By Mike Barnett

Animal Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Anti-GMO, Climate Changers

I’ve been accused of preaching a lot of doom and gloom lately. Seems both Gene Hall and I have been detailing the negatives on how the climate changers, animal rightists, “industrial agriculture” critics, the anti-GMO crowd and others are adversely affecting agriculture.

Hope for agriculture, I’m here to tell you, is not lost. The bad news is these activist groups are strong, well funded, very vocal and successful in promoting their agenda. The good news is they’re ultimately doomed to fail.

Here’s why:

Animal rightists.  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is unsurpassed in getting out its misguided messages that animal agriculture is cruel, victimizes animals to maximize profits and takes away the rights that animals should enjoy. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an expert at exploiting puppies and kittens to raise funds to work toward their true agenda, veganism. Both are strong. Both will ultimately fail. Why? Americans like their meat. Consumers are starting to comprehend that PETA is little more than activism in a clown suit. HSUS funding will dry up when people see through the deceptive campaigns and realize their dollars aren’t helping homeless dogs and cats. Consumers will ultimately see through the smokescreens thrown out by PETA and HSUS and realize livestock that provide the meat they crave are well cared for. Agriculture will take lessons learned in Ohio, where HSUS was defeated, and apply them wherever modern agricultural production practices are attacked.

“Industrial agriculture”  critics. Modern agriculture production is evil, rapes the environment and results in cheap food that is unsafe and makes Americans obese. So say critics such as Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, and Bryan Walsh, who penned a diatribe against agriculture in Time magazine. Consumers will realize that modern agriculture critics like Schlosser and Walsh are full of beans…organic beans, probably, but beans non-the-less. Consumers are smart enough to realize they have a choice between a wide variety of safe, wholesome and sustainable food which includes locally grown, organic, and food raised by modern production methods. They will see the “40 acres and a mule” theory espoused by critics as the answer to feeding our nation for what it is—idealistic organic bovine fertilizer. And hopefully they will wise up and realize there’s a direct correlation between what and how much they put in their mouths, exercise and weight.

The anti-GMO crowd. “Frankenfoods” resulting from genetic engineering will wreak havoc on gene pools resulting in unrecognizable and uncontrollable organisms which will doom human health and the earth’s environment. That’s what the anti-science and anti-technology crowd would have you believe. Here’s what I think will happen. Sane people will realize that the world population is skyrocketing. Most will start to understand that neither organic nor traditional agriculture can keep up with the huge numbers of new mouths to feed. They will embrace genetically modified organisms that are drought resistant, higher yielding and insect and disease resistant as a sustainable new “green revolution” which has the capability to feed a hungry world.

Climate changers. Unless the United States leads the nations of the world by instituting a cap and trade policy to curb carbon emissions into our atmosphere, Planet Earth will warm to such a degree that the polar ice caps will melt, cities will be flooded, agriculture will be unproductive and humans will cease to exist. Climate changers want the U.S. to sacrifice its economic well-being to chase a rabbit down a hole that won’t make an iota of difference in the world’s climate. Reducing carbon emissions may be a worthwhile goal, but Americans will realize our country needs to lead from a position of economic strength—using a carrot, not a regulatory stick—to embrace new technologies such as ethanol and clean coal and encouraging old technologies such as nuclear power.

Henry Miller wrote an article in Forbes recently that took GMO critics to task. He referred to an old courtroom dictum: When the facts are on your side, pound the facts; when the facts are against you, pound the table. Animal rights, modern agriculture critics, the anti-GMO crowd and climate changers—are all pounding the table. Will their movements lose steam overnight? Not likely. Many of these groups are strong, well-funded, and have a core of true believers. True believers fight hard for their ideology. These groups’ ideologies, however, are flawed.

Facts, my friends, are on our side. Farmers and ranchers are true believers, too.



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.
Follow Mike on Twitter and Facebook.

25 Responses to “Four activist movements are doomed to fail; Texas animal rights, agriculture industry, GMO foods and climate change are not lost!”

