Jolley: HSUS hangs Wyoming Premium Farms

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Yup, they strung ‘em up from the nearest tree.  Left them slowly twisting in the wind.  The trial will be held later, but this hanging was done just to save some time.  Wyoming Premium Farms was already found guilty in a kangaroo court.  Judge Roy Bean presided.

The news came to me this week via an email from Matthew Prescott, HSUS Food Policy Director for Farm Animal Protection.  He wrote:“I wanted to drop you a note to let you know that yesterday, we announced that five farm workers from Wyoming Premium Farms have been convicted on multiple counts of animal cruelty. The convictions follow HSUS’ investigation into Wyoming Premium, which, at the time of the investigation, was selling pigs to Tyson Foods. You can read our press release about the convictions here.”

He added a little meat- protein-free gravy to his opening paragraph when he added, “That prosecutors and the courts in Wyoming looked at the footage obtained in the investigation and agreed that the abuse at Wyoming Premium constituted not just cruel but criminal acts, is more evidence that there’s something going drastically wrong in the industry. We believe that this abuse happens in large part because of the culture of cruelty fostered by inherently abusive systems, like gestation crate confinement. When workers see that their employer is okay with locking animals in tiny cages so small they can’t even turn their own bodies around, it’s no surprise they, in turn, end up abusing animals in these criminal ways.”

OK, I agree that the five should have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law, as the old saying goes, and their crimes should have been caught much earlier.  Very soon after the first instance of animal abuse would have been my choice.  But was it evidence that there is something drastically wrong in the industry?  I think not.

It was evidence that good hiring practices failed at WPF and oversight of employee activity was lacking.  It was not evidence that would logically lead to a blanket condemnation of all industry practices.  It did not point to a culture of cruelty.

Wild claims like that are akin to arresting a burglar and claiming mankind promotes a culture of theft.  Sitting in the stands at a NASCAR race and assuming the fans are promoting a culture of speeding and turning left.  Maybe contributing some of your hard earned cash to PETA and assuming they promote a culture of actually saving animals instead of immediately slaughtering over 95% of the pets that are put in their gentle hands.

Or sending $19.95 a month to HSUS to promote their humane society activities.  You did see Wayne Pacelle’s clarification that they never actually made that claim?

Mr. Prescott closed out his message with something most of us can agree on, “Better management systems – like well-run group systems – will create a deeper understanding of animals and their needs amongst workers and hopefully prevent this type of abuse from happening. We applaud those countless farmers nationwide moving in that direction, and hope to see more progress.”

He forgets to mention, of course the even larger group of farmers who never had to move in that direction because they had already been there.  And to that I’ll add that the jury is still out on the efficacy of things like gestation crates or allowing animals to ‘free range’ in sunny pastures and enjoy the thrills of stretching, dirt bathing, bug eating, blizzard conditions, predation, inescapable heat, but I digress.

It’s far more pleasant to imagine a calf romping happily in the meadow than the sight of it being humanely ‘taken down’ by a hungry pack of wolves, or a chicken flapping its wings as it greets the rising sun than imagining it flapping its wings in a futile effort to NOT become a foxes dinner that night.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Chuck Jolley, a veteran food industry journalist and columnist.

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No fan of HUS    
nebraska panhandle  |  April, 12, 2013 at 07:19 PM

Here is the news without the spin. It appears they were sentenced to maximum misdemeanor fines and all lost their jobs. And how much were they induced to goofy behavior by the camera man? And how much money did this add to HSUS coffers?

No Fan of Animal Abuse    
North Dakota  |  April, 14, 2013 at 06:44 PM

"Goofy" behavior? That's what you call animal abuse? No wonder your industry is so roundly despised. Mistreating and abusing animals is only done by the uneducated, cruel bottom of the barrel. Thanks for proving you are part of that group.

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  April, 12, 2013 at 10:38 PM

More jaw-droppingly abysmal PR on behalf of your industry,Chuck. I very much hope Mr. Jolley becomes a spokesperson for my candidate's opponent in the next presidential election.

