Jolley: 5 Minutes with Joe Maxwell, HSUS Dir. of Rural Outreach

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Last week, Heather Sullivan, Director of Public Relations for The Humane Society of the United States, sent an email message to me, expressing her disappointment that “folks on your site continue to misrepresent The Humane Society of the United States’ position and approach.”

She was reacting to my interview with Pete McClymont, president of Nebraska’s We Support Agriculture, a group whose announced purpose is to fight HSUS incursions into that major ag state.  My discussion with McClymont generated some interesting-controversial-inane-insane comments.  To read it, and you should before you go farther, click here.

Sullivan offered up an interview with Joe Maxwell, HSUS Director of Rural Outreach, to balance the scales. She also included this bio:

“Joe Maxwell grew up on a family farm in the small town of Rush Hill, Missouri. He is the son of a hard working tenant farmer. As a fourth generation farm boy, Joe Maxwell learned from his grandfather and father the value of being a good steward of the land and the animals you raise. Today Joe Maxwell and his twin brother Steve carry on these values on the same family farm and along with over 50 other family farmers sell certified pork into Whole Foods and other markets.

During the farm crisis in the 1980’s, Joe Maxwell realized that it took more than just being a good farmer with good values. He learned you had to focus your hard work not only on being that good steward on the farm but you had to engage the political process both at the capitols and in the field with grass roots advocacy.

Joe began building his well-known skills by working as a field coordinator in campaigns throughout the 80s and by the 90s he was a leading campaign coordinator for both candidates and advocacy organizations. During this time Joe was a field coordinator for Congressman Dick Gephardt.

In the 90s, Joe put his organizing and communication skills to the test for himself and in a race that everyone said he could not win, he won and became a Missouri State Representative. In the mid 90s, in a special election with only six weeks to run and starting out 23 points down, Joe once again proved himself by putting in place a winning strategy and making it happen on election day. In 2000, when other rural candidates were struggling in Missouri, Joe Maxwell produced a strong, solid win as Lt. Governor.

During his time as an elected official, Joe did not lose site of the value family farms hold in our society, in our economy and in our environment. Joe passed many bills which supported added value agriculture projects and programs for the family farmers, while he worked against large scale industrialized farms which he sees as harmful to the rural economy, the environment, and the animals. To Joe Maxwell, they clearly are not good stewards. He was only one of a few legislators who passed a state ban on packer ownership of livestock and a state COOL program.

Since leaving office in 2005, Joe Maxwell has continued to fight for those values he learned at a young age on his family’s farm. His focus is on sustainable agriculture practices which include sustainability of the farm, the rural economy, the environment and the welfare of the animals. In doing so, he served as a former president of the Association of Family Farmers, an organization associated with the Ag of the Middle Project, he is a member of the Organization for Competitive Markets and he is a member of the Missouri Farmers Union.

Today, as the Director for Rural Development and Outreach for The Humane Society of the United States, Joe works directly with family farmers, helping them to organize into producer groups to open direct markets for their own products.”

Although I thought her comment that folks on our site “continue to misrepresent” their position was in itself a misrepresentation, the chance to hear what one of their representatives had to say about their position on important issues, their increased presence in Nebraska and their thoughts about WSA might be interesting.  I responded with this statement:

“I think 'misrepresentation' is always in the eyes of the beholder. There are many on this side of the fence that are convinced, based on comments by HSUS reps, that they misrepresent their position and intent.

If you can accept that clarification, I would be glad to interview Mr. Maxwell. So that both sides are adequately protected and there can be no misunderstanding or misquotes, let me suggest that I email six questions - no gotchas, just fair and even handed questions - and he can respond with written answers. I'll publish his responses exactly as written, no editing for space and no limit on how long or how short he wishes to be.”

She agreed and I emailed the questions, based on the same set of questions I asked during the McClymont interview.  Here is what Maxwell wrote, read it carefully and your comments are invited.

Q. HSUS has increased its presence in Nebraska with the opening of an Omaha office last year. Your web site makes this statement about your intent: “We work in Nebraska to support animal welfare legislation, fight animal cruelty in all forms, rescue animals in danger, and engage citizens to promote the protection of animals.” The statement could apply to companion animals as well as the animal agriculture industry. Would you clarify what you want to achieve in both areas?