  1. rick wegwerth says:

    As someone who will be living by a coal plant soon, clean coal seems a little beyond today’s technoology.Mercury is a by product of today’s coal plants and a toxic by anyone’s view. Clean gas fired plants are the way to go but for some reason many of those are being shut down and replaced by coal despite record low natural gas prices. Until the technology is there, coal is not the answer. Natural gas is

  2. david pasztor says:

    I’m not sure which is more staggering, the author’s blindness or his delusions. The more people learn about the unsanitary, unhealthy mass production of beef and chicken, the less appetite they have for it. There are good reasons why the calls for organic food, localy raised food, and hormone free food resound more loudly with consumers each year. The primary one is the failure of many large producers to take responsibility for the unacceptable — and even gross — manner in which they churn out product.
    He can bash PETA and HSUS all he wants, but they aren’t agriculture’s biggest problems. Look inward, buddy.

  3. Mike Barnett says:

    Hi David. If you will take the time to talk to livestock producers, you will find they take great care of their animals while providing Americans with safe, nutritious and affordable meats. Sounds like you’ve been digesting HSUS and PETA propoganda. Thanks for your reponse.


  4. Stephen Gertson says:

    Do you really care about the environment at all? Do you realize if we all go organic, we will have to put about 3-5 times as much land under cultivation? There is a reason organic food costs more–it doesn’t produce as much and is a much greater risk to the farmer. You think there are hungry people in the world now–just think how many more people would be hungry under a total organic production scenario–the diseases animals would get, the insect and fungus infestation of crops, not to mention the wildlife that visit the farms and ranches spreading ecoli and other bactiria and diseases that could be unstopped without proper vaccinations.

    David, do you have children? When they were born did you have them vaccinated? When they get sick do you give them medicine? When you get sick do you take medicine?

    If you think farmers and ranchers just treat their crops and animals just to do it–think again. Things are way too costly to just treat something that does not need to be treated. Farmers and ranchers operate on way to thin of a margin to throw extra money into production for things that aren’t reasonable and necessary.

  5. An anecdote: I have a niece who was a vegan for several years. She felt bad on a chronic basis. Returning some animal protein to her diet solved the problem.

  6. RadicalOmnivore says:

    To say that both HSUS and PeTA will "fail" because Americans like meat is to miss the point of what defines success in this battle.

    Both organizations are more going concerns than charities. Indeed, they are part of what has become an "Animal Protest Industry".
    They have hundreds of millions in the bank and have padded some very comfortable lives for some highly paid lawyers and advisors complete with pensions funds and write offs.

    If meat production were beaten today, they’d be losing money.

    A long drawn out campaign of vilification and misinformation will make them much more money and brand recognition in the long run.

  7. Robert Fleming says:


    I would like you to travel oversees or to mexico to check out the organic and hormone free beef, I promise you you will not find the attractive meat or vegetable isle you will find at whole foods markets. I personally have my doubts that the fruits and vegetables shown at these organic markets are truely organic because the quality is too good.

    Robert Fleming

  8. Excellent article. I think there is hope. But that doesn’t mean we can learn from the situation we have been put in. We have to tell our story. We have let HSUS, PETA, the media and everyone else tell the agriculture story for us, and frankly they have done an awful job. Us farmers and ranchers need to be there to answer consumer questions otherwise they will go somewhere else to find answers.

  9. Mike Barnett says:

    Crystal, what a great job of telling the story of a rancher’s passion for feeding the world. I often say that if farmers and ranchers don’t tell their story, someone else will. Unfortunately, groups like PETA and HSUS–and others–are doing so, spreading manure about our industry. I encourage everyone to take a peek at Crystal’s YouTube presentation.


