and are the safest for workers on sow farms. Stop Funding HSUS and help everyone in the USA including the sows horses cattle dogs and cats!

terry Ward    
Pa  |  December, 04, 2012 at 11:26 PM

OMG you guys are still at it....

IL  |  December, 05, 2012 at 07:55 AM

Excellent article, directly on-point, and will be shared on social networks. Thank you for your continued effort to exposes HSUS for what it is.

NJ Cat Lover    
December, 05, 2012 at 08:50 AM

Terry Ward, YOU are still at it! As a troll for HSUS you go around and make ad hominem attacks on the writers and commenters of stories like this, because there is no way of refuting the FACTS of the matter. Why don't you go crawl back under your rock?

iowa  |  December, 05, 2012 at 08:53 AM

Why do the pork, beef, and poultry industries continue to allow HSUS to promote their agenda with out fighting back? These three groups should pool their checkoff dollars and start fighting back with a massive marketing campaign exposing the HSUS for what it is --a radical group that uses deception and isolated, graphic videos to get money from the public to pay their people large salaries. The HSUS does not want humane care for animals. They want NO animals used for food. What programs does HSUS support? They don't give any money to the farmers to help improve facilities. They give it to themselves and back in to their marketing campaigns. Leaders of the pork, beef, and poultry groups please quit sitting on your hands and letting the HSUS dominate this game. Let the public know what it takes to make quality, safe meat products at an affordable cost. Tell the restaurant and grocery groups your story and expose HSUS for what it is.

Ohio  |  December, 05, 2012 at 09:43 AM

People do not remember what happened when South Dakota passed a law that packers must pay everyone the same amount for their animals. The packer response was fine - we will not buy any animals in South Dakota. It took about 2 weeks to change the law. We need these cliffs. They should apply to all products. So on Jan 1, 2015 when you can't buy eggs in Southern California, maybe consumers will wake up. Too bad pork will also not disappear from the market. The only way to fight HSUS is wake up consumers and let them know what the consequences of their actions are. Then lets see how much they really care. We just need to be sure that the solution is to repeal the law. The same is true of stall free pork. Just say no. Let them bid up the price of what is out there and see if they really want it. Even though pens are less humane, I will be happy to use them if the price is twice as high.

Howard Hail    
December, 05, 2012 at 09:54 AM

Using gestation crates and stalls is the humane way to go because pigs will attack each other and prevent smaller pigs from eating properly and from anything else. This HSUS propaganda to end the proven and effective use of gestation stalls to stop sows from squashing their babies or from killing other pigs is just a way for them to raise money from the unknowing public. But those of use old enough to remember how it was know these stalls increase production make pigs happy and prevent pigs from abusing each other. I can remember on the farm when my fathers two sows who had the run of the entire farm spent every single day fighting over their food. It only ended when the bigger pig killed the smaller one. After that they were moved to stalls especially since that pig started chasing other animals to kill. HSUS is like that old pig greedy, malicious, and heartless to the core. Its time they were stopped before more people and animals are harmed by them.

Ohio  |  December, 05, 2012 at 11:19 AM

HSUS and its cohort bully groups are not only wrecking havoc on ALL animal industy related people-but on ALL consumers without them even knowing it. In NO way whatsoever are they concerned about animals-but are TRUELY putting pieces into place that will deal with control of people in the future. They are aligned with the communist/socialist parties, the so called "Green" movement, AND the "Agenda 21" world wide control group. For those who may think I am nuts-I urge you to investigate WILL see that I am exposing the truth. It is just too bad that HSUS is able to brainwash so many consumers and worst yet, people that raise animal products-these same people foolish enough to actually believe HSUS promotes ANY animal products-theirs included. Hopefully people in this country will wake up before it is too late...

December, 05, 2012 at 05:45 PM

You all are missing the point here! We need to be eating less nasty meat for our health! The cost of health care is skyrocketing, much of it is contributed to horrendous eating habits. I wouldn't eat meat from a fast food restaurant if you paid me. Free range animals are happier and much healthier! Of course the best solution would be for people to choose to eat less meat and pay more for what they get! Than maybe inhumane factory farms wouldn't be necessary. I know some people would say that's not the American way...they want the freedom to have cheap nasty food! Well...we are all paying for it! There's plenty of cheaper and healthier sources of protein available to consumers and most Americans eat more protein than they need. To the Inhumane Factory Farms...Someone needs to keep them in Check! If they can't figure out how to humanely raise animals and make money...they need to go out of business!

SD  |  December, 12, 2012 at 03:47 PM

It is too easy for anti-meat activists to make their ridiculous claims of abuse to animals! Why is there no requirement for them to give valid, third party verification of abuses, and of their claims of widespread ill health in people who regularly eat recommended amounts of meat in a balanced diet? Common sense tells people who have any of that precious commodity that badly treated animals are not profitable for anyone, from farmer to retailer, and yet claims of greed by all involved in meat production abound! It seems activists are playing the consumer for the fool they believe consumers to be! How arrogant can they get?


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