As I read the latest flaming arrow that the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) let loose, I wanted to laugh – but then I began to shake my head, realizing they are like a drip of water. If not controlled, it can wear away at the toughest surface and leave a path of destruction behind.
It looks like HSUS has found a friend in a pork producer with an axe to grind. According to Brownfield Ag News, Iowa pork producer Harvey Dillenburg, along with the HSUS, have filed suit in federal district court in D.C. charging the National Pork Board (NPB) “struck an unlawful deal” when it bought “The Other White Meat” slogan from the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in 2006.
The NPB agreed to pay the NPPC $3 million per year for 20 years, or a total of $60 million for the slogan. The slogan was developed for the National Pork Producers in 1987 and used in checkoff-funded advertising.
HSUS and Dillenburg contend any value to the slogan was built and paid for by producers and charge: “In essence, NPPC charged pork producers twice – once to make The Other White Meat successful, and again to pay for the value of that success.”
The suit charges the sale was nothing more than a way for the checkoff-funded NPB to funnel money to the NPPC, a lobbying group. It is illegal to use checkoff dollars for lobbying.
NPPC President R.C. Hunt says, “NPPC is reviewing the HSUS complaint, but it appears there is no legal merit to this claim, and it is another desperate attempt by the radical activist group to severely curtail animal agriculture and take away consumer food choices.”
The suit is based on the ongoing dispute over the use of gestation stalls, and Hunt calls it “the latest bullying tactic by HSUS in its efforts to force NPPC to abandon its position on allowing farmers to choose production practices that are best for the welfare of their animals.”
The HSUS bully dressed as the Pied Piper has tickled the ears of several restaurant chains so they won’t buy pork from producers who use gestation stalls. Now heavy hitters Hillshire Farms and ConAgra have recently fallen in step with the rest of the parade of spineless food vendors who would rather be told how to pick their pork suppliers instead of making their own decisions.
And if that weren’t enough, HSUS and its lawsuit will spend taxpayer dollars to clog up the courts. Why? Because they care about unwanted cats and dogs? Because they care about how farm animals are treated? Because they are tired of the emotional damage done to dairy cows because they are milked twice a day and are constantly kept pregnant all for the profit of the mean, old money-grubbing dairy farmer?
Nope – not at all. By their actions, it appears they are a group of vegans who exploit the emotions of pet owners by taking them on an emotional roller coaster ride until they cough up money to support their animal agriculture-abolishing cause.
Quite simply, in their view, an animal life is of higher importance than a human life and if it means they have to earn six-figure incomes to run animal agriculture into the ground, well, they are just glad to help.
As they continue to take shots at animal agriculture, we have to continue to be diligent in keeping this group and other radicals out of our barns and our management practices. Who knows when they will cross the road and begin invading the house?
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Melissa Hart may write to her in care of this publication.