  10. JoAnn Behrends says:

    I suppose you have lead dishes in your house, treat your gasoline with lead to stop knocks, use asbestos for insulation, and fry your food in trans fats, because you are part of the science and technology crowd. Well I have learned from past mistakes and think we should take these new advances in science slowly. If you want everyone to except these advancement maybe you could share some long term feeding studies done by independent scientist not Monsanto. That kind of science would go a long way towards dispelling public fears.
    Have you ever wondered why the rest of the world does not want our beef and dairy products? Because they fear what may become long term chronic health problems. They wonder what is causing the epidemic levels of depression, heart disease, diabetes and obesities in Americans. It could be that we eat too much but it might be what is in the food, and frankly they do not what to find out. They have labels on all their food so they can tell what contains GMO and the consumers choose not to buy food with GMO. Why is GMO labeling not a requirement in the United States? I would like to have a choice.
    As for the skyrocketing population, there is enough food now to feed everyone twice. Consider just what you throw away, the problem is not lack of food it is lack of infrastructure to get food to the hungry. The other problem is poverty if the people can’t buy the food will the American farmers just give it to them? Do you think Monsanto is going to just give this technology to American farmers? If GMO is the answer, and we have had the technology for 13 years, then why are there still people starving. I can tell you why, because MORE did not make it cheaper to produce if fact it made it more expensive (tech fees). Science, in part, is why American farmers are slowly and surely farming away their equity. Poverty and starvation will continue to be a problem as more and more of the farmers are displaced by corporate farms. You think starvation is bad now wait until your grand children are starving so the Monsanto executives can fly their jets powered with fuel from biotech corn grown on the land that used to produce food for your table. These technologies are not about feeding the world they are about profit, and not American farmers profit, but big corporate profit.

  11. Mike Barnett says:

    My JoAnn, what a gloomy picture you paint for agriculture’s future.

    As far as the obesity angle, it’s not a matter of beef and dairy products making people fat. It’s a matter of the choices people make on what and how much they put in their mouths, and exercise, or lack thereof. Meat and dairy products are part of a healthy diet, if people choose to eat a healthy diet.

    We’re going to have to disagree, I’m afraid, about hunger in the world and the promise of biotech. Forty years from now, it’s estimated that the world’s population will grow to 9 billion people. Farmers and ranchers–using crops provided by biotech advances and adopting tools developed by many kinds of research–will feed this hungry world.

  12. Dan Dierschke says:

    Mike, thanks once again for the level headed thinking that is so typical of an organization representing farmers and ranchers. I have been following the comments and was finally driven over the edge by the comment that the rest of the world does not want our beef. I have eaten American beef at some of the finest restaurants in Moscow, Paris, Hong Kong, and other major cities and the consisent message is that people who know our product want our beef. In China we were reportedly asked to work with their government to break down the barriers because they wanted the finest, tastest food product available — American Beef.

  13. Mike Barnett says:

    Thanks, Dan. I was hoping you would speak to that issue. For our readers who don’t know, Dan was recently elected as chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. Congratulations, Dan!


  14. Dan Dierschke says:

    Thank you for the comment Mike. I feel humbled and at the same time honored to have been selected to serve my fellow farmers and ranchers. I owe a great debt to Texas Farm Bureau because it was this organization that provided leadership opportunities at both the county and state levels. The staff and volunteer leadership of TFB continue to serve as an outstanding model of what a group of farmers and ranchers can do together to represent their interests. Critical that we as individuals tell our stories to counter those who continue to incorrectly tell our stories for us. Looking back over my previous post I realized I missed an error. Instead of "reportedly" I meant to say we were "repeatedly" ask to facilitate the movement of American beef into their country.

  15. Farmers have been genetically modifying food since the first hybrid corn was produced in ancient Egypt. We all know that scientific evidence can be manipulated – recent revelations in climate change data come to mind. We all need to be a bit of the skeptic. Still, no evidence of harm to persons, animals or environment from GMOs. Luddism is alive and well. Current GMO research promises breakthroughs in plants that use less water and require less crop protection chemicals and fertilizer. I hope we don’t turn our back on that.


  16. Dale Murden says:

    I was dissapointed to learn that PETA actually spends less than 1% of a $100 million dollar budget for the actual care of animals. HMMM. I guess they spend the rest of it on attack ads.

