By Mike Barnett
I have a double-dose of fed up. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), as well as other animal rights groups, continue to mislead the public on animal abuse and food safety with today’s release of an undercover video of an egg production facility in Texas.

On one hand I’m sick of those bad players in the livestock industry who mistreat their animals.  On the other, I’m sick of the animal rights activist groups who promote these isolated incidents as an indictment of the entire meat and egg industry.

Texas Farm Bureau Yes, HSUS is an animal rights group. And just to clear the air, there’s a distinct difference between animal rights and animal welfare.

Livestock producers are believers in animal welfare. They believe in the proper and humane use of animals. They believe they have a duty to treat animals properly. They make a moral distinction between animals and human beings. They ensure the health, well-being and safety of their animals through proper food, management and shelter.

Animal rightists believe—with almost religious fervor—that livestock such as chickens, pigs and cows are equal to humans. The ultimate goal of the animal rights movement is the complete elimination of the livestock production. They’ll stop at nothing to achieve that objective.

I’ll repeat what I’ve said in the past . The small number of producers who abuse the privilege of raising and caring for food animals give a black eye to those who do it right. There is no excuse for animal cruelty. Individual producers should adopt a zero tolerance policy and work to get those who abuse animals out of business.

In the eyes of many animal rights groups, livestock producers are on the same level as dog beaters. That’s not news to me. Painting all livestock producers as sadistic fiends by associating them with bad apples is a proven winner in the animal rights activist playbook.

Animal rights groups use “animal abuse ” and “food safety” issues to mask their real intentions. They care a lot more about getting consumers to quit eating meat than harboring a real concern for animals. Take a look at the Mercy For Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals or Humane Society of the United States websites and it’s pretty self-explanatory.

I’m not making excuses for the livestock industry. Those who inhumanely treat animals should be punished. Seems to me though, that the compassion, honesty and integrity of dealing with humans has been lost by animal rights groups who claim to hold the moral high ground when it comes to the proper care and treatment of livestock.. They are trying to force their views on animal rights on everyone. They overstep the bounds of decency when they smear an entire industry as evil because of the actions of a few.

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Mike Barnett

Director of Publications
Texas Farm Bureau
I’m a firm believer that farmers and ranchers will continue to meet the needs of a growing world population by employing equal measures of common sense, conservation and technology.
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15 Responses to “Egg farm investigation by Humane Society of the United States misleads consumers”

  1. sowhatare you saying? says:

    Just to be clear, are you saying that the HSUS investigation is a lie? Forget HSUS — is the stuff at that egg producer true?

  2. Just to be clear, I said animal rights activist groups overstep the bounds of decency when they smear an entire industry as evil because of the actions of a few.–Mike

  3. Mike–why not attack the people that are responsible for the animal cruelty in the video? Attacking HSUS just makes you sound defensive……….animal rights people believe that animals should have the same rights as humans? really? do they want the animals to vote too? Enough with the broad this instance they want the animals to be treated humanely and clearly this video shows that they weren’t. Every month there is more and more evidence that this crap is systematic……..what is your opinion on these battery cages?

  4. Hi Richard. Haven’t heard from you in awhile.

    I think I’ve made it clear in the blog that I no way endorse nor condone the mistreatment of livestock. I guess we differ on the ultimate motives of animal rights activist groups. You say they want animals treated humanely. I think most livestock producers would agree with that. I assert that the activists would like to put animal agriculture out of business. I guess that’s where you and I will have to disagree.


  5. Mike–you’re making very broad statements. Lets talk specifics–Cal-Maine is the largest egg producer in the country and this was footage at one of their facilities. Earlier in the year it was Rose Acre Farms and before that it was Rembrandt Enterprises where video was shown with very similar abuses. These are 3 of the top egg producers in the country –are they not?

    At one point do you concede this is a systematic problem and not just "the actions of a few"? Will it take 2 more investigations? 5 more? Curious to hear your"line in the sand" as they say.

  6. Okay, Richard. Following your line of reasoning, if one politician is crooked, all politicans are crooked? If one accountant cooks the books, all accountants cook the books? Sorry, this train’s not running down that track.

  7. Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t more than 99% of all egg laying hens in this country come from industrial hatcheries? And for every one of the millions of egg laying hens in this country, isn’t there a male chick who was either suffocated to death or ground up alive in a giant macerating machine? And when an egg-laying hens’ production slows, isn’t she either gassed and thrown into a landfill or sent to a painful slaughter to become dog food or chicken nuggets?