A. In response to its growing Nebraska membership, The Humane Society of the United States hired Jocelyn Nickerson as The HSUS’ Nebraska state director in September 2010. Jocelyn’s goals and objectives are to be responsive to the Nebraska members of The Humane Society of the United States in protecting all animals in Nebraska from cruelty and abuse. This goal takes on many forms from rescuing llamas to working with animal shelters, farmers and other stakeholders.

The HSUS promotes family farmers and independent ranchers in transitioning their animal livestock production to such programs as Global Animal Partnership. These standards are a cornerstone to Whole Foods Markets and other retailers. The Humane Society of the United States and its President and CEO Wayne Pacelle have worked in conjunction with agricultural leaders in the development and launch of these production standards. Jocelyn also works with the local shelters to provide assistance and support as they request.

Q. To help achieve your goals, HSUS was joined by the Nebraska Farmers Union to announce the formation of an advisory body, the Nebraska Agriculture Council of The Humane Society of the United States. How do you see an HSUS/NFU union working?

A. The Nebraska Farmers Union has a strong heritage of working with family farmers and independent ranchers. They have a strong record in cooperative development and consensus building. The HSUS recognizes them as great collaborators in assisting in organizing family farmers and independent ranchers who are good stewards of both the animals and the land and opening markets for their products.

Q. Your entry into Nebraska wasn’t greeted with widespread acclaim, however. A few weeks ago, Governor Dave Heineman said he would fight any efforts by HSUS lobbyists to push legislation that could hinder Nebraska's agricultural industry. His comments to reporters had a very harsh edge.

“We don’t trust HSUS—we don’t respect them. No deal, no compromise. If they want come to Nebraska, we’re going to fight them every step of the way. They want to destroy the number one industry in this state—and I’m not going to let them do it,” he said.

What’s your reaction?

A. The Humane Society of the United States is more than 50 years old, and we did not just come to Nebraska. The HSUS has a long history of support from across the country, including Nebraska. Gov. Heineman has no reason not to trust The Humane Society of the United States. The HSUS has always been transparent about our goals and missions. Just look at our logo, our extensive website, our mail solicitations, our TV commercials, our smartphone HumaneTV app, our Facebook page, our Twitter account, or our press outreach to see what we are about.

Heinemann is out of step with his own constituents, the overwhelming majority of them want all animals, including farm animals, treated humanely. Thus far, Heineman has rejected all offers to have a dialogue with The HSUS and its Nebraska members; he simply hasn’t taken the time to understand our work, our operations and our mission. However, that has not deterred The Humane Society of the United States and the Nebraska Farmers Union from continuing to forge markets for those family farmers and independent ranchers who are good stewards of their animals and the land.

Q. Standing in opposition to the Nebraska Farmers Union are five livestock groups - Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Nebraska Pork Producers, Nebraska Poultry Industries and the Nebraska State Dairy Association who joined to form a farm coalition called We Support Agriculture. I interviewed the group’s president, Pete McClymont, who said “Animal rights groups, including PETA, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Farm Sanctuary and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have initiated a campaign to promote their extreme agenda nationally in a number of areas.”

“We believe that they will try to use class warfare tactics to create wedge issues that divide farmers and ranchers from consumers like they have in other states. They will probably exploit an isolated animal abuse case to attack conventional and veterinary approved animal care practices. We are concerned that they will also portray Nebraska farmers and ranchers as cruel and abusive.”

Clearly a battle is brewing. Are you comfortable with the link McClymont made between HSUS, PETA, The Animal Legal Defense Fund and Farm Sanctuary and will those groups be assisting your efforts in Nebraska and other states?

A. First, organizations like We Support Agriculture, their members and their crony politicians work every day to hide what is wrong in agriculture rather than to confront and cure the problems. They use the faces of family farmers and independent ranchers as cover for their bad practices. Consumers trust family farmers and independent ranchers, they trust they treat their animals well; they trust they care for the land and the environment, and they trust the food they produce is safe. They don’t trust Corporate Agriculture and their non-transparent systems of production.

The Humane Society of the United States simply peels back the cover and exposes the truth about extreme practices within corporate agriculture. The HSUS celebrates those Nebraska farmers and ranchers who are good stewards of their animals and the land. They don’t celebrate animals raised in extreme confinement—gestation crates, veal crates, battery cages or extreme practices like cutting off the tails of dairy cows. That is why The Humane Society of the United States is working with the second oldest agriculture organization in Nebraska, the Nebraska Farmers Union.

