Animal Agriculture Under Siege


According to polls, approximately 83{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4} of Americans approve of the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS),  a speaker reported at the recent American Agri-Women (AAW) Symposium held in Washington, D.C. and titled “Animal Agriculture under Siege –How to be a Force for Truth.” The symposium , sponsored by the Past Presidents Council, was part of AAW’s annual Fly-In.


         David Martosko, director of the Center  for Consumer Freedom, believes most people mistakenly think that the money they donate to HSUS will go to local animal shelters. But in reality HSUS is promoting conflict between urban and rural cultures with the end goal being to eliminate meat from the diet. To combat the HSUS agenda and reveal the truth, Martosko has founded a website—– which shadows HSUS and other animal rights groups. By going to the website, an individual can see how much of the HSUS budget goes to animal protection compared to salaries, advertising and fundraising expenses.

     Martosko and Steve Kopperud of Policy Directions, Inc., agreed  that the animal rights organizations are coalition building and animal agriculture should do the same. Kopperud suggested that agriculture should develop alliances that perhaps were not thought of before, such as unions, churches, educators, and less radical humane groups. 

      A longtime friend of AAW, Kopperud reminisced about a referendum that was defeated in Massachusetts in 1988 with the help of Boston labor unions. He urged the women “to talk to people you’ve never talked to before.”

     Chelsie Redalen, director of government relations for the National Pork Producers Council, cautioned about the current legislation on use of antibiotics in livestock production. She commented that one piece on antibiotics seen on the evening news gave the livestock industry one minute to tell its story as opposed to 13 minutes for the opponents. 

     Redalen also described the ads which commuters saw on all the metro trains in Washington, D.C. last year, financed by the Pew Commission.   The headline said “Up to 70{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4} of U.S. antibiotics go to farm animals that aren’t sick”. These statistics were based on an uncredible source, she said.

     Kay Johnson Smith, executive vice president of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, encouraged the women to use social media to their advantage.   She reported that 45{4d08edaf359bc2115b18a651716ebd427a137946ddca2143fa23b3ea721061e4} of the people get news from their emails and almost two billion people use the internet.

     Johnson Smith also urged women to use pictures to tell their story. For example, a cow rubbing her back on a back scratcher illustrates the owner cares about her by providing the equipment.

     Congressman Steve King from northwest Iowa stressed that “You have to go on the offense. Tell the facts and put the opposition on the spot.” That seemed to be the concensus of the panel.

     “This symposium brought into focus the fact that animal agriculture is under attack by groups who have an agenda to eliminate the use of animal products for food,” stated AAW president Chris Wilson. “Following the symposium our AAW members made visits on the Hill to their Congressmen and Senators and spoke with them about the importance of animal agriculture plus the issues and legislation discussed by our speakers.” The audio is available at the AAW website for anyone interested in hearing the entire symposium or individual speakers.



Posted by Kaci Switzer

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