  17. Phil Williams says:

    I have read the comments by HSUS and PETA supporters and have been silent to long.If you want to purchase organic products and free range animal meat etc. go right ahead, pay the increased price if you wish. It is your choice. It is your choice to drive a BMW instead of a Chevrolet, pay the price. If you want to live in a million dollar home it is your choice, pay the price. But don’t tell everyone else thats the only choice they should have. I prefer my meat,eggs milk etc just the way they are and at a price I can afford. Wonder what kind of taxes we would have to pay for the government to buy organic groceries for the millions on food stamps and government aided food programs that are now funded by resonablely price food? You see we all have a choice now. But do away with agriculture as we know it now and then what is your choice. When was the last time you were hungry and could not get the food item you wanted. Probably never. I prefer that choice. As far as the supposed mistreatment of the animals that is so loudly claimed by these orginizations where were they when I waded through the cold snow and ice to feed my animals and break ice for them to drink. Where were they when I fed them extra to get them through the bad weather. Where were they when I checked heifers serveral times through the night to make sure they calved without incident. Where were they when I nursed the calves with a bottle because he was to weak to nurse himself. I’m quessing they were in a warm house or apartment sipping their organically grown wine , or was it , reading about global warming during one of the colder winters that we have had. I imagine they were looking lovingly at the dog or cat that had been in his or her small cage all day while they were at work. And had reluctantly walked in the park on the leash for his daily outing. This would be the same pet that had been vaccinated, clipped, washed, wormed, declawed, neutered or spayed, perfumend and had their hair styled, maybe there ears clipped to look the way the owner wanted them, not the way they were born. Probably the same pet who had to have its teeth cleaned and eat the feed the owner chose for them,which I,m sure was organically produced, or maybe not. The same pet who had to wear clothes that the owner thought were cute and ribbons and bows stuck on them and stayed in the kennel with all the other pets who did not get to go on vacation with the family, that went to visit the large metropolitan zoo where all the animals live in their natural free range enviroment, rain forest, desert or mountain region. Or maybe they weren’t that lucky after all. Maybe the zoo kept them in small cages and pens and tended to their every need.Maybe they are thousands of miles from their natural habitat. You see when you want to tell someone else how to tend to their animals you better look in your own backyard or small cage or the dog on the end of the leash and wonder is this how they were intended to exist. You have the choice to drive,live,vote,marry,befriend,spend save,or do any number of things in this free country we live in but I do not want to live in a country where I have to abide by your choice of what I eat or drive. P.S. When you eat that free range chicken egg or pork or beef just remember they had the choice of what they would eat,what it was next to or what kind of organic deposit it came from, or what color of insect they preferred that day. I like mine a little more selective.
    Phil Williams

  18. Hey, Phil. Glad you broke your silence.

    Choice is an activity in which many of these groups would rather you not participate. It’s their way or no way at all.

    Thanks to you all for contributing to our blog.


  19. Walt Hutchens says:

    While I agree with Mike Barnett that the animal rightists will ultimately be beaten, I think that he and the animal agriculture community generally have no idea how long that’s going to take or how difficult it’s going to be.

    Just to take one small example of the kind of challenges we face, Ohio (which recently passed a law creating a state board to establish farm animal care standards) is nothing like a victory for our side at this point. HSUS has paid signature gatherers on the streets now for a ballot initiative telling the board what its first standards must be: Chickens and a few other species must have room to move around and stretch their limbs. (California Prop. 2) They’ll get their initiative on the ballot and I’d put the odds at about 4:1 in favor of passage.

    Farmers must adjust to a new kind of competitor. Rather than another farmer who wants to do the same thing you do but do it better, the animal rights movement wants to put you out of business by raising your costs so that you can’t compete. In the animal rights world of the future, production of our eggs and meat will first be made ‘humane,’ ‘organic,’ and ‘local,’ then offshored to places the AR campaigns haven’t yet reached.

    Nor will farmers have many allies: The Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, Executive VP has stated that his major concern is how divisive the new ballot initiative will be and he has laid out a months-long process for deciding the organization’s position that is likely to keep it on the sidelines through the critical part of the campaign.

    My wife and I breed a couple of litters of dogs per year, as a hobby. We have about eight years experience fighting the HSUS, PETA (and the rest) anti-pet animal campaigns and I can tell you that these people are GOOD. Simply telling the public how much farmers care about their livestock isn’t going to win this war: Your new competitors will lie, fabricate, and spin the existence of a problem, the public will nod its agreement, and lawmakers will pass laws that one by one strip you of the ability to operate a profitable business.