Q. Let’s talk about two other issues. The first is a statement made by many in animal agriculture that HSUS often misrepresents itself when it comes to actual ‘hands on’ animal care. “Humane Society” are the first two words in your name but only about a half percent of the money you collect actually goes to local humane societies. It’s seen by some as a dishonest practice. Would you clarify how and why donations are spent?

A. This is a false framing of the issue, and any serious-minded person who takes the time to understand our work sees it as such. The Humane Society of the United States is a stalwart advocate for animal shelters, accredited sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers. The HSUS was conceived in 1954 to professionalize the animal care field (not to be a pass through organization for them) and to take on animal cruelty that local shelters did not have the resources or scope to confront. We defined our founding mission as taking on cruelty against all animals. Consider that this year about 65,000 animals of various species passed through our caring hands during rescues, law enforcement raids, spay and neuter clinics, rural veterinary services, wildlife rehabilitation and multi-species sanctuary. The testimonials link on our website collects praise from shelter leaders around the nation, from law enforcement, from business leaders, from agricultural supporters. The HSUS is one of the largest and most diverse providers of direct animal care in the country.

The American Farm Bureau doesn’t run every farm in America, and we don’t run every local animal welfare group. We do, however, host the nation’s biggest educational and training conference for shelters, publish Animal Sheltering magazine, provide grants to shelters, promote and operate spay-neuter activities, celebrate National Animal Sheltering Appreciation Week and conduct a national advertising campaign in partnership with Maddie’s Fund and The Ad Council to promote the adoption of shelter pets.

Of course, we also challenge the puppy mills and the dogfighting rings that contribute to the growing pet population that overburdens shelters, and we work closely with shelters that accept these cruelty cases to ensure that the animals’ needs are met. We operate Pets for Life programs in five major U.S. cities that offer free rabies vaccination clinics and dog training classes for members of the pet-loving community. Just this summer, we worked with the Central Nebraska Humane Society to provide evaluation, medical care and placement for several cats rescued from a dilapidated property near Gordon, where we also helped remove several llamas.

Q. The other comment is HSUS is a very well-funded lobbying group, spending the biggest portion of their time and money there and very little elsewhere. What is the extent of your activities and how much time to you spend with each of your pursuits?

A. That is a disingenuous characterization of our work. The HSUS spends less than 5 percent of its annual budget on lobbying, and the overwhelming bulk of our resources are used for non-lobbying activities, such as education and hands–on animal care. We have a separate affiliate, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, which also does lobbying and political work, and donations to that organization are not tax-deductible for our supporters. We work to reduce suffering in so many ways. That includes supporting public policies, investigating cruelty and working to enforce existing laws, educating the public about animal issues, joining with corporations on behalf of animal-friendly policies, and conducting hands-on programs that make ours a more humane world. We are a leading disaster relief agency for animals, and we provide direct care for thousands of animals at our sanctuaries and rescue facilities, wildlife rehabilitation centers and mobile veterinary clinics.

Q. Thousands of people read Cattlenetwork. What would you like to say to them?

A. The Humane Society of the United States celebrates those family farmers and ranchers who are good stewards of their animals and the land. The HSUS is not working to eliminate animal agriculture; we are working with our 51,000 members and supporters in Nebraska and across the country to eliminate the extreme confinement of farm animals. We are a diverse group, with everybody from vegans to multi-generation ranchers and everybody in between.

Our goal is to make the world better for animals, even a little bit better. To accomplish this, The HSUS has joined with the Nebraska Farmers Union to develop a market-based approach. With more than 60 percent of the rural citizens polled by the University of Nebraska stating that farm animal welfare should be more than just adequate food, water and shelter, we believe, together, we can make a difference in Nebraska and other states. Every consumer should be asking their grocery store and restaurant, “Where do your meat, dairy and eggs come from and how were the animals raised?"

Chuck Jolley is a free lance writer, based in Kansas City, who covers a wide range of ag industry topics for Vance Publishing.

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Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  December, 30, 2011 at 01:50 PM

Wow. Kudos to CN for manning up and entering the 21st. century. Maybe you guys can step up to the plate and be heros and begin to help heal the idiotic rift between the decent producer and the consumer.

USA  |  December, 30, 2011 at 03:36 PM

I get the impression that Honorable Joe does not have first hand knowledge about where HSUS spends most of its money. In my opinion, instead of exploiting other people's animals for sad looking mug shots, they should be putting up pictures of sad-looking lobbyists.

