There’s a quip that “animal rights means no animals left.” The logic is sound. Animal liberation groups like the Humane Society of the United States and PETA don’t want animals raised for food. So without an incentive or reason to raise livestock, these animals would go extinct. HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle himself has admitted that “We have no problems with the extinction of domestic animals. They are creations of human selective breeding.”
In this long-term sense, the animal liberation movement is ironically anti-animal. Farmers propagate domestic animal populations and treat them humanely in order to produce food for the rest of us. The PETA/HSUS crowd would rather see them gone.
But in a narrower way that’s been in the news recently, HSUS shows that concern for animals isn't at the top of its agenda. Several states are considering mandatory reporting of animal cruelty videos to authorities within 24 or 48 hours. It’s an attempt to stop animal cruelty quickly—and HSUS bizarrely opposes it.
Over the past few years, animal liberation activists have gone undercover at farms to surreptitiously videotape animal treatment. On a few occasions, they have found instances of animal cruelty by a handful of rogue employees, leading to criminal charges.
That’s a good thing. But there’s a downside to this reporting activity.
Animal liberation groups can currently film abusive and unapproved employee behavior for weeks or months and report it when they feel like it. And they have an incentive to delay, even if it means individual animals face continued abuse.
Consider a January 2008 meat recall stemming from undercover footage filmed at a California beef processing plant. HSUS recorded footage for six weeks and found some employees guilty of poor treatment of cows. Yet the USDA didn’t learn of the video until it was leaked to the media two months later.
HSUS then milked the resulting controversy for all it was worth, latching onto fears about food safety. But if it really were so concerned, why didn’t it turn over the tapes months earlier?
Because a media blitz gives them a platform to attack animal farming. These groups have a larger agenda against using any animals for food. Mercy for Animals, one organization filming undercover videos, promotes vegan diets, meaning no meat, dairy, or eggs. HSUS, whose food policy director has compared animal farming to the Nazi Holocaust, has the same vegan agenda.