    For example: Commercial dog breeding becomes a full-family income business at around the 100-dog size. HSUS first popularized the term ‘puppy mill’ with the implicit meaning of a dirty operation, providing little or no care, lots of sick animals, selling unhealthy puppies. Then they began applying that term to every commercial breeder. THEN they started promoting anti-puppy mill bills which limit a dog breeder (regardless of his goals or how good an operation) to 50 animals. There are usually several other cost-increasing requirements such as climate controlled shelter or exercise in a separate area at least once daily.

    They promote these bills via press releases which liberal media run as news items. They stage ‘busts’ to create urgency and this works, even when the bust is essentially a fraud. The media jump in with supportive editorials. When you go to talk to lawmakers about the problems with the idea, what you get is "We have to pass this bill."

    I watched it happen in Virginia in 2008. Our General Assembly didn’t give a damn about the merits of our (first in the nation) ‘puppy mill bill.’ "We have to pass this bill." And our state veterinary medical association effectively supported passage. Since then six or seven other states have passed equivalent bills.

    Farmers have an advantage over pet breeders because in many states animal agriculture is big business. But if enough states with an easy process pass anti-animal farming initiatives and legislatures in a few more states with little farming pass bills, the battle will shift to Congress or USDA regulations. I expect you’re aware of Cass Sunstein, the animal rightist who heads the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

    It will be YEARS before the general public comes to our help in this war. By all means talk to the public, but do not consider that any more than a long term background strategy. You will have to identify organizations that will be big and immediate losers (should HSUS succeed) and mobilize and work with them, first to play defense effectively, and second, to eliminate the ability of the AR movement to raise vast sums of money with what are morally speaking, lies.

    No more than fifteen years from now we will either have highly productive and efficient animal agriculture feeding our country and much of the rest of the world with safe, inexpensive food, OR HSUS will still be a significant force. Either you win and they go away, or the reverse.

    It’s going to be interesting but for most of us it’ll be one of the toughest jobs we’ve had to do.

  20. Walt, I believe the agriculture community is beginning to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to HSUS. They are a well-funded, experienced and effective group that will stop at nothing to achieve their goals. You are right about what’s happening in Ohio. Agriculture beat HSUS back the first time; now HSUS is coming right back at them with a different strategy and tactics. And they win victories in another state or two, expect them to take their fight to the national level.

    Your last sentence sums up things pretty well. Fighting HSUS will be one of the toughest jobs agriculture ever tackles.


  21. Alice Harrington says:

    Walt is right – it is a daunting fight. One I work on everyday as a dog owner. I watch HSUS and their surrogates work their agendas and suck up money wherever they can. I am hoping that now that Agriculture is finally waking up to this threat that we can make more progress. AG has money that the dog world does not. Money buys lobbyists, lawyers (we really need some good ones on our side), marketing campaigns, celebrities, research, and outreach. I know we are smart, we just have to get financed and focused. Together we CAN defeat this scourge.

    Alice Harrington

  22. 7 Things You Didn’t Know About HSUS
    (The Humane Society of the United States)

    1. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is a “humane society” in name only, since it doesn’t operate a single pet shelter or pet adoption facility anywhere in the United States. HSUS operates sanctuaries for large animals only, not shelters within the commonly accepted definition of shelter. During 2006, HSUS contributed only 4.2 percent of its budget to organizations that operate hands-on dog and cat shelters. In reality, HSUS is a wealthy animal-rights lobbying organization (the largest and richest on earth) that agitates for the same goals as PETA and other radical groups.

    2. Beginning on the day of NFL quarterback Michael Vick’s2007 dog fighting indictment, HSUS raised money online with the false promise that it would “care for the dogs seized in the Michael Vick case.” The New York Times later reported that HSUS wasn’t caring for Vick’s dogs at all. And HSUS president Wayne Pacelle told the Times that his group recommended that government officials “put down” (that is, kill) the dogs rather than adopt them out to suitable homes. HSUS later quietly altered its Internet fundraising pitch.