USA  |  December, 30, 2011 at 03:43 PM

His comment about "framing the issue" is very curious to me. Are there committees in animal activism that work specifically on "framing issues" to make them more palatable, less extreme and easily sold to a gullible public....... Are we saying that organizations that rate charitable organizations that give animal charities low marks are falsely framing issues? What exactly is a falsely framed issue?

Jay Kitchener    
Maine, USA  |  December, 30, 2011 at 05:51 PM

I sat at the table with HSUS to define "kennel" in Maine law. I've heard this kind of smooth-talk before. After months of work and many "assurances" from the then-HSUS state director that a minority report would be included in the final report to the legislature--and the implication that our opposition would be given the minority report position--HSUS slightyly changed their postion at the eleventh hour and took the minority report for themselves. In doing so, HSUS effectively silenced our concerns in opposition to their position. Nice trick, huh?

NE  |  December, 30, 2011 at 06:47 PM

Ask yourself, why would you expect these people to know more about, care more about and understand more about what rules to make, than the people who actually raise, care about and protect our farm animals?

average man in the country    
nebraska panhandle  |  December, 30, 2011 at 07:40 PM

1. HSUS has aligned itself with the 25% of farmers who produce less than 2% of agricultural products. They tend to produce high value products like fruit, vegetables, direct sales meet and dairy. They see the systems the rest of us use to produce 95% of ag values as a threat. Unfortunately, they have good contact with most of the people in this country. 2. HSUS has over 30 lawyers on staff. Our legal sysem rewards privateers with law degrees for plundering through civil legal actions in the name of public good. HSUS "education", lobbying and petition actions all expand the opportunities to plunder. 3. HSUS contribution to the llama resuce was to make a few phone calls to find a couple sanctuaries to accept an elderly ladies llamas and the get an AP journalis to paint her as an animal abusing and neglectiful rancher.

Nebraska  |  December, 30, 2011 at 10:37 PM

What a load of BS. This guy is not tell the true or whole story. Less than 1% of the money that the HSUS raises with those poor animal commericals and with their other fund raising campaigns goes to help animals. The rest goes to pay the talking heads and lawyers. The HSUS is a threat to the AG industry, everything from cattle to kittens. Take a look at the "good" work they have done in other states. Just another special intrest group trying to force their positions on everyone. But this is the country that elected Obama so it seems that people will believe about anything if you tell it to them enough. Study and think!

Terry Ward    
Pa.  |  December, 31, 2011 at 05:00 AM

Oh la...seems only Mr. Jplley is able to man up around here.

US  |  January, 01, 2012 at 01:50 PM

Go crawl back under your rock, Terry at HSUS headquarters. You have nothing to add to the debate except for insults and innuendos. You are EXACTLY the best representation of the school yard bully tactics used by HSUS and their ilk.

Susan Wolf    
NC  |  December, 31, 2011 at 08:22 AM

Maxwell writes: The HSUS was conceived in 1954 to professionalize the animal care field (not to be a pass through organization for them) and to take on animal cruelty that local shelters did not have the resources or scope to confront. This is a public relations version. The HSUS was formed in 1954 primarily for the purpose of fighting biomedical research because founders Armory, Myers,, did not believe the existing organizations (American Humane and ASPCA) had a strong enough position on this issue. Once formed, HSUS founders moved forward with spinoff organizations such as The Fund for Animals to end hunting, and eventually even the radical International Society for Animal Rights. HSUS has always promoted the animal rights agenda but is smart enough to know that it is a hard sell. A much easier and financially productive path is presentation as only an animal welfare group where HSUS can drive wedges in order to divide animal owners and producers. One of the most demanding tasks we have is to unmask the HSUS agenda.

S Clark    
OK  |  December, 31, 2011 at 08:39 AM

The idea of being able to free range a few sows, have 50 hens picking around, a couple dairy cows to hand milk, and a small herd of beef cattle that are totally grass developed and fed is a terrific romantic idea, BUT, even if you do live close enough to a major metropolitan area where you can develope a market that pays enough to cash flow your endeavors, there is still one major question to answer..........Who in the heck is going to be able to raise enough food to feed this ever growing world? Please tell me one other industry that seemingly EVERY technological advance is met with contempt and complaint? I wish I could make a living raising livestock as inefficiently as it was produced 75 to 100 years ago, but people would starve! To raise free range eggs, they'd be $5/dozen and people complain about $1.50 now! And they same goes for pork and beef, it would be triple the price it is in the grocery store now. Instead of preaching to Ag, HSUS and others like them need to be educating consumers that if they want big coorperations out of animal Ag, then they have to be willing to spend as much on food as say they do, oh I don't know, on entertainment! People don't want to pay a penny more for their food then they have to but they want to restrict us to some of the most inefficient production methods known, so who's going to be the ones that go hungry? Who's going to wait in line for a dozen eggs, or a gallon of milk because supply can't meet demand?