    Despite all of your ad hominem attacks against those who profess to care about animals, it seems clear that those who profit at the expense of animals clearly do not truly care about animals.

    Considering that eggs and other animal products are no more necessary to sustain human health than Pepsi or potato chips, it seems rather absurd to simultaneously profess love for animals while also promoting their needless suffering and deaths. I mean, really, would you defend an industry that would throw hundreds of millions of live puppies into grinding machines in order to produce soda pop? Would you claim that animal rights activists who oppose the live grinding of puppies just want people to stop drinking Pepsi?

    It’s clear that you have a rather limited understanding of animal rights activists and our views. But keep writing about it anyway. You are fooling anyone but yourself.

  8. Allen – Thanks for posting. There is so much inaccuracy and hyperbole here that I’m not going to bother with a response, but our blog needs to feature complete nonsense once in awhile. – Gene

  9. What "few bad players"? Keeping laying hens in wire cages so crammed they can’t spread their wings, nest, dust bathe or do any of the things that are natural to them is STANDARD practice. Cutting off the hens beaks with hot blades so that they won’t be able to kill each other in their stressful environment is STANDARD practice. Macerating the male chicks because they are of no use to either the meat or egg industry, is STANDARD practice.

    You don’t have to get this info from HSUS. You can find it in INDUSTRY journals and publications.

    It’s not a Cal-Maine problem, it’s an industry problem. Keeping animal welfare at it’s bare minimum lowers costs and increases profits. It’s pretty basic stuff here.

    If neither the industry nor the federal government is not going to step up and protect the animals (not to mention the thousands of people that are made ill my tainted foods each year) than it is up to a third party to get involved.

  10. I’m not sure what makes a chicken happy. That’s the trouble with assigning human values to food animals. I do know that the birds are raised in a controlled environment—not too hot, not too cold; are protected from disease with quality care; have readily available nutritious food and clean water; and are safe from predators. Minimum animal welfare? I think not. –Mike

  11. You’re right. Every farmer knows a happy chicken is a productive chicken. Most farmers will treat their animal ethically based on economics.

  12. The Humane Society of the United States should be applauded for uncovering this cruelty. Stop shooting the messenger and clean up your messes. They’re atrocious. HSUS is merely voicing the concerns and wishes of the consumer. Animal agriculture is the only industry with the philosophy that the customer is always wrong. You are turning more people vegan than Wayne Pacelle ever could with your disgusting practices. Shop at Whole Foods or give up eggs – they are unnecessary!

  13. Pam, animal rights groups are voicing the opinions of consumers? Really? Consumers vote with their pocketbooks every day. According to Information Resources, Inc., which tracks grocery store sales, Americans purchase 19.8 billion (96 percent) traditional eggs from modern housing systems every year at grocery stores, compared to 619 million cage cage-free eggs (3 percent) and 227 million (1 percent) organic free-range eggs.

  14. Some interesting stuff here. How much is too much to pay for eggs? If Wayne Pacelle ate eggs, he could afford to pay three times more. I guess I could, too – but I don’t want to. There are not many folks around that have shot more ag video than I have. I’ve been in a few chicken houses. I know that if you walk up on them or by them they will be panicky and scared. I also know that when eggs are candled and culled, they are tossed into a bucket or sometimes a conveyor belt. Some break. It looks gross, but these eggs won’t wind up in your skillet. The video showed some dead birds. Mortality will happen in large operations. I hope they were doing a better job of taking care of that than the video appeared to show. Probably some room for improvement there. No props for HSUS, though – as demanded by some of you. Their vegan goals are clear. Elimination of animal ag in a generation or two. This is their goal and they are just at the beginning of it. Tell me – if we negotiated for "enriched cages," would that be the end of the discussion? Never mind, I know the answer. HSUS would start pushing for unconditional surrender the next day. They can never allow this to be solved. You need a crisis to raise money. If HSUS is about anything, it’s about $$$. – Gene

  15. Well, Wolfgang, I have been misquoted, lied about in the media and quoted out of context with the best of them while serving as a spokesman for the better part of three decades. You are guilty of the latter. To be clear – cage free, or to a lesser extent, enriched cages – means that eggs would become a luxury item, perhaps beyond the means of those shopping on a thin budget. I have to throw the nonsense flag on this one.

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