Kansas  |  April, 13, 2013 at 11:01 AM

A clarification from Matt Prescott. He just sent an email saying HSUS does not advocate free range practices. They are pressing the industry to allow more room within the current confines - bigger cages for chickens, the end of farrowing crates, etc. And Terry, add something to the conversation other than sarcasm from the peanut gallery.

Kansas  |  April, 13, 2013 at 11:04 AM

Correction: A more precise definition of the HSUS position emailed to me this morning by Matthew Prescott: "I certainly can't speak for other groups, but HSUS' efforts are focused on giving animals more room and better welfare, predominantly by moving away from confinement systems like gestation crates and toward more modern indoor group housing systems."

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  April, 13, 2013 at 08:01 PM

Why you insist on supporting these thugs defies all logic. All this accomplishes is public opinion blowback on the decent operations. We aren't tar & feathering the decent farmer/rancher, your denial is.

Milwaukee  |  April, 14, 2013 at 10:36 PM

Hey Chuck, you wrote, "And to that I’ll add that the jury is still out on the efficacy of things like gestation crates or allowing animals to ‘free range’ in sunny pastures and enjoy the thrills of stretching, dirt bathing, bug eating, blizzard conditions, predation, inescapable heat, but I digress." Are you actually suggesting that we should believe that the severe confinement of these animals in factory farms is more humane for them than allowing for them to live in their natural environments?? Do you take your readers to be utterly ignorant? That is complete and utter non-sense. But I suppose that when one's paycheck is being threatened, he can be made to believe the most absurd ideas. Sir, I would like to remind you that the Humane Society of the United States has over 1.5 million supporters in this country, and as this investigation and the resultant penalties have shown, we mean business!

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  April, 15, 2013 at 09:29 AM

Here is me struggling to understand how the pig managed to evolve without residing in a sardine can.

IL  |  April, 15, 2013 at 09:50 AM

Livestock farming is a "Hang the farmer" for trying to find good help. It's not the worker that gets hung even when the camera guy is promoting the abuse. The 2 I would hang is the camera guy, for promoting the abuse & the abuser. Their both Guilty ! They both should spend life behind bars.

John L. Bengfort    
texas  |  April, 15, 2013 at 11:46 AM

You won"t see it in the press, but almost certainly those workers were Humane Society "plants" and were filmed cooperatively. As was done to the poultry farm in Minnesota.

kansas  |  April, 15, 2013 at 01:02 PM

NFOAA, somewhere in ND: Hyperbolic knee-jerk reactionary - much? Wipe the drool off your chin and have your doctor review your medication levels right away. Your uniformed and personally offensive and abusive use of pejorative, stereotyping hate speech proves that you are part of That Group. That Group being unhinged animal rights extremists who'll never be satisfied with anything but the complete elimination of modern livestock agriculture. Move along hater, nothing you'll ever want to see here.

kansas  |  April, 15, 2013 at 01:14 PM

Funny Picture! - I'm seeing a kitten with its head in one of those scratch cones. Ha,ha,ha,ha... you're such a comediene Terry, such a comediene! How do you do it? Just when we all think you cannot soar any higher in your wildly imaginative metaphors, you prove us wrong. Sardine Cans!?!, what a fabulous image for those in your little club, who know nothing about either sardine cans or pigs. Well, other than what city-boy Hsus-Wayne tells them. Thanks so much Terry! I'm giving you a B+ for creative propaganda on this one.

kansas  |  April, 15, 2013 at 01:41 PM

Logic, Terry? Not your strong suite I'm afraid, like facts. I believe the emplyoees convicted are the only "thugs" in this, and I believe the author is quite clear in condemning them and their actions. I see no evidence anywhere, that Wyoming Farms was charged, prosecuted or convicted of anything, by any legitimate court of law. So apparently only you, Terry - and your Group, are to be considered judge, jury and executioner - yes? Also, being a professional "blowbacker", you're apparently doing that duty as well, on behalf of "public opinion". If one believes that "groups" or "organizations" are to be held responsible for the evil deeds of employees or unaffiliated individuals, the entire eco/enviro/animal rights movement should be doing time for arson by ALF, Daniel Andreas bombs and the like. Yes?