Mark W. Killian    
Mesa Arizona  |  December, 31, 2011 at 09:02 AM

what is an independent rancher? Is that a code word for some thing? As a rancher I always thought our family was independent and working with the free market to do the best we can. I don't need the humane soc to tell me how to take care of my live stock. Here in Arizona they are in the middle of a public relations mess because of the miss treatment of animals.

American Farmer    
Rural America the Beautiful  |  December, 31, 2011 at 09:32 AM

Joe trips every alarm on my BS meter. His use of the terms "disingenuous" and "framing the issue" remind us those are HSUS's stock and trade in their insidious effort to destroy American Agriculture.

Bob Neese    
Missouri  |  December, 31, 2011 at 10:09 AM

The once dapper and debonaire, Joe Maxwell, now looks old and fat. But it's obvious he is still the same ole Joe, a say-anything, smarmy politician. My mouth did drop when I saw he works for HSUS. When the people of my district in NE Missouri finally figured out that the "faith, family, farm values" messaging, were just words and the liberal, leftist, and "in the union's back pockets", was the reality, he got soundly whipped the last time he ran for office. But this takes the cake. It just proves who and what Joe Maxwell is, and it's nothing we in Agriculture can be proud of or want to be a part of.

Missouri  |  January, 12, 2012 at 02:52 PM

Joe Maxwell won his spot as Lt. Governor the last time he ran for office, and decided not to run again when his wife fell ill. For someone who's so educated about issues, you seem to not know much.

Washington  |  December, 31, 2011 at 12:07 PM

Thank you for asking the direct questions that forced HSUS to answer completely and get on record. To the un- informed consumer his comments would seem honorable. However, those of us in Agriculture know that their definition of stewardship is entirely different than ours. It centers on what THEY believe is right and good. We all know that best practices and stewardship are not a function of operation size. Let's keep educating the ones that matter; the consumer!

Ben Coleman    
Mo  |  December, 31, 2011 at 12:46 PM

When the HSUS leaders set down and have a pulled pork sandwich or a grass fed beef dinner and show it publicly to their audience then I will believe them until that happens nope.

missouri  |  December, 31, 2011 at 01:39 PM

HSUS wants no commercial fertilizer or weed control chemicals used in crop production. How will the population of the world eat you might ask. Well the answer is they won't. If HSUS gets all it's goals implemented there will be a human die-off of unimaginable numbers. And the craziest thing of all is Maxwell and company are okay with it. Not the sort of actions I want to answer for when I pass from this earth.

Wise to HSUS    
CO  |  December, 31, 2011 at 02:04 PM

After reviewing the comments it appears to me that many folks are hoping HSUS can turn back the hands of time to where we lived in a substance ag society. We in modern ag are charged with feeding a hungry planet. I for one do not feel qualified to pick winners and loosers in the game of food production. Only the most naive could take HSUS at their word to "protect and be a friend to agriculture."

missouri  |  December, 31, 2011 at 02:13 PM

he was and is a liberal political hack and now a community organizer

WY  |  December, 31, 2011 at 07:05 PM

If you believe HSUS is here to help animal agriculture producers you're plain and simple a "DUMB ARSE" I grew up in Missouri and I'm a 100% Show me and HSUS will use any and all means to convert and promote a VEGAN planet.Maxwell's a puppet.

WY  |  December, 31, 2011 at 07:13 PM

If you believe HSUS cares about animal ag.producers YOU'RE a "DUMB ARSE" Their end goal is a VEGAN world !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

doug williams    
usa  |  December, 31, 2011 at 08:40 PM

With more than 60 percent of the rural citizens polled by the University of Nebraska stating that farm animal welfare should be more than just adequate food, water and shelter, really what more? If an animal has decent food water and shelter isn't that what they need? what else should they have?

