Editor's Note: Kay Johnson Smith is executive vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance
The Humane Society of the United States recently asked for “heightened attention” on the subject of animal agriculture in its January edition of The Scoop, an e-newsletter targeted at employees of animal shelters.
HSUS CEO and President Wayne Pacelle issued the letter in response to recent proactive measures by the agriculture industry to educate voters about modern farming practices, such as Ohio’s Issue 2.
In the letter, Pacelle attempts to twist the motives of agriculture organizations, saying that farm groups are trying to “divide the humane community in order to undermine support for humane reforms in agriculture.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. The Animal Agriculture Alliance constantly encourages the agricultural community to work with and support their local animal shelters. However, past actions of the HSUS show that it isn’t interested in improving animal welfare. Instead, the organization is working to put a stop to animal agriculture as we know it.
Egg producers in California are currently struggling to come to terms with the vaguely-worded Proposition 2 that HSUS spent millions to pass in 2008. Pacelle has already stated his intentions of bringing similar measures to other states, as well.
It’s HSUS that is trying to deceive the public- not farmers. The group is currently sponsoring a ballot initiative in Missouri that would limit the number of dogs that a breeder can own to 50. While HSUS says that the measure is designed to put a stop to puppy mills, it would set a dangerous precedent that could be used to impose future limits on the number of farm animals kept on a property.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar “puppy mill” bill for its potential to criminalize legal activity, stating, “An arbitrary cap on the number of animals any entity can possess throughout the state will not end unlawful, inhumane breeding practices.”
It’s apparent that HSUS is not happy that agriculture groups are pointing out the difference between the multi-million dollar animal rights organization and local shelters. Farmers and ranchers care deeply about their animals- it makes sense for farmers and ranchers to support the work of local animal shelters. Too often, animal lovers who mean well donate to HSUS thinking that it will save homeless pets, when in reality the money goes towards furthering the group’s political agenda
The increased activity of animal rights groups will be one of the hot topics at the 9th Annual Stakeholders Summit which will be held in Arlington, VA on April 28-29.
Hear a discussion from AgriTalk examining HSUS's tax exempt status.