HSUS and what’s ‘good for the country’
September 16, 2011 By 6 Comments
Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If we accept this notion, then it’s time for some in the animal rights movement to find a good shrink. Why do urban, vegan, pleather-wearing folks believe that continually insulting agriculture, by condescending to and patronizing this country’s food producers, that one day we’ll shout “hallelujah” as the scales fall from our collective eyes and we’ll beg their forgiveness for our sins?
The evidence this week is word out of Nebraska from state agricultural producer groups that a new organization has been formed – “We Support Agriculture” – announced at press conferences in Omaha, Lincoln and at Corn Husker Days in Grand Island.
Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Pork, Nebraska Poultry and Nebraska Dairy each ponied up $5,000 to fund a coalition of folks ready to do battle with, among others, “extreme animal rights organizations,” those who seek to outlaw on-farm production practices. Also created is the “Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska,” a charitable public education foundation.
Enter Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), quoted in the Omaha World-Herald and the Lincoln Journal Star calling the effort a “charade” and paranoia run amok,” accusing Nebraska agriculture of refusing to address his personal definition of animal welfare “problems.” Ever since Gov. Dave Heineman told HSUS to go pound salt if it thought it could coerce the $15-billion state ag industry to negotiate with HSUS its future – Heineman’s widely quoted statement: “In Nebraska, no deal, no compromise” – Pacelle’s nose has been out of joint with our Corn Husker friends. And he lost his well-connected state lobbyist in the dust up.
In his September 14 blog, Pacelle rails against the unenlightened politicians of Nebraska, calling them “ill-informed and dishonest.” He says to the Omaha newspaper: “Responsible farmers and ranchers should be on the forefront of animal welfare, and they shouldn’t be positioning themselves as hostile to proper care…which is what Nebraska ag leaders have been doing.” He touts his success in “hammering out agreements” in California, Maine, Colorado, Michigan and Ohio, and the recent United Egg Producers/HSUS deal on enriched cage systems. The only “deals” in this list – not counting UEP which proposed to HSUS – are Michigan and Colorado; the others were either ballot initiatives or legislative initiatives financed by HSUS. And from what I recall, Ohio was a pretty much a loss for HSUS all around. I also think it’s safe to say, HSUS “deals” in Michigan and Colorado had less to do with agreement on improved hog and layer welfare and a lot to do with aggies who couldn’t afford to finance threatened or implied ballot initiative battles if they didn’t sign on the bottom line. I guess for HSUS, a win’s a win, no matter how you got it.
This is the hubris of HSUS, the sheer, unmitigated arrogance of an organization that believes – by dint of its budget and interlocking directorate of related groups – it can bully and insult farmers and ranchers into submission. Pacelle apparently believes – if his blog can be believed – that if Nebraska farmers and Gov. Heineman care about America, they’ll beat their swords back into plowshares, join Wayne in a group hug — and then do it his way.
Pacelle and his band of merry men and women apparently believe they are enlightened beyond the rest of us, privy to a higher plane of existence that precludes any contemplation they may be dead wrong about animal welfare, that good intentions often lead to bad outcomes. Let us not forget the HSUS “victory” to end USDA-inspection of horse slaughter, the outcome of which is over 100,000 neglected horses.
Back to Nebraska. “Silly, overwrought, dishonest behavior by governors or farm leaders won’t help our nation. It may win them short-term political points with the constituencies they want to curry favor with (sic), but it’s not good for the country,” writes Pacelle. This is good advice; now if you substitute “animal rights leaders” for “farm leaders”…
It’s easy for Pacelle to talk about “what’s good for the country” as he flacks his book, makes talk show appearances and earns a very nice living defining other folks’ problems.
I submit what’s truly good for this nation are men and women who work 24/7 to feed themselves and the rest of us – and who have the guts to tell HSUS and the others who don’t know what they’re talking about to go pound salt.