Contrary to what the Humane Society of the U.S. thinks, South Dakota considers itself animal-friendly, especially in its farming and ranching policies, says state veterinarian Dustin Oedekoven.
The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) considers South Dakota the least humane state in the nation, partly because the state does not have a number of recommended farming restrictions.
Farmers in the state say the idea that a Washington, DC, group can legislate good ranching practices is absurd.
"I think there are a lot of misinformed people who have never seen a cow and they have no idea," says Carl Sanders, a 34-year-old rancher from near Hot Springs. "They come up with all these grandiose ideas of what they think it should be."
The state meets just eight standards on a 66-item list of humane animal policies released by HSUS, which ranked South Dakota 51st among the states and Washington, DC, in 2011. Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota are also among the bottom 10. North Dakota meets 13 standards, and Montana and Wyoming each met 19. Nebraska meets 29 standards, while Minnesota meets 24.