    3. HSUS’s senior management includes a former spokesman for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a criminal group designated as “terrorists” by the FBI. HSUS president Wayne Pacelle hired John “J.P.” Goodwin in 1997, the same year Goodwin described himself as “spokesperson for the ALF” while he fielded media calls in the wake of an ALF arson attack at a California veal processing plant. In 1997, when asked by reporters for a reaction to an ALF arson fire at a farmer’s feed co-op in Utah (which nearly killed a family sleeping on the premises), Goodwin replied, “We’re ecstatic.” That same year, Goodwin was arrested at a UC Davis protest celebrating the 10-year anniversary of an ALF arson at the university that caused $5 million in damage. And in 1998, Goodwin described himself publicly as a “former member of ALF.”

    4.HSUS raised a reported $34 million in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, supposedly to help reunite lost pets with their owners. But comparatively little of that money was spent for its intended purpose. Louisiana’s Attorney General shuttered his 18-month-long investigation into where most of these millions went, shortly after HSUS announced its plan to contribute $600,000 toward the construction of an animal shelter on the grounds of a state prison. Public disclosures of the disposition of the $34 million in Katrina-related donations add up to less than $7 million.

    5. After gathering undercover video footage of improper animal handling at a Chino, CA slaughterhouse during November of 2007, HSUS sat on its video evidence for three months, even refusing to share it with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. HSUS’s Dr. Michael Greger testified before Congress that the San Bernardino County (CA) District Attorney’s office asked the group “to hold on to the information while they completed their investigation.” But the District Attorney’s office quickly denied that account, even declaring that HSUS refused to make its undercover spy available to investigators if the USDA were present at those meetings. Ultimately, HSUS chose to release its video footage at a more politically opportune time, as it prepared to launch a livestock-related ballot campaign in California. Meanwhile, meat from the slaughterhouse continued to flow into the U.S. food supply for months.

    6. According to a 2008 Los Angeles Times investigation, less than 12 percent of money raised for HSUS by California telemarketers actually ends up in HSUS’s bank account. The rest is kept by professional fundraisers. And if you exclude two campaigns run for HSUS by the “Build-a-Bear Workshop” retail chain, which consisted of the sale of surplus stuffed animals (not really “fundraising”), HSUS’s yield number shrinks to just 3 percent. Sadly, this appears typical. In 2004, HSUS ran a telemarketing campaign in Connecticut with fundraisers who promised to return a minimum of zero percent of the proceeds. The campaign raised over $1.4 million. Not only did absolutely none of that money go to HSUS, but the group paid $175,000 for the telemarketing work.

    7. Research shows that HSUS’s heavily promoted U.S. “boycott” of Canadian seafood—announced in 2005 as a protest against Canada’s annual seal hunt—is a phony exercise in media manipulation. A 2006 investigation found that 78 percent of the restaurants and seafood distributors described by HSUS as “boycotters” weren’t participating at all. Nearly two-thirds of them told surveyors they were completely unaware HSUS was using their names in connection with an international boycott campaign. Canada’s federal government is on record about this deception, saying: “Some animal rights groups have been misleading the public for years … it’s no surprise at all that the richest of them would mislead the public with a phony seafood boycott.”

    Want evidence? Visit
    Revised October 2008. Complete sources and documentation available upon request.

  23. Walt Hutchens says:

    [quote] I think that is the real agenda of these movements, as they seem to hate people most of all when you listen to their diatribes.[/quote]
    The animal rights movement isn’t about caring for animals, it’s about punishing humans.

    Actually there are three main groups of people involved in AR:

    1. "I hate people." Most of the AR movement theorists, many of the AR-oriented shelter workers and animal control officials. These individuals often have a reason to hate people — perhaps a history of childhood abuse. Many of them have added years of exposure to the ‘worst of the worst’ animal abuse, until they think that all humans are guilty and all animals, victims.

    2. "It’s just a job." I doubt that Wayne Pacelle ever expected to be making in six figures. And I also doubt that he’s as deeply involved emotionally as a lot of the lower level people. The politicians who sponsor one AR bill after another — they don’t care about the animals, just about the HSUS ‘animal friendly legislator’ endorsement. Certainly the many celebs who promote AR causes aren’t doing it from belief, but because their publicists recommended that they do so.