B.L. Cozad Jr    
Oklahoma  |  December, 31, 2011 at 09:37 PM

Maurice Strong is the founder of "UN Agenda 21". He has openly stated that it is the responsibility of the United Nations to "cause the collapse of America". Maurice Strong also advocates using non-government organizations (like HSUS) to implement the policies of UN Agenda 21 at the local, state and federal level to achieve his goal to "cause the collapse of America". Maurice Strong is/was a senior board member and advisor of the HSUS. Are you waking up to the hidden "agenda" of the HSUS yet? Please research "UN Agenda 21" (utube gives a quick summary), Maurice Strong and his ties to the HSUS.

B.L. Cozad Jr    
Oklahoma  |  December, 31, 2011 at 09:44 PM

Maurice Strong is the founder of "UN Agenda 21". He has openly stated that it is the responsibility of the United Nations to "cause the collapse of America". Maurice Strong also advocates using non-government organizations (like HSUS) to implement the policies of UN Agenda 21 at the local, state and federal level to achieve his goal to "cause the collapse of America". Maurice Strong is/was a senior board member and advisor of the HSUS. Are you waking up to the hidden "agenda" of the HSUS yet? Please research "UN Agenda 21" (utube gives a quick summary), Maurice Strong and his ties to the HSUS. And please answer one question for yourself: When did our government decide it has the authority to "play God" and grant "rights" to our livestock and then use these unconstitutional "rights" they've granted to destroy the lives of America's farmers and ranchers to defend animals (our livestock) from the owners of the animals based on sentimental touchy feely opinions of the animal extremists of the HSUS.

B.L. Cozad Jr    
Oklahoma  |  December, 31, 2011 at 09:56 PM

Maurice Strong and the HSUS have been pushing this "agenda" since the late 1980's so you can expect that they have infiltrated many of the very same organizations (cattlemen, diary farmers, poultry producers etc) that are supposed to be representing the interests of the farmers and ranchers that are dues paying members providing the funding for the agriculture organizations. But don't be suprised if the executive director (usually a paid lawyer) supposed to represent our Ag industries offers to work with the HSUS and sells out the farmers and ranchers.

Mindy Patterson    
Missouri  |  January, 01, 2012 at 01:32 AM

It is frightening the think that Joe Maxwell was Lt. Governor in such a strong agriculture state such as Missouri, and now he's actively working to harm American agriculture! Joe Maxwell is also campaigning in Missouri for the 2012 HSUS-driven and financed Missouri ballot measure, 'Your Vote Counts Act' which would destroy our Republic, our state Constitution, and create mob rule-direct democracy! Hopefully Americans are waking up to the real intentions promoted by Joe Maxwell and the radical animal rights agenda of HSUS and their tactics which include coercing legislators and voters with their emotional messages to further regulate farmers, livestock producers and domesticated animal breeders with their so-called “anti cruelty” campaigns imposing unnecessary, onerous, prohibitive and costly regulations that will result in the complete elimination of all pet and livestock breeding, farming and agriculture in America. This strategy follows a pattern in many states across America, which have already fallen to HSUS-driven campaigns at the expense of fewer farms, fewer farmers, higher food prices, and a growing concern of a domestic food shortage.

Misouri  |  January, 01, 2012 at 07:22 AM

Former Lt. Governor Maxwell always seemed a "standup" guy to me, with the same deep roots as those of us who have invested our lives in rural agricultural settings. I am now very disappointed in seeing what he has become, in respect to the HSUS. Say it ain't so Joe! Seeing individuals like Mr. Maxwell buying into the values HSUS has defined,is sickening and is a black eye to Missouri. The folks that are Maxwell's former neighbors in Audrain County would not be very proud of him batting for other team. HSUS wants to end modern agricultural practices, there is no question about it. This is just another smoke screen in attempt to paint them in a positive image in our minds. HSUS will smile and shake your hand while keeping their fingers crossed behind your back. Even if their initial ideals were noble, it is now all about money and control...... SAY NO TO Maxwell and HSUS, they speak with forked tongues!!!

B.L. Cozad Jr    
Oklahoma  |  January, 01, 2012 at 12:50 PM

In this case Joe Maxwell is selling out the farmers and ranchers and trying to compromise away our Constitutional rights to own, possess and handle our livestock the way we determine is necessary and in our best interests to the global elitists that are out to destroy America behind "UN Agenda 21".