SD  |  April, 15, 2013 at 01:56 PM

Not realizing it was a site of one of the animal rights crowd, I clicked on that link about the convictions hoping to see what the courts had to say. It jumped immediately to an ad soliciting donations for some branch of animal RIGHTS cabals. I do not condone any animal abuse, but rate it somewhere behind the many abuses of humans perpetrated in this world. One of which is deception of elderly to entice them to part with money they well may need for their own food, as is done by HSUS quite routinely. Where are these 'bleeding hearts' going to be when the housing they demand for animals result in NORMAL pig behaviors of bullying, eating the young, fighting and tearing the skin of one another, and worse??? The current housing practices did not develop out of some evil desire to harm was developed after careful observation and in an effort to stop the abuses of animals upon one another. Animal behavior experts can figure these things out. But that makes no difference when the goal of HSUS and friends is to end food animal prouction. How much more did the animals in the video suffer due to the photographer, and the delay between filming and reporting. Any longer than time to get to, or call, the nearest law enforcement is unconcionable! If encouragement to the perpetrators was involved, the photo person should also serve time, and the HSUS should pay fines as well. When will that ever happen?????

April, 15, 2013 at 03:00 PM

Ah! You're scaring everyone, Tim!

Bea Elliott    
Florida  |  April, 15, 2013 at 07:34 PM

There's nothing like "protecting" cows, pigs and chickens from predation - So says the humans who anxiously await eating them.

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  April, 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM

When pigs fly, Maxine

Bloombergville  |  April, 16, 2013 at 01:55 PM

Matt Prescott's clarification: Oops, I didn't mean to tell the truth about what Wayne and I really believe and really want. In 2008, we milked the Westland Hallmark case to set the stage for our cage-free ballot initiative, California's Prop 2. We won handily, but our larger (cage-free nation) agenda didn't go as planned. In order to obtain some much-needed victories in the face of backlash and failure, we adopted a moderate facade, just a few weeks after publishing a position statement and report that took an uncompromising position against the very things we are now promoting. We need to get a foot in the door and the gestation-crate campaign is our best shot. We raise tons of money for this incoherent posturing, failed lawsuits, excessive lobbying, and harrassment of critics by aggressively marketing our "shelter programs," high profile raids, and cruelty investigations - milking the animal loving public for as much cash as possible, as long as possible. Matt Prescott has no credibility unless he issues an official clarification of exactly why he LIED to the Holocaust Museum in order to deceptively obtain images of the starving and the dead, which he displayed alongside images of suffering farm animals. Prescott created the "Holocaust on Your Plate" campaign while at PETA, never apologizing for the pain he caused survivors such as Elie Wiesel, who strongly confronted the cruelty of the exhibit. Prescott never apologized for tricking the museum so he could take their most sensitive documents all over the world for people - including families of Holocaust victims - to see. That kind of extremism is the reason Wayne Pacelle hired him in the first place. Why should anyone trust the HSUS?

Kansas  |  April, 26, 2013 at 10:04 PM

Terry Ward and Bea Elliott have jumped into their Animal rights boats and started ther troll motors again.

Montana  |  October, 26, 2013 at 10:58 PM

I'm an avid hunter, and that video was shocking and horrific. We have lost all connection with our food. I'm a big fan of bacon, but this kind of behavior reflects very poorly on your industry. Maybe less time playing apologist and more time talking about what will be done to prevent this from happening in the future. Animal cruelty should be a felony, not a misdemeanor. And those five should be sentenced to prison, getting their rears violated, and not slapped on the wrist with a fine.

New York  |  November, 21, 2013 at 07:05 PM

Ryan obviously gets it Rather than circling the wagons and railing against "environmental extremists" I think people in the agriculture business would be better served by owning up to problems and taking meaningful action to correct and prevent them. This apologist spin makes it SEEM like you are more upset by how these clowns got caught than what they were doing. Most people, myself included, will continue to eat meat. But just because an animal is destined for a dinner plate doesn't mean every second of it's life on Earth should be a Hellish nightmare.

Nevada  |  September, 07, 2014 at 02:37 PM

Gestation crate for Mr. Jolly!

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