Activist activity in the political arena is heating things up for farmers and ranchers, adding pressure and costly policies to today’s food producer.
Animal rights activists and environmental zealots are at their best in the courtroom and on a voting ballot. These groups actively work to pin farmers into a corner with hidden videotapes, often including acts of violence perpetrated by the activists themselves. They aggressively work to capture petition signatures, endorse candidates who support their initiatives, and push forward ballot initiatives to regulate farmers and ranchers out of business. Think these things will never happen in your state? Think you’re immune? Think again.
Doug Wolf, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), had an article featured in the Chicago Tribune earlier this week that discussed these threats and how they will impact agriculturalists as well as threaten our nation’s food supply.
Wolf writes, “If some producers want to cooperate with the animal-rights movement and agree to specific rules for raising their animals, that's their business. But when they write those rules in federal law, that's everyone's business — at least all of us in agriculture. By injecting the federal government into the marketplace with no benefit to the public or animal health, it has the potential to irreparably damage the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers across the country. It also likely would lead to higher food prices, fewer consumer choices and scarce federal resources being redirected away from assuring safe food and other things the government should be doing. Talk about an overreach! It's a recipe for a federal takeover of farming.”
The chilling reality is that these activist groups are willing to go the distance, even committing crimes, in order to shut down American agriculture. Think I’m dramatizing the story for a few extra hits on my blog? Well, consider this article, “Domestic Terror Attack On Cattle Feeding Operation Chilling,” written by Western Farm Press blogger Harry Cline.
“The January terrorist attack on 14 trucks and trailers at Harris Feeding Co. near Coalinga, CA, drew quick and unequivocal condemnation from many fronts. Animal Liberation Front (ALF) did not admit directly to torching the trucks, but said “containers of an accelerant were placed beneath a row of 14 trucks with four digital timers used to light four of the containers and kerosene-soaked rope carrying the fire to the other 10. We were extremely pleased to see that all 14 trucks ‘were a total loss.’” ALF is listed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a domestic terrorist organization. Several of the FBI’s most-wanted terrorists are believed to be affiliated with ALF.
Cline points out that not a single so-called “environmental/consumer watchdog” group condemned the California attack. While groups like the Organic Trade Association or the Center for Food Safety (CFS) are “free with propaganda news releases,” they failed “to say anything about a radical environmental peer group that commits a violent felony to publicize its anti-society values.”
Of course, CFS just lost still another court case to stop the planting of Roundup Ready (RR) alfalfa. Just three days before the Harris terrorist attack, a California judge reaffirmed USDA’s regulatory process and comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement in supporting the production of RR alfalfa. Andrew Kimbrell, CFS executive director, responded by saying “USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops.”
Cline says he’s convinced CFS and similar groups, “along with the hoodlums believed responsible for the terrorism at Harris, are cut from the same cloth. If you have doubts, check this out:
“The ALF statement praising the Harris attack ended with the chilling words ‘until next time.’ Meanwhile, CFS’ Kimbrell told agri-pulse.com in the wake of his resounding loss that: ‘All farmers should be on notice that we will be suing again, so before they make their seed-buying decisions, I would certainly caution them that we will be in court. And I think that anybody who looks at our past record over the last five years will realize that we haven’t lost yet.’”
I would have to agree with Cline on this one and echo his words, “Sounds like a threat to me.”
Are you concerned with activist activity in your state? What steps has your state taken to protect farmers and ranchers? How can we better own the debate on animal welfare and sustainability?