B.L. Cozad Jr    
Oklahoma  |  January, 01, 2012 at 01:01 PM

Joe Maxwell is selling out and compromising away the Constitutional rights of farmers and ranchers to own, possess and handle our livestock as we determine to be in our best interest to the global elitists behind the "UN Agenda 21" effort to destroy America. Please research "UN Agenda 21, Maurice Strong and his ties to the HSUS" and find out why people like Joe Maxwell are selling out our livestock owners. Remember the people behind the UN Agenda 21 have had this plan for decades and they have paid off and/or helped to place many people into positions that are supposed to represent the interests of our agriculture industries that are really there to sell out our constitutional rights using the excuse of protecting our animals from the farmers and ranchers that own them.

B.L. Cozad Jr    
Oklahoma  |  January, 01, 2012 at 01:33 PM

You may want to start here:​watch?v=TzEEgtOFFlM and then proceed to here:​agenda-21/environment/​wildlands

USA  |  January, 01, 2012 at 07:07 PM

Before you believe that the Whole Foods/HSUS partnership is a wonderful thing I would invite any of you to visit your local Whole Foods and see for yourself what the prices are for HSUS-approved animal products. I purchased some New York strip steaks for Christmas, $24.95/pound. They were delicious, but ask yourself if your family can afford meat that costs significantly more than you're currently paying.

doug williams    
usa  |  January, 02, 2012 at 12:02 AM

here is what Kevin Fulton HSUS supporter and NE rancher has to say about all of you here: Kevin Fulton If you look at articles like the one in this header and read any of the comments that follow you will notice that typically all the rednecks come out of the woodwork to condemn and demonize people like Joe Maxwell, the author, or anyone else they may disagree with. And you could probably add the IQ's of all of them together and still be in the single digits. nice huh.. all of you are stupid rednecks if you dare to speak up against them..

norfolk, NE  |  January, 02, 2012 at 07:55 AM

Why is the NE Farmers Union with with HSUS? Their needs to be a revolt against this organization. Who are they really representing? What will these crazy liberals think of next?

NM  |  January, 02, 2012 at 09:11 AM

Community organization is the HSUS' M.O., their comments and actions appear to be straight out of Saul Alinsy's Rules for Radicals... the community organizer's playbook.

SD  |  January, 02, 2012 at 06:13 PM

Some great comments, and too much of the other kind here! Not much mention of all the years of animal science behind development of the modern farrowing crates, veal calf pens, chicken housing, etc. Those units PROTECT the animals within from various threats, not the least of which is one another! I've seen baby pigs smothered to death by a sow laying on them! I've seen 'free range' chickens gang up on an odd looking one, perhaps with a leaf stuck to it's head while 'grazint', and pick it to death, literally! Modern agriculture is designed to be efficient so that owners MAY make a modest profit. There is nothing wrong with that to people not fighting to end our Constitutional government and private enterprise systems!!! Proper treatment of animals is one pilar to profitability. Good stewardship of the land is a major one as well. Farmer/ranchers who do not follow those practices are not successful over the long haul. For the record, I'm a third generation woring member of a family with our sixth generation beginning production on this ranch. We are also members of NCBA, an ag organization most definitely run by the producer members who are not ALL corporations some love so much to hate. A position for fools and anarchists, IMO.

Steve Kopperud    
Washington, DC  |  January, 03, 2012 at 05:48 AM

Firstly, in an organization the size of HSUS, I'm guessing Mr. Maxwell had very little to do with writing the responses; rather, after they were run up the ladder and back down he, approved them. Second, why does Terry Ward believe HSUS represents "consumers"? This line of propaganda from Mr. Maxwell represents the thinkin of animal rights groups, namely, "you have a problem, we have the solution, get out of the way and let us fix it for you. " Those producers who think allying with HSUS is a marketing tool are fooling themselves. It's been tried before, didn't work then, won't work now.

Cynthia Collins    
Dallas, Texas  |  January, 07, 2012 at 08:37 PM

HSUS always comes back to change things to make their interests "better" for them, just get anything passed, we will come back again and make your animal laws WORSE for the animals.

Kay Taylor    
washington state  |  January, 03, 2012 at 11:19 AM

I wonder how much he is paid to mouth such platitudes?

Cynthia Collins    
Dallas, Texas  |  January, 07, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Wholefoods sells cooked Brisket for $15 a pound, Sonny Bryans sells it for $10ish a pound.....think about that. How many people can pay that?

XUV 855 Power Steering

Combining power steering with diesel power, durability and toughness, the 30 MPH, 22.8 HP John Deere Gator XUV855D features updates that enhance ... Read More

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