An escalating conflict in the U.S. pits appetites against compassion for animals, and the Midwest holds some key battleground.

Agriculture interests see an enemy in the Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society is pushing ahead, state by state, for laws against such things as "puppy mills" and intensive confinement of animals in factory farms.

Some of the arenas:

* In Kansas, the president of the state Farm Bureau is firing off complaints to corporations that show signs of empathy toward the Humane Society.

* In Missouri, there may be a showdown on the November ballot over a proposed law to regulate dog breeders; its opponents are led by the head of the state pork association.

* Nationally, agribusiness interests launch daily salvos against the Humane Society through a new outlet at

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