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.