So, what are producers supposed to do about it? Foster offered up his solutions at the Summit of the Horse 2011 on Jan. 3-6 in Las Vegas, NV. I think you might be interested in what he had to say.
“We represent healthy animals; we take care of our animals; that’s just what we do. We have a responsibility to animals, and we realize man is responsible for imbalances in nature and animals. The influence of animal rights groups doesn’t lead to healthy animals. They change the rules, and it makes animals suffer," says Foster.
According to Foster, the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) is an organization with a huge footprint. In 2008, HSUS had $138-million income and 11 million members, with over $200 million in assets. Over a seven-year period from 1998 to 2004, HSUS gave affiliates around the world over $28.46 million. He added that around the world, the animal rights agenda has 250,000 supporters and 900 member societies. He explains that one thing activists are exceptionally good at is manipulation. After all, HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle was once quoted saying, "“We’ve turned sentiment into legislation and legislation into law.”
“Activists are big in using consumer intimidation, and they are very good at it. As our country becomes more urbanized, these folks can become more influential in what our laws are. Their strategy is compromise. They start with nothing; you give up something until you have nothing. Compromise isn’t the answer. They want a petless, meatless society," explains Foster.
Ultimately, Foster fears that the end to horse slaughter is just the beginning for the livestock industry, but he does offer a challenge to each and every rancher to get out and tell the animal agriculture story.
“Activists want to take away our property rights, and they want to close doors on ranches. The horse is the catalyst to other livestock. They have already changed horses from livestock to pets, so why couldn’t they do the same for cattle, pigs and sheep? We have to start showing our great relationships with animals to the public. We love and care for our animals on a daily basis, and they are an important part of our emotional life," says Foster.
What do you think of Foster's statements? Were you surprised about the figures he presented on the HSUS pocketbook? What's your take on the horse slaughter debate? Could it really be the start of more issues in the livestock industry?