    3. "I love animals but I’m not well-informed enough to know that what I’m doing actually hurts them." This group makes up the majority of the foot soldiers of the movement. They donate every month, they participate in AR online groups, they may send letters or sign petitions supporting AR causes.

    Some of the people in the "I love animals" group can be educated: The others, no, and little time should be spent in trying. Victory will require going around the true animal rightists, reaching and ultimately mobilizing uncommitted citizens who see that something important to them is threatened.

    The experience so far among pet owners is that very few can be convinced there’s actually a threat until the ax falls on or very near them. We’re having much better results among dog show people, especially among those who breed, because many localities have passed or attempted to pass anti-breeding laws. Even the AKC is now feeling threatened enough to begin mobilization.

    I’d expect very little success getting farm product consumers to help because the threat isn’t yet real for them. HSUS has been smart enough to set very distant effective dates for the most far reaching bills: CA Prop. 2 which eliminates battery cages for laying hens takes effect in 2015. The increase of prices is likely to be gradual enough that there is little outcry. The bill to forbid imports of eggs not raised according to CA standards, failed, so (unless a successor bill passes) the increase may be modest in any case.

    Farmers seem to be catching on fast but they’ve got a heck of a job to do. I think their best near-term allies will be suppliers, employees and their families, and the many farming-dependent businesses. Many large animal veterinarians may help but the small animal vets are more often part of the problem.

    Among the biggest assets farmers have is their business volume. The pet animal world has so little money that grassroots action is almost our only tactic.

    [quote]I think that is the real agenda of these movements, as they seem to hate people most of all when you listen to their diatribes. If there were far less people, the farming methods these radical activists support would be able to sustain what’s left of us. I vote for them to be the first in line for ‘human reduction’.[/quote]
    I’ll vote that same ticket. I’m not interested in returning to 1840.

    [quote]Walt, I believe the agriculture community is beginning to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to HSUS.[/quote]
    Farmers have covered in the last two years, ground that took pet animal fanciers about ten years.

    [quote]Fighting HSUS will be one of the toughest jobs agriculture ever tackles.[/quote]
    I think that’s right, and none of the other jobs are going to get any easier while this one is being handled. I can tell you, however, that there’s widespread awareness of the agriculture part of the war among the few thousand people who are active in the pet animal part and we’ll help where we can, at least by helping to spread the word.

  24. Hi Mike, I like the points you have made, with the exception of those re GMO. From my reading and research, GMO plants and seeds have not enjoyed the full support of the larger scientific community. Now, that says something. When Scientific American journal editors point out that GMO foodstuffs have not been evaluated by non-biased research entities, but only by Monsanto supporters, then I have to see that as a problem both for humans and for animals. So, IMO the jury is still out on GMO foods. I don’t buy into the idea that all GMO foods are franken foods, but I do expect that responsible corporations would have no problem with non-biased researchers studying their products for safety issues.

    As regards the HSUS and farmers and ranchers, it seems to me that the full realization of what they are up against has not hit home, nor have farmers and ranchers come up with successful means of dealing with the lies and deceptions that will be put before the public in the attempt of the HSUS to gain control over animal agriculture. Look what happened in Florida. When the signature gatherers were busy in the malls soliciting signatures to put the Pig Amendment on the ballot, the Farm Bureau and farming community completely ignored the problem. And, even when the required steps for this petition were NOT fulfilled, the state allowed the petition to proceed!!!! Now, PIGS are a part of the Florida Constitution. So, unless the farmers and animal producers in Ohio and other states get really busy, and CONSISTENTLY write to local news papers, call in to local radio shows, and generally put their message out to the public, they are going to lose this battle! Historically, the public does not know what they have lost until it is lost. Once laws are in place restricting, prohibiting and eliminating animal agricultural practices, it will be TOO LATE!!! Farmers and agricultural animal producers and their organizations need to get busy now with lots of positive PR for their position. We have the numbers, but HSUS has the money to lobby and advertise. Numbers CAN trump dollars, but that means lots of people have to do their part.

  25. Rosemary Marshall says:

    Well done HSUS you’ve got them worried!

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