My View From The Country

HSUS Files Suit Against 51 Hog Producers

Having largely failed legislatively, HSUS takes its anti-livestock agenda into the court.

The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) announced its plans this week to file lawsuits against 51 large-scale pork operations in North Carolina, Iowa and Oklahoma. HSUS contends that its research chronicles unreported releases of ammonia into the environment by the pork firms.

In reading the lawsuit and press releases, it’s clear that this move by HSUS is a very well orchestrated attack on the pork industry. It combines the environmental aspect with the animal welfare component; it also singles out the large production entities and those that have been supporters of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

I suppose you could say that the HSUS move is a testament to both NPPC and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) effectiveness in thwarting HSUS’s anti-livestock agenda in Washington, DC. It’s increasingly clear that HSUS is frustrated by these groups’ ability to influence livestock policy in Washington, and thus are moving their attacks to the courts and the court of public opinion. These are areas where HSUS can stack the odds in its favor by using populist themes, teams of lawyers and millions of dollars to effect the desired outcome.

Even its opponents have to be impressed by HSUS’s moves to give money to what many had considered to be traditional ag groups. In some cases, HSUS has even formed its own entities, called ag councils, which it’s used to latch onto the hard-earned reputation and respect that most consumers have for American farmers and ranchers.

While most producers are enraged by these ag groups selling their souls for HSUS dollars, these groups do share some common ground with HSUS. For example, there’s a shared dislike for modern agriculture, large entities, checkoff programs, and the groups with political clout in D.C.

With that said, it still appears to be a pretty unstable relationship, though marriages of convenience have been known to last. Thus, it is incumbent on the industry, if it’s to remain viable, not to allow themselves and their organizations to be cast in this light. The truth is that NCBA, NPPC and its members may be the only forces of significance within their industries that are well known and well respected in the Beltway.

Thus far, the populist attacks upon them, trying to make them look like they are not grassroots organizations and/or are controlled by large corporations or packers have failed internally because industry leaders generally are involved and active in these organizations and know the truth about them. This is not the case with the general public, however, and it’s a race to see who can define themselves first in the minds of consumers.

While these national livestock organizations have been highly effective in protecting their industry’s members from harmful legislation and regulation, they simply don’t have the dollars to wage these battles in the court of public opinion or the courts. That’s apparently what HSUS is banking on.

Discuss this Blog Entry 7

Rex Peterson (not verified)
on Jul 13, 2012

Thanks for the headsup.
Remember the rediculous EPA paperwork about having so many head of livestock, which by formula produce so many pounds of ammonia, that has to be filed everyday. The privateers sailing under the HSUS banner will use that regulation to harrass, collect whitsleblower fees and further their pet causes. Without much imagination, I think any AFO is next on the list.

Terry Ward (not verified)
on Jul 14, 2012

So what is the 'desired outcome"?

Anonymous (not verified)
on Jul 18, 2012

Can someone please explain how it is 'legal' for an organization like HSUS to bring charges/file a suit against hog farms? That doesn't make any sense to me.

on Jul 18, 2012

The HSUS is not interested in protecting animals or the environment. It's all a front to generate a few million more $19 monthly memberships from the unwitting public to add to Wayne and the others at the top's retirement portfolios. The HSUS has always been a sham. Agriculture needs to develop plans to expose HSUS for what it is instead of lending it validity as anything remotely worth while.

Terry Ward (not verified)
on Jul 19, 2012

▪ So here is what the  so-called 'husbandry experts' have, to date,  managed to accomplish:

No matter who I am, what I know or  what my experience is:
If I support the HSUS  or any other animal protection group I am stupid and clueless
If I support the HSUS I am a proselytizing vegan... therefore stupid and clueless

If I support the HSUS and am NOT a vegan, nevertheless 'my goal is to abolish animal agriculture' which means my goal is to starve myself to death therefore I am stupid and clueless.

If I support the HSUS 'I don't know where my food comes from' or have 'never visited a farm' so I  must think my steak originates in Wegman's basement therefore I am stupid and clueless.

If I question ANYTHING you folks do I am stupid and clueless.

If I do not fall to my knees at the altar of your 'science' I am stupid and clueless.

 If I exhibit horror at the sight of animals' heads bashed against a concrete floor I am 'emotional', therefore stupid and clueless.

Maybe you can point us to ONE other profession that whacks it's customers ..and the public.....with such joyful disdainful abandon?

Somebody slept through public relations class.

And possibly missed ethics class altogether...

on Jul 22, 2012

So who said anything about "stupid and clueless?


ELrod (not verified)
on Aug 1, 2012

I dont support corporate anything be it a farm, ranch or a bank. Anything that brings it back to the small operators is a good thing in my eyes and increase the price we get for our far superior product. There arent enough HSUS or PETA members to patrol the multitude of small operations so maybe this is a equalizer. I dont think you would be as loud about the issue or non advertising small operations were in trouble.

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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